How a Dead Cat Can Help You Transform Your Life (honestly, it can)

cats fighting
You want to talk about a dead cat, really? Yes I do but before that, let’s go back a few years.

Here is something that may not surprise anyone at all. I was pretty rubbish with girls in my younger days. How rubbish? I hear you cry.

Between the ages of 21 and 23 I was turned down/rejected/laughed at, call it what you will, a soul destroying NINE times in a row.

I’m not talking about girls I was hitting on in the bars and clubs; this is actual real life girls that I spoke to on a daily basis – friends, colleagues etc. Nine in a row is pretty rubbish really. That’s more than just bad luck – that was a wakeup call and the slap in the face I needed to finally do something about it.

But that story is for another day.

It does however lead us into a situation I found myself in during a particularly wet and dreary autumnal evening in 2008. I remember being sat at my computer, bored out of my skull, aimlessly browsing the internet in the hope of finding something worthwhile to pass the time until my brain finally shuts down and calls it quits for the night.

I was using MySpace (remember that?), as you do, and while faffing around chatting to some friends and admiring the latest disastrous attempt at redesigning my profile, a thought crossed my mind. Why not search for some girls?

So I did.

And then I saw her. She had everything. One of the hottest girls I had ever seen, definitely hotter than anyone I had ever been with.

I read through her profile, checked out her pics and the best part was that she was local – awesome.

But, I couldn’t send her a message. I was scared. I had sent tons of messages in the past but none to a girl this cute. What if she doesn’t reply? What if she does reply and she laughs at me? Or worse, sprays me with internet-mace?

I had psyched myself out and I left it alone for a few days. Pathetic I know.

I think I genuinely believed that she wouldn’t be interested. MySpace isn’t a dating site and she must have received tons of messages from guys in the past. Why would I be any different?

Fuck it – I messaged her… and promptly shut down my PC and curled up in the foetal position, waiting for the inevitable flak that would spew out of my screen towards my general, weepy direction.

She replied! Unfathomable!

After picking myself up from the floor and allowing my heart to resume to a somewhat normal beating rhythm (ie, under 200bpm), I was ready to send my follow up message. I can’t remember what this was but it must have been good because she hadn’t run away screaming yet.

After chatting for several days I ended up doing something completely bonkers. Almost without thinking about it, I asked if she wanted to meet up. It just came out – a finger vomit of epic proportions.

Bricks were indeed shat at this moment.

But, she agreed and a few days later, we did meet.

I won’t lie. The build-up to the ‘date’ was filled with panic and fear but at least it was happening.

Ok, I will admit that although the meet up went well and we started dating, it didn’t last long – but so what? A few weeks earlier I was sat in front of my computer monitor wondering if it was worth the hassle. It was only when I was cuddling up with this girl whilst watching a rubbish teen horror movie that I remembered how this was only happening because I made the decision to send a message to someone who I thought wouldn’t be interested in me.

I took a shot and it worked.

By the way the movie was awful. ‘Prom night’ – just don’t…

Now let’s talk about cats.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia.

Schrödinger’s cat: a cat, a flask of poison, and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison that kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when exactly quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.

If that confused you – take a look at this video…

Does it make sense yet?

A cat is placed inside a sealed box alongside a vial of poison and a radioactive source. If an internal monitor detects any radioactivity, the vial will be shattered and the poison unleashed onto our furry friend.

The cat will be killed and a thousand children will cry. I hope you feel bad Schrodinger!

But until we open the box and take a peek inside – we won’t know if the cat is still alive and well or an unwitting participant in the feline re-enactment of Chernobyl.

It can be alive or it can be on it dead – but it can’t be both. Yet that’s exactly what it is until we actually have a look. Both possibilities can exist at the same time.

Take my little story above.

Whilst I was sitting at my computer doing my best impression of a man with no balls, both outcomes were possible. Until I had asked her to meet up – both possibilities co-existed simultaneously. It was only by actually posing the question that enabled the situation to veer to one side or the other.

