Grabbing The Snake By Its Head

     It’s the twilight of summer; the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and you found yourself basking in an overly bright office wondering, what the fuck had happened?

You examine yourself: eyes strained from staring into a retina-scarring monitor, annoyance heightened due to bombardment of lousy jokes courtesy of your once rumored-to-be-hilarious coworker and brain weak from a day spent shuffling though emails.

It’s in this moment that you find your heart wishing you could trade places with anyone, even the landscaper because at least he’s outsideat least he can enjoy the weather.

To your petty delight, the clock strikes five, officially freeing you from your sentence. You proceed to happy hour to drown your week in a flood of light beer and mozzarella sticks. In the midst of the cheese and beer you wonder one important question: “What had happened to your dreams?

Being dissatisfied is a slow disease more akin to cancer rather than a middle school, pimple faced, I-don’t-know-what-I-want feeling. It has a way of caging your once devil-may-care attitude and replacing it with a docile, dandelion-picking demeanor.

Being dissatisfied makes your eyes shine dimmer, heart beat fainter, moment by moment until you suddenly “wake up” and question where you went wrong.

In less sophisticated words, it’s a real bitch, and it’s hard to shake.

Too often we find ourselves in a predicament, we know something is wrong but we don’t attempt to fix it. Who wants to spend the better part of their life feeling this way? Cool, me neither.

I want to ask you a question.

How do you handle your problems?

I’m sincere. How do you handle your problems, you know, when you feel dissatisfied with an aspect of your life?

I don’t want to get all Yoda on you, young Jedi, but tell me, do you treat the symptoms? or do you treat the cause? Do you take the road well traveled and grab the tail of the snake? Or do you channel your inner Steve Irwin, pull up your big-girl panties and grab that f&*king snake by its balls (Ok, I’m not even sure that snakes have balls, grab that f*&King snake by it’s head).

Listen, I get it, nobody willingly wants to grab the head of the snake. They’re snakes; they’re biblically scary.

Addressing your feeling of dissatisfaction is a weird and messy process because to do so, you need to find your inner truth. I have news for you: finding your inner truth is a long, lonely, walk where cars splash dirty puddles on you and the driver laughs in sick, technicolor, TV-cartoon delight.

From an emotional standpoint the process is comparable to taking a knife and twisting it in your stomach; it’s painful, it’s personal and answers become clear after you’re worried it’s too late.

It is for that reason we often find ourselves taking the more comfortable rout and consciously choosing to grab the snake by its tail. We fail to treat the problem but rather we treat the symptoms like the good boy and girl we are.

Fortunately, I’m here to help you. I’m going to show you how to grab the snake by its head and live to tell the tale. You’re welcome.

Are You Treating the Symptoms or the Problem?

As stated, addressing your feelings of dissatisfaction is the proverbial bitch, complete with head-scratch inducing questions that provoke stomach turning feelings which have the knack to make you second-guess yourself.

Answering this question requires the deepest of introspective, Steve-Zissou-esq dives into the depths of your soul. Sounds scary right? Because it is scary. Despite our fear we must move forward. The first step is asking yourself if you’ve been treating the symptoms or the problem. I’m willing to bet you’ve been treating the symptoms.

So how do you identify if you’ve been treating the symptoms? Glad you asked! It starts with personal reflection and paying attention to your feelings. You’ll know if you’ve been treating the symptoms if how you medicate your problem doesn’t lead to your problem being solved. If your medicine doesn’t alleviate your ailment, then obviously the medicine doesn’t work.

Does going to happy hour make working a job you hate worthwhile? Does buying your wife a new car make up for years of emotional disconnect? Does finding people to love you, ever fully replace you loving yourself? Does knowing that something is wrong but never actually taking the measures to fix the problem ever solve the problem?

These are only not-so-elaborate antics that disguise the feeling of dissatisfaction. These antics treat the symptoms and not the problem. They’re band aids marketed to us as permanent solutions and that my friend, is the issue.

