The Trick Is Forgetting About The Goal…
For those of you that find joy in Mother’s Day, I hope it was a wonderful one for you. For those that find it challenging, I wish you peace.
I’ve had a week myself over here. Growing under constraints is a challenge I usually embrace, but I have to be in top shape for it, and I didn’t get enough sleep last week to handle it well. I won’t make this note about sleep, but please don’t underestimate how important it is.
I’m a visionary. I can hold an idea, visually, in my head with incredible clarity. The vividness of my visions entices me to desire them greatly. But some things are a struggle. Especially things for me that have historically been weaknesses, vulnerabilities, or areas where I have repeatedly failed but really can’t afford to long term. I imagine this struggle is a universal human condition, and you may be able to relate to that.
Repeated failure or a perception that something is more difficult for me to achieve than it is for others can drive me to a bad place in my head. A place of self-judgment and surrender to the idea that somehow this is simply not meant for me. I start thinking “This is just a weakness and I should just focus on my strengths and avoid this,” never mind the fact that I know if I could develop this skill I would be a much happier, healthier person.
Let me be specific about a skill that is currently in this bucket. Flexibility. This is and has been for a very long time, a challenge for me. I’ve struggled with how to address it for decades. And recently my martial arts practice has been exposing it.
But this week I got a bit of inspiration on the matter, and I think I’m much more optimistic about it going forward.
I have, for a very long time, lacked patience about my flexibility. My impatience has led to inaction. My inaction has led to worsening flexibility. And that has deflated me.
We could replace ‘flexibility’ with many other things like ‘financial stability,’ ‘business operations,’ ‘social anxiety,’ ‘overall health,’ ‘relationship’ etc., and that same cycle could very well apply. There is an underlying principle here.
While doing some mobility (fancy new word for flexibility) work last week with my trainer, Kevin, he mentioned that when he mentioned me to some other clients as an example of someone who transformed their life through diet and exercise, some of them responded by saying “yeah, it was easy for him.” At first, I got pretty upset at these people trying to rob me of the effort and dedication it’s taken over the last five years (sorry Kevin, it hasn’t just been the year I was with you ) to get to where I am today. But then I realized what they said wasn’t about me; it was about them. They had some strong belief that somehow they didn’t have the same ability that I had to make this kind of change.
Over the last 12 years, I have worked every day to become a successful entrepreneur. What I’m about to say is no bullshit, I really believe I’m finally figuring this thing out. When I started, I was terrible at it. Now, I think my successes and failures have taught me a great deal about the science and art of entrepreneurship and how I should approach it. I expect that if I’m blessed to live with good health for the next 20 years and the markets don’t erode due to geopolitical risk, what I’m about to do is going to make what I’ve done merely a prelude.
Last November, after three years of training, I became a martial artist when I received my first degree Black Belt in HapKiDo from Grand Master Lee.
Y’all, I’m terrible. I mean, not really, but kinda (LOL).
I have 8-9 years of consistent work before I will be worth the belt around my waist. But I’m having a great time training each week and exposing all the areas for improvement that one day, I will master.
Over the last six months by cutting out drinking and eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, my body has established a new baseline. I’ve stopped obsessing about dropping the next 5-10 pounds; I’m now living happily with myself, enjoying what I’ve done for myself.
For the last two weeks, I’ve been using the Calm app to meditate. Just 10-15 minutes a day. I’ve wanted to do this for years. I finally took action a couple of weeks ago, and it’s amusing to watch my mind jump all over the place (Our attention spans are shot y’all… it’s a fact). It’s so sneaky. It’s helped me be a better observer of myself in just two weeks, but my practice isn’t anything to write home about. I just need to keep doing it each morning when I wake up. It’s a practice. A forever practice.
I’m one, daily, twenty-minute stretching session away from being able to say the same thing about my flexibility in ten years. And wouldn’t that be amazing? To be WAY more flexible at 53 than I am at 43!
Yes, it would.
Too often we think of patience as passiveness. I’ve found all discovery, and worthwhile development comes as a result of active patience.
There are two parts of active patience:
- Recognize that you will not change overnight. It will take years for any meaningful change to happen.
- Therefore the most important thing you can do to change meaningfully is develop a practice towards the change you desire that you can sustain.
A sustained practice, even if prolonged, will guarantee change.
As we’ve already covered, mood follows action. To break out of the mood that makes you feel like you can’t succeed, do one small thing towards your desired state today. Then do another thing tomorrow. And the next day. And again.
When you need a break, take a break.
Then come back to your practice.
We have the incredible ability to mold ourselves through thoughts and action, but only if we understand that we have to be actively patient with ourselves.
Have a grateful week.