To put it in even simpler terms – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

We will never know the outcome of a possible situation until we actually give it a try.

  • Ask someone out on a date – they might say yes
  • Ask your boss for a pay rise – they might say yes
  • Ask a friend if they can do you a big favour – they might say yes

Let’s look at this from another perspective.

  • Are you capable of taking on that huge project? You won’t know unless you try
  • Will you be able to handle living abroad by yourself? You won’t know unless you try
  • Do you have the strength to quit that bad habit? You won’t know unless you try

Simply, we give too much importance to the possibility of failure instead of the ‘what if’ part of the equation.

By not doing anything you are only feeding the negative part of your personality. You are merely confirming that it was right all along.

‘See, I knew you couldn’t do this’.

We’ve all heard the lottery slogan of ‘You have to be in it, to win it’. The same philosophy applies throughout life. You have to put yourself out there and go for it otherwise the cat may as well be dead. You cannot succeed in anything unless you give it a try. Embrace the possibility of failure, it happens, but also embrace the possibility that everything will work out for the best.

As someone famous once said, ‘if you aren’t moving forwards, then you are only moving backwards’.

Take a look inside the box – the cat might just be alive after all.

When was the last time you were faced with the possibility of stretching your comfort zone? Did you go through with it? Did it turn out better than you expected? Let me know in the comments!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a guitar teacher and writer who hates the typical 9-5 existence. After quitting his job to enter the world of guitar tuition, he created this blog to document his thoughts and struggles as he takes on societies norms armed with nothing more than his cheeky wit and undeniable charm - Give his Facebook page a like, add him on Twitter or follow his Google+ page and he will repay you with even more awesome words!


  1. I’m a believer in detachment from expectations, so this is a pretty good line of thought. If you’re able to enjoy doing something on the offchance that it goes well, that’s a good thing in and of itself.. and regardless of the outcome it was a good time investment.

    If you get more detached from expectations it’s also easier to choose to do things that actually make you happy instead of chasing an empty dream endlessly
    Ragnar recently posted..Cloud Staring and Shower Singing: The Lost Art of Enjoying LifeMy Profile

    • Hey Ragnar, you’ve raised some good points here. It is about the process not the results but most of us get too caught up in the outcome. This is the essence of everything in life. Don’t be afraid of ballsing something up because you might have fun anyway.

      It’s true that we should pick the things that make us happy, regardless if it works out or not. It brings us back to the whole ‘present’ situation again.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. Dude, invoking Shrodinger’s Cat to encourage people to take that first step is one of the best ideas I’ve seen in the “lifestyle design” space in ages.
    AJ Walton recently posted..Cracking the Happiness CodeMy Profile

    • Well I cannot take credit for that… I must give a bit of thanks to The Big Bang Theory for putting that little nugget of inspiration in my head. 😉

  3. Great way to include something as interesting as Schrodinger’s cat! Making us think about life and ourselves while simultaneously boggling our minds. Jamie, you’ve done it again!

    (insert high five here)
    Vincent recently posted..Stealing Feels Good, Here’s Why You Should Try It At Least OnceMy Profile

    • Hey Vincent, thanks for the virtual high five moment! Although usually when someone says ‘Jamie, you’ve done it again!’ it means I’m in trouble!!

  4. Risk is a critical ingredient for a life worth living. I could use a bit more in my life, but at least I quit my crapola teaching job and moved from NY to Texas. Asking or things has proven to be useful and very simple. Making a habit of it is a fine idea! Have a marvy one, Jamie!!!
    cj recently posted..I Love the NFLMy Profile

    • Making a habit of asking for things.. that’s an interesting concept, CJ. I agree with you about needing a bit more risk. I could do with a bit more, but the problem I have is deciding what risky things to focus on. Maybe I could combine the two and ask someone for some ideas!! Thanks for the comment!