Finding your Inner Truth

The second step is finding your inner truth (you know, the part in the video game where the main character pulls the sword out of the stone and everyone is really stoked.). When I say inner truth I mean what do you and only you, want for your life?  Ask yourself this, what makes you happy? What make you come alive?

To find your inner truth you need to be painfully honest with yourself, in fact, you need to be uncomfortably honest with yourself. In theory, knowing your inner truth should be as automatic as waking up, but of course, it isn’t.

For whatever reason, many of us have difficulty finding our inner truth, we have difficulty knowing what we want out of life. We grew up with so many options that it’s hard to stick to one course when we can guess at the outcome of many courses. We’ve become paralyzed with options, this is the blessing and curse of the age of knowledge.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of answer for finding your inner truth. Our truths are snowflake unique in this regard. I can’t tell you what your answer is but I can tell you it’s only when you live out your inner truth that happiness can manifest itself and you’ll start down the road to satisfaction.

Again, I cannot stress enough that it is crucial that you are honest with yourself. This process takes time, makes you look your smiling demons in the eye and forces you to become accountable for your life. This is a good thing.

A great tool to help you diagnose your inner truth is to ask yourself what you don’t want for your life. When you know what you don’t want to do, it helps you locate what you do what to do. Give it time, think about it everyday and eventually you’ll notice what you’re looking for.

Grabbing the Head of the Snake

This is it, in fact, you have waited your entire life for this exact moment: It’s time to grab the motherfucking snake by its motherfucking head. It’s time to face your fears, become accountable for your life and walk your own path.

I have news for you, you only have one life to live. Why spend it on trivial pursuits that don’t bring you satisfaction? Change is scary, change is uncertain but when you become the one to initiate the change, then change is POWERFUL. There is truth to the statement life begins where your comfort zone ends, trust in that knowledge.

Albert Einstein once said “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He’s right. If you don’t find satisfaction in your career, change careers. If you don’t find satisfaction in your relationship, change your relationship. If you’re dissatisfied with yourself, change the situations you put yourself in. Control what you can control.  

****Dissatisfaction can materialize in many forms not strictly limited to the career and relationship arenas. Be aware of this as it will help you notice if you have been treating the symptoms****

My best advice to grab the head of the snake is to make a plan of action that aligns with your newly discovered inner truth and stick with it. Move incrementally closer to your goals every day, because remember, where you are today is a product of what you did yesterday. Make sure your goals are detailed and SMALL. Making many small minor changes is the only way to effectively lead to large major changes.

The great mystery of life is why people sacrifice their hopes and aspirations to get caught up in a rat race they really don’t care about. We often live a life to please other people that we don’t know, and don’t particularly care about. I’m asking you to question your life and see if you’re treating the symptoms or the problems; it’s the most rewarding question you can ask yourself.

Comment, share, and tell me what you think, let me know if you have been treating the symptoms or the problem. Let me know if this article has helped you and if you want share what makes you feel dissatisfied, maybe someone can help you. Thanks for reading!


