If you choose to be fearless, then be fearlessly authentic not an imitation of someone you envy-
Walking into my final yoga class yesterday, a thought crossed my mind – That we live in a world where competition is valued above all else, and that personal achievement is directly tied to self-worth, in essence we have fallen prey to the belief that in every competition, every yoga class, every red light, text message battle … There are two possibilities – Better and Best.
When I was a young lad, maybe six, I arrived home from school one fall afternoon and innocently looked into my fathers eyes and asked if I was “the best?!?” The week prior at school, we had been learning about comparative words like “better” and “best,” and I was innocently curious if I was “the best” at something, perhaps burping, armpit farts or cleaning my room? My kind father calmly replied, “You’ll never be the best at anything son. The world is a magical place with like millions upon millions of people; it’s impossible to be the best. Just do your best, and you’ll be fine in life.
Focusing on continual self-improvement, rather than being the best at “something”, has allowed me to have a more realistic and insightful look into my true self.
Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak… surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that-
There are many misconceptions about the role “results” play in achieving our goals (whatever they may be.)
We should define a couple of words before we move on – outcome and process. An outcome is centered on results, beating others and posting it on social media. A process involves focusing on what we need to do perform our very best, such as how we prepare and nurture our souls, training, or even practicing mindfulness. Notice how an outcome is focused on “things” outside of you. While in contrast, a process is focused entirely on you?
Most of us think that (myself included at times), in order to get the results we want, we need to focus on those results. Wanna get better at yoga? Gotta be more flexible! Loose a few pounds before summer begins … When does the outcome of a competition occur? At the end of course. If we become obsessed on the outcome, we are not focused on the process – What we need to do to perform our best from the start to the finish. What makes you nervous before yoga class or a big ride, the process or the outcome? It’s the outcome, and more specifically, a bad outcome such as not performing well or tumbling over trying to reach your “peak” pose. When we focus on the outcome, we are far less likely to get the outcome we want.
When we pause to focus on the process, we increase the chances of achieving the results we so richly deserve.
Sometimes, I can’t shift my heart from the outcome to process, the best thing I can do when this happens, is to get out of my mind completely. In other words, I go for an early morning walk, bike ride, or like yesterday morning – yoga practice in a quiet park. These moments gently take me from thinking about the outcome to, feeling the process.
The world isn’t fair, Calvin.”
“I know Dad, but why isn’t it ever unfair in my favor?–
I want to go back and touch on “should” thoughts for a moment before we move onto today’s post. Contemplative thought is truly a brilliant tool to exploring your true potential, just not when its time to perform. I like to call these – trigger happy thoughts or reactive thoughts. Let’s dive a little deeper and to maintain some clarity, I’m relating the post today to competitive outings and more specifically: Running.
What are your initial thoughts and feelings when I tell you that “Fairness” – Is a fallacy? Fairness is rubbish and compete utter nonsense?
Many of us (maybe this hits close to home for you) … Cloak ourselves with the falsehood that there exists only a single standard of fairness and – SPOILER ALERT! – It’s our very own! What we consciously choose to ignore, and this is when we start our “should” thinking, is that fairness is a completely subjective concept, based on our individual needs, expectations, and values. The big boy truth, is that your definition of what’s fair? Is completely self-serving (mine included).
If your buttons have been pushed in the past, or even right now because you thought you were being treated unjustly? Let me share a classic example most runners have lamented about: “I should not be in the 30-39 year old age bracket! It’s too competitive! If only the race organizers would change the ages – my time in a different bracket would get me on the podium!”
The next time you find yourself questioning fairness, your mind clouded with “should” thoughts? Try this on for size at the starting line – What I see as fair? Is a direct reflection of my own deeply held personal preferences. Then proceed to run the race of your life!