  5. How big of a nerd does it make me that I already knew about (and love) the concept of Schrodinger’s cat? Wait, don’t answer that . . .

    This is a great post! A really good reminder that all possibilities are before us and depend on the actions we decide to take. And, if you’re a law of attraction junkie, you might believe that your actions and beliefs before the box is opened actually influence the outcome from opening it – that if you believe the cat is alive, it is.

    Strangely, if you believe in your own success, you’re more likely to be successful, so we can see that in action! 😉
    Jessica Sweet recently posted..The (Ugly) Truth About How I Found My BlissMy Profile

    • Jessica Sweet, the secret quantum physicist nerd? I can definitely see that… 😉

      You’re right about belief in your own success. Our thoughts influence our actions so if we don’t believe in ourselves then we’re less likely to actually do something exciting and worthwhile! Thanks for dropping by!

  6. AMAZING post Jamie! Thank you for sharing the connection between taking a chance and dead cats. Who’d have thought?

    Out of curiosity, I am assuming you kept taking chances after you met this girl and therefore built a habit of confidence, right?


    • Thanks Pooja! Yeh that was a springboard in changing my beliefs about the whole ‘she’s out of my league’ feeling that a lot of people have. These days, if I really want to do something I will always give it a shot.

  7. I also learned about schrodinger’s cat from The Big Bang Theory lol.

    But I never even thought about applying it to the world of personal development. This is pretty damn genius bro.

    Ive also dealt with plenty of rejection from the days of the pick-up world. I legitimately had one day where I was rejected 15 times in a row. But I’ve also had countless experiences where I met amazing girls.

    None of that would be possible without opening up the box.
    Kevin Cole recently posted..The #1 Sign You Are Bullshitting Yourself And How To Stop ItMy Profile

    • Again credit goes to Dr Sheldon Cooper for some inspiration in how to apply it to… well, anything really. 🙂

      It’s harsh isn’t it when rejection just flows in your direction? Toughens you up though. 15 in a row? If that is ‘day game’.. ouch!

  8. Well, I have to admit – I don’t watch TBBT, nor have I heard of Schrodinger’s cat, but none the less, I can appreciate the message.

    So, here’s how this whole thing worked for me…
    I had wanted to go to school for fitness, but not only did I think the curriculum was way too advanced for my level of intellect, but I didn’t think I would actually stick with it once I did make the decision. I did go through with it though – and as a bonus, my husband went with me.
    Well, 5 years later, not only did I graduate – but the whole experience resulted in my making a dream come true by writing a book.
    And, oh yes, having it endorsed by a couple of extremely well-respected fitness pros in the industry…AND I just received an ‘Award of Merit’ for writing it.
    My first award EVER.

    I had no idea if I wanted to be a personal trainer while sitting through the courses – but not in a million years would I have ever thought things would have resulted in the way they did.

    So – while I’m still TOTALLY capable of getting in my own way, I did open the box.
    And in my case – the cat was alive…and had some really cute little kittens with her too 😉
    Dana recently posted..So I Went to the Mall Yesterday…My Profile

    • Hey, that’s really cool! I don’t think I have ever won an award..

      I really want one now!

      So you weren’t sure if you should go through with it but you took the chance and now you are happy that you did. I hope you are taking that philosophy with your current and future ventures. Just think about what could happen! Embrace the cat!

  9. Hi Jamie,

    I loved the messages you shared about trying. It is only when we put ourselves out there in any aspect of life, do we open up the doors for growth.

    Thank you.
    hiten recently posted..Empowering Attitudes to Help You Deal with Life ProblemsMy Profile

  10. Great info, very inspirational. I always go here and read when I need some motivation!


  11. Hi Jamie,

    Excellent post and message! Ask! Try. Do. What is the BEST that can happen? 😉

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..Cash Gifting Mastery: 1 Miraculous Aspect of Being KindMy Profile

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