106 thoughts on “Grabbing The Snake By Its Head

  1. Well said……it is easier to treat the symptoms, however, the problem still exists….we are still treading water. I “try” I repeat “try” to fix the problems but sometimes it takes time. When you finally succeed to getting it fixed the adrenaline rush is awesome…..Life is full of problems…some just show up and others you make yourself. It’s all about perspective…..analyze and then move forward. Grab that snake head when you can…..cut it off and bury it and never look back.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Perfect!!! You hit me with this post at exactly the right moment…lol because sometimes those snakes can sneak up on you in full attack at the last moment and leave you with a bitter taste of WTF just happened. You are left in a state of shock because the snake itself cut itself down for you. In the past, I would walk in complete terror of shattering a single eggshell and nothing was ever resolved by this, but now I am finally finding my own breathing space…and yes…I am that much closer to being happy, I can truly be who I really am without having to beat around the bush…it is a difficult journey because you can lose what you thought were loved ones even if they came in a packaged labeled “family,” it is a scary thing to venture out from but in reality the only way to be free from the chains that you have allowed to bind you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is the first post that I have read and got to say, well done. I think that I am treating the disease now rather than the symptoms. We have all been conditioned from birth in the collective story of going to school, getting “educated”, starting a career, working for 30+ years and then retiring, where good things are supposed to happen. Whether the job you are in is particularly satisfying or not wasn’t a part of the equation. The truth to me is that most of that story isn’t going to produce happiness for most people. We are all individuals, so our stories and the activities in them are individual to us. I like to hope that I am discovering my authentic self each day. Grabbing the snake by the motherfucking head, as you so eloquently put it. Moving forward, learning and growing one day at a time. Growing toward what? I think the more we grow the more we break away from the masks of conformity we have built and towards ourselves. Anyway, great post, when I have time I am going to read through some more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Jonathan,

      Thank you so much for the kind words. I really liked how you said I think the more we grow the more we break away from the masks of conformity we have built and towards ourselves.” You’re absolutely right! once again thank you for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Snakes appear in your life for a reason, and not all snakes are poisonous. Approaching head on, you will obviously end up with you getting bitten. Grabbing by the balls would end up with the snake turning around and biting you too. Sometimes you need to approach the snake from a different angle, to look at it in a different way, grab from behind and gently send it on its way. Sometimes stomping on the ground and yelling like a crazy tantruming child would chase it away too. And sometimes life calls for a double barreled shotgun from 20 yards away. Well written post. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Is it possible that you want more than one thing in your life? Sticking to the examples of career and relationships, let’s say that I love my job and I love my family. However, since time is a limited resource, I can only invest it in one area, which means I end up doing disservice to the other. Does that happen? Or is it a failure to properly address step 2?

    Thanks for this thought provoking piece, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A wonderful post, I particularly love the style you write in, so easy flowing, I did not even realise when I reached the end! Of course, very helpful and motivating. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    PS: I absolutely love your amazing blog.
    Take care, best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Male snakes have internal testicles. I googled it. So you’re right. Going for the balls would be an inconvenient way to defeat a snake. Also, there’s about a 50% chance the snake is female in which case this tactic is a guaranteed failure. I agree that the head is a far better target.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well written post full of truth!!
    For years I treated the symptoms. It wasn’t until I developed hypothyroidism and was put on medication which made things worse, that I started to dig for the root cause. In doing so I discovered a passion for nontoxic living & decided to pursue fitness as a career. I’ve only been at the new career for a short time, teach my first class next week, and I’m terrified but very excited! After two years of consistent changes and dedication to exercise, I’m off medication too.
    No doubt this post will help anyone who reads!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I absolutely love this post! I know I need a bigger game and I’ve been wondering how to distinguish what’s nect. Looking at what I don’t want that might be a useful tool. I also love the bit about wondering if it’s too late. I’m 46 and onl just understanding love and what I need from a man I feel foolish it’s taken me this long and wonder if it’s too late. Great post ! Thanks so much 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for reading my post today (note to self) because it led me here to your awesome blog. You nailed this one and I am in so much like that you put these words out there. ~Jess

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey! I have been guilty of grabbing that snake by the tail and swinging it around my head for years and years and only now am I plucking up the courage to even consider biting the damn head off that snake. It’s a process but I can relate to your blog and will return to read this post time and time again during my journey I’m sure. Thank you for a good read!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It helps to be reminded to look at the cause, rather than the symptoms, to hopefully find peace. I know I’m guilty of looking for the nearest band-aid for my problems, so I’ll try my best to keep your words in mind. Thank you!


