Fall in love with the process, and the perfecting of it. Detach yourself from your emotional investment to outcomes. God, that sounded very new-agey zenlightenment. But it’s true.
The woman who runs for the love of it, versus the man who only does it for some external aspiration, will go farther, longer and harder any day of the week.
Whatever it is you pursue. Learn to appreciate the chase and the thing you’re after will be yours very soon.
I had this epiphany with exercise. At first, it was to lose weight, to gain the attention of girls, to prove the naysayers I could, etc. Such reasons made for a powerful elixir that catalyzed change but they were fleeting and depended on emotion. Goals fueled by emotion are an uphill battle because emotions never stay long. I’d constantly gain weight, lose weight. When I looked good I was always trying to look better, never satisfied. Whenever we reach the point we “think” will be the answer our heads somehow moves that line a little farther.
So I try harder, and harder, and harder still. I’d go through bouts of resignation to exercise because it was too much effort. I’d be angry because others who looked better didn’t have to work as hard. Poor me.
“Why can’t I eat whatever I want, like they do, and still look good without a shirt on? Boo hoo!”
Another classic example of living in the world of what “Should be” rather than “what Is”. I somehow got over it as the years went on. I began to love exercise. One day, I broke my leg and all of the sudden I couldn’t exercise. I found myself yearning for the ability to get out of bed to sweat, struggle to catch my breath, feel the pavement beneath my 2 functional legs between long strides, grimace in pain as I pushed heavy loads off my chest.
It was then I realized I don’t Have exercise.
I Get to exercise.
My ability to exercise was a privilege. I had learned to love it, not for the muscles, but because of the many therapeutic and cathartic benefits I derive from it.
I was blessed to have full use of every part of my body to build it into whatever I wanted. Sure it wasn’t perfect, but I had the ability and privilege to test the limits of the body I have. I was a changed man. I was no longer bitter because I had to work hard, but began to love the journey of taking my body to its limits.
You can’t take that away. You have that, and you will never obsess over losing a pound again.
Whatever it is you’re doing. If you find yourself throwing a pity party, ask yourself is this really a “problem” or am I just forgetting that this undertaking is of my choosing and there’s probaby many many people who’d kill to be in my position.
When you start to lose your attachment to the outcome you can literally pursue whatever you want and be quite sure you will succeed. Things like performance anxiety, meeting expectations, looking stupid failing. None of these things stop you anymore.
Don’t confuse this for not trying. And when you fail, lose or what have you, don’t cloak it in “Oh, I don’t care about winning” You do, but it doesn’t define you.
When all things things are gone you will be left with unfathomable clarity and energy.
Let go of control of events. You never had it. Control yourself and your efforts. This makes you unstoppable.
image by Letting Go of Control