How can you outwit Peter Pan and his secretive ways?
That question was asked of me on tumblr by Anonymous.
I don’t know how many other people have also been asked this question by Anonymous, but knowing Anonymous as I don’t, I would say that it will probably be asked far and wide across the Never Never Land of the Internet until a magic formula for outwitting Peter Pan is found.
Which leads me to wonder if perhaps Anonymous is none other than Captain Hook, still trying to best his nemesis.
Or maybe it’s Tinkerbell who has had enough of being messed about by Peter Pan. I must admit if I was her, I’d be fed up with him by now.
“Tink was not all bad: or, rather, she was all bad just now, but, on the other hand, sometimes she was all good. Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time. They are, however, allowed to change, only it must be a complete change.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
I think if you want to outwit someone… here are some random tips which may or may not work:
1 – It is important to know who the person who wants to do the outwitting is. Your character will have bearing on the interaction. In fact who you are is more important to know than who your opponent is.
Because we project ourselves onto and into others, and more often than not the person we are doing battle with is not the other person at all but the parts of us we have projected on and in them.
Trying to outwit the projected parts of yourself is a fruitless task for the most part because you’re always at least one step, usually more, ahead of yourself. As soon as you think of a strategy, your mind creates a way to beat it, often by undermining your confidence and causing you to doubt yourself.
Many of the monsters and enemies we fight are our own creations.
So you need to know yourself inside out, and you need to know why it is so important to you to outwit this other person… because perhaps you don’t need to outwit them at all, perhaps you just need to confront yourself.
“All are keeping a sharp look-out in front, but none suspects that the danger may be creeping up from behind.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy
2 – The person who you want to outwit will tell you everything you need to know about them to outwit them. We’re our own worst enemies, and your enemies are their own worst enemies too. Use them against themselves in the same way as they will use you against yourself.
Peter Pan shows this tactic in the way that he beats Captain Hook.
So… it is crucial that you study, observe and listen carefully to everything your opponent tells you about themselves – that includes what they tell you about yourself, because we reveal more about ourselves when we are talking about other people. We are more cautious about what we say about ourselves when talking in the first person, and we a utterly reckless when we talk in third person because we think we’re talking about someone else and don’t monitor or filter what we say with due care and attention.
“Peter: Oh, the cleverness of me.
Wendy: Of course, I did nothing…
Peter: You did a little.
Wendy: Oh, the cleverness of you.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
3 – Pay attention to the best traits of your opponent. The things which you admire about them and which others love about them.
Yes, I know, they’re your enemy and you hate everything about them, but you wouldn’t hate them so much if you didn’t secretly admire them. Think of all the people you don’t think about… why don’t you think about them? Now think of those you do think about, what is the difference between the ones who take up your conscious attention and the ones who don’t?
Did your enemy manage to outwit you? You think you’re clever, and they made you feel foolish… how did they do that?
Are you just very stupid, gullible, easily led astray… I doubt that very much. You are clever and met someone smarter, your clever wants to own the smarter by outwitting the smarter one. There is an easier way of owning the smarter and therefore making yourself even more clever than you already are, and that’s by realising that when someone outwits you it’s showing you where you can improve your knowledge. If you get stuck in trying to stick it to them… well, it may be fun for a while, but it’s also going to be frustrating.
screenshot of Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time
Best thing to do is tip your hat to their smarter-than-you-ness, and resolve to learn from the life lesson, and do it constructively rather than destructively.
Knowing the best traits of your opponent can show you which traits you want to explore and learn more about for yourself.
Knowing the best traits of your opponent is also knowing their weakness.
Peter Pan is loved because he refuses to grow up, he is an eternal child. He lives in the world of imagination where reality has no hold, where everything is possible and dreams come true. This is inspiring and uplifting, so much so that those who are with him learn how to fly.
“I don’t know if you have ever seem a map of a person’s mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting, but catch them trying to draw a map of a child’s mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There are zigzag lines on it, just like your temperature on a card, and these are probably roads in the island; for the Neverland is always more or less an island, with astonishing splashes of colour here and there, and coral reefs and rakish-looking craft in the offing, and savages and lonely lairs, and gnomes who are mostly tailors, and caves through which a river runs, and princes with six elder brothers, and a hut fast going to decay, and one very small old lady with a hooked nose.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan.
But as Wendy shows, eventually it’s time to move on, to grow up, not losing the inspiration but letting it flow and carry you with the flow of life. We are not meant to stay young forever, if we were the aging process would not exist… there is poetry in getting old as much as there is in being young.
Eternal children are stuck, they may be beautiful and live in a wonderland, but they get left behind in the land between sleeping and awake. To live there and be that way, they have had to sacrifice everything else.
It was worth it for them… perhaps.
But for the rest of us there is a great adventure waiting for us in growing up, maturing and growing old, opening ourselves up to the experience of all the phases and facets of life and all the treasures both good and bad and in-between which it has in store for us.
SO… in conclusion, you don’t actually need to outwit Peter Pan. Just leave Peter Pan to outwit himself. People like him always do in the end.
Over to the cleverness of you, how would you outwit Peter Pan and his secretive ways?