  13. Love this! It seems that it is far easier for some to keep living an unfulfilled life than it is to look in that mirror, look within, think about who you really are at the core and start being that person. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. So true. Gotta geab that snake by their head. That is how you make sure that snake do not hurt you. That’s how you control that problem and make sure it don’t bite you in the ass. Powerful piece this is.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So on Point, its easy to want an easy fix which equals to grabbing the snake by its tail instead of by its balls…*coughs* oh i mean by its head!! When we have problems, we usually exclaim oh what am i going to do instead of reflecting on how to attack the situation, and then attack it!! You have a way with words, cool write – up!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post, really inspiring and spot on. Not always easy though to grab that snake by its head. It takes a lot of guts to do so and I guess that’s why we tend to only treat the symptoms. Also because society expects us to fit in and do what we are supposed to do. Really thought provoking and inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I am fascinated by this post. Snakes are one of my favorite critters and I love to stroke their dry warm bodies but I get your metaphorical point. Currently I am trying to finally publish my book after 10 years of angst. It’s good enough, as am I. I wonder what Freud would think of about your post – did you know that grabbing snakes might make you go blind? 🙂
    Excellent, assertive and thoughtful post.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will let y’alls know when/if Kindle uploads it and hope that the title is not already taken. Ironically, I was offered my first paid writing job for a magazine today. Why do all the buses come at once? 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  18. I love this one Tony! Made me laugh too… BTW, at 51 I still work on the symptom rather than the solution! 😦 But every once in awhile I swallow the FUCK IT pill! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow!! Thanks for visiting my blog. I am glad that was able to read such an amazing post! I literally got chills reading this lol! I am currently debating on what direction I should go in career wise as well…like at this very moment. Thank you for such wonderful timing. For me, I have been concerned not to have a plan b. This is what has prevented me from taking charge of my life better than I have been…or this could be an excuse not to take a risk.

    Thanks so much for wiring such a real piece. Still going through the chills lol. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I escape to Netflix and watch some mindless t.v. Seriously. Then, I sigh, because I know I’m procrastinating. Then I suck it up, like a snake… wait, they inject with venom & swallow you whole…hmm, like a vampire. Yes, I’d “vamp” out and jump right into whatever it was I was originally avoiding. I just need to wrap my mind around it. I work in quality assurance- so when we issue SCARs/NCRS (non conformances) always look for the ROOT CAUSE and fix that.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Great post! I think it’s important to remember that in the end it is your life. My solution was to start writing. It was something I always wanted to do and always put off to further goals for those whom I loved. Then I hit fifty, and it was like the proverbial light went on. If I didn’t do it now, it wasn’t going to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thought provoking. I have been there in a big way; think Eiffel Tower kind of way and then some. I knew what I had to do. The very thing that made my eyes dance and my heart sing, was also the very thing that threatened to bring my Tower down, piece by piece, day by day, painfully, slowly and knowingly. I took that Snake and placed it in my past and then got on with my life. I admit that there were times when I had regrets, when I wanted to return to what I knew, despite also knowing that the cycle would start all over again. Rinse and repeat, as you put it, early on in the post. I coped, I didn’t like my life in the same way, it was more predictable. I slept more at night, my phone was turned off for a great deal of time. All positive. Weeks passed and I got used to being without the one thing that made my heart sing and my eyes dance. That was until something happened in my life and weakness stepped in with its arms wide open. I stepped through that door and was right back where I started. My eyes were dancing and my heart was singing, until the said Snake did what the Snake always did and left me feeling empty, alone and worthless. I even started to not like the way I felt and looked and that wasn’t me. I started to feel a sense of dread/panic as I was helpless to control the situation. I could have a little piece of pie sometimes but only briefly and rarely. In-between, my mind would work overtime and is working overtime and I’m torn. I can’t treat the symptoms because they are incurable.

    Waffle over. I’m going to share/reblog this post. Superb. x

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ah! I know of what you speak! For years it seemed I grabbed the tail…and all that accomplished was the head was free to bite me! So, as you said how brutally painful it can be, I have taken to looking that snake directly in his eyes…and beautiful life looks back! Thanks for this…it gives me confirmation on how I want to continue living my life!

    Liked by 1 person

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