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    How to get out of a black period: the Borsalino test

    Who I am
    Robert Maurer

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    Are you facing a dark period and you don't know how to get out of it? Perhaps not all evils come to harm. Perhaps what you are facing is simply a test of Borsalino ...

    "A valuable helmsman continues to sail even with the sail in tatters."


    These days I'm finishing the reading of a really good novel: Shantaram.

    Calling it a novel is actually not exactly correct; Shantaram in fact takes inspiration from the life of its author, Greg Roberts, who in the late 70s, after escaping from an Australian maximum security prison, lived in nine different countries, crossed at least forty, set up a hospital for the indigent in Bombay, acted in Bollywood, worked for the Indian mafia and fought two wars between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    What made me passionate about this book, however, (by the way: thanks Dario for the advice!) Were not "only" the adventures of the protagonist, but also those hidden gems that, from time to time, Roberts offers among the almost 1.000 pages by Shantaram.

    One of my absolute favorites is the "Borsalino test".

    If you are going through a black period, in the study, at work or in your life in general, I would like you to read this passage carefully. At the end of the article I will try to provide you with some practical ideas to better overcome these moments no ;-)

    To face the bad moments as if they were a test of Borsalino

    "You know the proof of Borsalino


    «The Borsalino test, to understand if a hat is an original Borsalino, or a poor imitation. You know the Borsalinos, don't you? "

    "No, I wouldn't say."

    "Aaaaah," Didier sighed with a smile. The smile was made up of a part of surprise, a part of malice and a part of contempt. The three elements combined in an irresistibly fascinating effect. Didier leaned forward slightly and cocked his head to one side, shaking his black curls to emphasize the key points of his explanation.

    «The Borsalino is a top quality item of clothing. Many, including myself, believe it is the most extraordinary men's headdress ever produced". With his hands he traced the outline of an imaginary hat on his head. "It has a wide brim, black or white, in rabbit fur."

    "Well, it's just a hat," I said, thinking I was pleasant. "It's just a rabbit-hair hat."

    Didier was indignant. "Just a hat?" Oh, no, my friend. The Borsalino is much more than a hat. It is a work of art! It is restarted by hand ten thousand times before being put up for sale. For decades it has been the symbol of the most elegant French and Italian gangsters in Marseille and Milan. The name Borsalino was synonymous with gangster. The young people of the mala of Milan and Marseille were called "borsalino". At that time, gangsters had class. They knew that if you are an outlaw, and you have to steal and shoot people to earn a living, you have a responsibility to dress up with a certain elegance. Am I right?"

    "That's the least we can do," I conceded with a smile.

    "Of course! Today, alas, I'm all pose and no style. It is a sign of the times we live in: style becomes pose and pose style ». He paused to allow me to appreciate the sentence.

    «Well», he continued, «to check if a Borsalino is authentic you have to roll it up into a very narrow tube and pass it through a ring, a wedding ring. If it passes the test unscathed, and resumes the shape it had, it is an original Borsalino».

    "And you say that ..."

    "That's right!" Didier yelled, banging his fist on the table.

    "Comme ça! There is no doubt! Your little friend, Prabaker, has tested you. He put you in a tube and put you through a ring to see if you are a genuine Borsalino or not. This is why he took you to see the horrors of the city. It was the proof of Borsalino».

    Based on Greg Roberts' Shantaram.

    You may never have been tested by an Indian guide in the slums of Bombay, but I am willing to bet that at least once in your life you have found yourself going through a dark period, one of those periods in which nothing seems to go for the to the right and you feel ...

    "Like a clay pot, forced to travel in the company of many iron pots."

    A. Manzoni (I promessi dosti).

    Certain periods do not wish them to anyone, yet they are part of our existence. We cannot escape it. We cannot hide. We cannot pretend that everything is fine. We have only one choice:

    • Let them break us or ...
    • Let them forge us, transforming us into authentic Borsalinos.

    Eh, nice words Andre ', but when you find yourself in the midst of these black periods, there is no article of personal growth that holds!

    Let's put it this way: reading for another 5 minutes will not make the situation worse, on the contrary, I suspect that the practical advice we will talk about in the next paragraph can only improve it.

    Two concrete actions that will help you overcome this dark period

    I want to ask you a question point blank: Do you think you live negative situationsstressful could be dangerous for your health? Yes or no?

    Well, I have bad news for you. If you answered “Yes,” meaning you believe that stress can actually harm you, you have the 43% higher chance of developing health problems in particularly bad times in your life.

    In fact, as demonstrated in this 2012 study, taken up by Stanford psychology professor Kelly McGonigal in her famous TED Talk "How to make stress your friend", our perception of stress is much more dangerous for our health than stress itself.

    The first concrete action that you must therefore take to get out of a black period is that of change the perception of what you are experiencing.

    First point: change your perception

    We are (wrongly) convinced that "tough" people, that is, those who apparently do not allow themselves to be affected by the problems of life, are a sort of automaton, without emotions, without fear, without hesitation. It is not so.

    They simply learned how to give a different meaning to the same environmental and physiological stimuli that we all experience:

    • You know for example theanxiety from college exams? There are those who let themselves be blocked, even renouncing to take the test and those who instead interpret certain physiological reactions as the natural preparation of body and mind for an important challenge.
    • The stress that precedes a sports competition basic? Same story: there is the athlete who goes completely into the ball and there is the champion who brings out an incredible performance.
    • What about the reactions of people in front of dramatic events? Once again we can see diametrically opposed behaviors: there are those who let themselves be completely beaten down and there are those who bring out an incredible fortitude.

    Our perception of reality is far more important than any reality we face.

    Yes yes, ok Andre ', all very cool, but how the hell do I actually change it' is my perception ?! I was born with certain beliefs, I can't change them with the snap of my fingers.

    EEEHHH !!! Wrong answer! Your beliefs, and therefore your perception of reality, are the fruit, among other things, of inner dialogue running around in your head all day, every day.

    Like a worm, this mental chatter slowly digs through the meanders of your brain those dysfunctional reactions that you automatically activate in dark times.

    To put an end to this moment no> you have to change your perception of reality> to change it you have to become aware and modify your inner dialogue.

    Specifically, they exist 5 main types of inner dialogue: I deepen them in the free extract of APP - Self-esteem step by step (if you are already registered with GetPersonalGrowth, you will find the APP extract and all the other contents reserved for you, in the link at the end of the emails I send every Monday: a new registration is not required).

    The sooner you will be able to identify the type of "talker" you find in your head and the sooner you will reach that awareness necessary to change your perception of reality.

    Remember: you can see this period of me ... lma as a conspiracy of the universe against you, or as a test to test what you are made of, in short: a test of Borsalino.

    "Nothing happens to anyone that they are not by nature able to handle."

    Marcus Aurelius.

    The second action to become an "authentic Borsalino"

    As for the second concrete action to deal with the dark periods of one's life, I talked about it in one of the emails reserved for GetPersonalGrowth subscribers.

    If you are already part of the +70.000 effective readers, you should have received this email: the subject is "The best cure for stress."

    If it's one of your first times here on GetPersonalGrowth and you haven't signed up yet, you can do it using the orange button below. This will allow you to receive the "goodies" to which only members have access and to immediately download the free extract of Self-esteem Step-by-Step in which I talk about the 5 types of inner dialogue ;-)

    I just have to wish you a week to face with a different perception and attitude. We will read again soon.

    “Strength never comes from victory. When you go through a dark period and decide not to give up, that is your real strength. "

    A. Schwarzenegger.

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