If You Want the Zig, Accept the Zag

Stop trying to have it both ways in life

Niklas Göke
2 min readDec 3, 2020


Photo by Fabio Rose on Unsplash

Life isn’t fair, and that’s a good thing.

Volatility is your friend, because volatility means change — and only if there is a capacity for change can there be a capacity for growth.

Often, we don’t want the volatility because we fear the change will be negative. What we don’t realize is that by wishing for stability, we also wish life would limit our potential — and that’s not a sensible thing to wish for.

Rarely in life can you have it both ways, and while it’s natural to focus on protecting your downside, it’s easy to forget the upside altogether — but the potential for upside is always there.

Let’s say you’re a Youtuber, and, from one month to the next, your views drop 50%. That’s alarming, and so you complain about it, both in private and in public. You raise all kinds of hell with Youtube, you worry a lot, and you wish “things would just go back to normal.” But what if your views had doubled?

You wouldn’t be complaining. You’d be celebrating. You’d announce on social media how proud you are, and how long and hard you’ve worked to deserve this. You wouldn’t message Youtube and thank them. You’d think you’ve earned this success, and you’d be right — but you can’t have it both ways.

In other words, you want the zig but not the zag, and that’s just a crooked perspective on how the world works. The zig and the zag only travel together, so if we want either one, we must accept them both.

If your views didn’t have the potential to fall 50%, they also wouldn’t have the potential to double. You hate it when they dip and love it when they grow, but the possibility of both must exist for either one of them to happen.

This is a principle of life. It’s like gravity. You can’t negotiate your way out of it. Sometimes, you can twist the odds slightly in your favor, but in the grand scheme of things, there is no way to eliminate all the risk without eliminating all the rewards.

A secure job with the potential to double your income in a year? You want the zig but not the zag.

A stable relationship with few obligations? You want the zig but not the zag.

A high-growth portfolio with steady returns? You want the zig but not the zag.

Life is not a straight line, and that’s one of the best things about it. Stop trying to have it both ways so you can accept what’s always been true:

There will be highs, there will be lows, but if you embrace them both, they’ll carry you beyond your wildest dreams in a never-ending cycle.



Niklas Göke

I write for dreamers, doers, and unbroken optimists. Read my daily blog here: https://nik.art/