Michael Corleone (Al Paccino)
We’ve all dealt with challenges and difficulties. We’ve grown and become better men for it. We start down the path of transforming into better men, proud of what we’ve overcome and who we’ve become. Yet, more often than not, we find ourselves falling into old habits and old attitudes, into the same places that caused us, and those around us, so much damage. So, if we know full well why we moved beyond this mentality once already, why do we return to it again? The answer is rather simple. It’s because that’s our QUERENCIA.
Querencia is that place where you feel safe, were you can lower your guard as you feel at home. It’s were we draw our strength and return to refocus, as it’s were we learned to grow strong. This might sound like a good place, but consider the following.
In a bullfight, querencia is where the bull will naturally go to in the ring. As the fight goes on, he will define a space within the arena as his home turf, returning to it with every pass, as he feels it’s his safe zone. The problem arises when the matador is able to identify the bull’s querencia, turning the bull’s actions into predicable. And at the end, the bull’s downfall happens because the bull always returns to what’s familiar to him instead of trying something new. He’s killed because he fell prey to his own comfort zone.
In life, more often than not, we’re not the bullfighter but rather the bull. We might be strong and imposing, but all too predictable. We charge full tilt into the cape, not realizing that the real danger comes from the one holding the cape. He get blinded by our own experiences, as we assume that any problem can be handled with a head on charge, as we’ve become confident in our own strength and toughness.
Sure, we’ll try something new every once in a while. And we’ll see the positive results from it. The true threat happens when, if we’re not careful, we’ll return to our old habits as we stop trying to fight, as we simple react. We hand over control of our lives to old habit as soon as we stop thinking and fighting. That’s going to get you killed.
So, how do you get past it?
You can start by getting rid of all the enablers you have around you. That couch where you would waste your days, that bar where you would head over every time you felt helpless, that friend who kept you from moving forward, or old relationship you seem to never get past. All those things were never safe harbor but rather an anchor in your life. Learn to break free from their chains.
After you free yourself from the old you, create and evolve a new querencia to go along with your new life. I’m not saying you should forget where you came from, but understand that you are no longer that person. Let go of old habits and reactions. Be aware of them and be able to recognize them when they creep up on you. Repeating old mistakes rarely teach you new lessons.