Not the pretty ones that change for the Spring lines. The ones that are ingrained into our daily living so well we just don’t notice them anymore. The past several days have illuminated a few of mine. Isn’t it great how life does that? This post is a bit of a meditation to let it really sink in.
It goes something like this:
When something doesn’t seem to be working, my tendency is to keep searching, keep reading, keep researching, keep thinking, keep inquiring, keep trying to figure it all out. In short, I just want to know what I’m doing wrong and “fix” it. This is all wonderful in theory, except that doing so rarely fixes or changes anything and rarely gets me closer to my concrete goals. If anything, it just serves as the perfect distraction from really getting down to business. And while going to Meetups and gaining new web skills and learning Spanish are all goals of mine, none of them are currently #1 on my list. And in the case of my #1, all that is necessary is good old focus.
Focus. My Achilles’ heel. Nemesis. Whatever. Greek mythology aside, I just want to do it all, have it all, and be it all. But…
“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
I think many of us have at least five or six different rabbits we’d like to catch and I think a lot of us struggle with zooming in and balancing ideas with their execution. So what gives? I know a handful of people who make achievement and progress look really easy, and the more I observe them the more I see the simplicity, but what specifically works about their approach?
the99percent recently discussed self control and how it relates to productivity and achievement (I highly recommend anything they publish by the way). The part that really stuck out to me was this:
“Way back in 1926, a psychologist named Catherine Morris Cox published a study of 300 recognized geniuses, from Leonardo Da Vinci to Gottfried Leibniz to Mozart to Charles Darwin to Albert Einstein. Cox, who had worked with Lewis M. Terman to develop the Stanford-Binet IQ test, was curious what factors lead to “realized genius,” those people who would really make their mark on the world. After reading about the lives of hundreds historic geniuses, Cox identified a host of qualities, beyond raw intelligence, that predicted “greatness.”
2. The tendency not to abandon tasks in the face of obstacles. Perseverance, tenacity, doggedness.
Okay fair enough, that makes sense. But what about the other five proverbial life rabbits? When ideas and inspiration flow I get pumped up and motivated and should ride that wave, right?
Ehh…Not so fast.
The stories we tell ourselves about creative achievement nearly always focus on the holy grail of inspiration, and leave out the rather important bits about perspiration.
―Jocelyn K. Glei
My high school art teacher gave us print outs of two quotes. I never wondered why she specifically shared these, but I taped them in my sketchbook and have the very copies with me to this day. I am now connecting the dots.
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ―Calvin Coolidge
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back― Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” ―Goethe
It’s becoming clear to me that the ability to be present in life is directly tied to the ability to powerfully choose and then subsequently act with intention. And as time goes by, our goals and desires will also shift and change.
It’s a practice. A practice in quieting the noise our head, letting go of the need to figure it all out, and giving up the idea that if we choose to zoom in on one goal then we’re missing out on something better. It sounds tricky but it actually requires much less energy. I will definitely be sharing anything useful as I go. For now, I’m going to go focus on the beautiful simplicity of absolute silence and a long awaited cupcake :)
What do you think?