Most of us spend far too much time worrying about the mistakes we’ve made, and as a result, expending far too much energy trying to prevent the next one rather than moving on to the next leap. The next idea. The next innovation. After all, what if we fail again? What if we make more mistakes? What if we are unable to free ourselves from the tyranny of our humanness?
Keep going. Keep failing. Keep being human.
Don’t be stupid and blind when it comes to your outcomes. Your results. Because whether you fail or you succeed there is always much to learn.
The real truth reveals itself in your responses to these outcomes. Your choices. Your willingness to keep going and to prevent your mistakes and your failures from ruling over your mind and your next move like a dictator intent on shrouding you in a cloak of fear that is wet and heavy with the weight of your doubt, and the world, and impossible to carry for very long on the road to your success.
We cannot hold on to that which no longer works for us and expect new and better things to come into our lives. Start releasing that which does not serve you…
Most of us are familiar with the idea of becoming more magnetic, or more attractive. In other words, finding ways to make yourself a more attractive personality that makes you irresistible in all aspects of your life. A more subtle idea is discovering how to create a vacuum that either pulls you forward or pulls good things toward you.
Now, before you stop reading because those two ideas sound like the same thing, I encourage you to stick around for a few minutes, because the distinction between these two ideas is profound.
It helps if you think of this as the difference between pushing and pulling. Because while you can in fact push your way through life, make yourself more magnetic, and strive to make constant progress toward your goals, leading you to opportunities more forcefully; this can also be exhausting and eventually lead to burnout. The extra effort comes at a cost.
I’m not saying this effort isn’t also important at times. I’m saying that there is also another way. One that is less costly, more rewarding, and in my experience thus far, important for your long-term health and success.
Back when I was a young man and a world-class athlete (see the photo below form the archives), we talked a lot about finding and being in ‘the zone.’ In fact, I still have an old poster of the late Tony Gwynn hanging around in the ash flash creative cave that features this idea and how Tony and other athletes described this incredibly alluring and purely zen-like state of mind, and how that clarity allowed them to perform at extremely high levels.
I can still remember myself on multiple occasions on the soccer field, in the zone. Often in very big games, scoring incredible goals and wondering how it could have felt so easy to do and why everything else around me seemed to go into a quiet reverie that left me and me alone with the time and space to do something courageous and magnificent. In fact, many of those moments are still very clear in my mind today, 35+ years later. Incredible.
I have heard others describe this to me as being in ‘the flow.’ And I’ve experienced that too. The times and places in your life when everything seems to make sense, you’re able to find great joy in everything that you do, and you’re not distracted or frustrated by the things you can’t control. Opportunities present themselves with little or no effort. I have produced many great successes in other areas of my life when I’ve found myself in this state.
Of course, the key is in cultivating the right life habits so that you find yourself in this zone or flow as often as possible. Creating a vacuum that pulls you forward will help you do just that. Below, I’ve shared a few more ideas and actions that might help you achieve this glorious state of mind. But first, let’s talk just a little bit about the importance of your vision.
Vision is more powerful than goals in pulling you forward.
Vision is more powerful than goals in pulling you forward. It is a much more comprehensive idea and less restricting. There is nothing wrong with goals, but you need to remember that goals are something you generally strive toward and as such they cost more emotionally and physically.
One of the biggest challenges with goals is that they focus your attention on the future and often distract you from staying present and connecting with the people and activities that you are involved in right now. And it is the here and now where you have the best chance to lock yourself into the zone and experience optimal flow in your life. Not in the future. In fact, if you accept the idea that attachment is the true source of all suffering in life, then you will see how careful you must be with your goals, which not only focus your attention away from now, but also reinforce your attachment to wanting things to be different.
Goals are important, but your vision will set you free.
Your vision creates a level of clarity that you can already see and embrace fully, which ultimately allows you more space and energy from which your present moment can pull ideas, people, events, opportunities, and new and interesting adventures that you will have the confidence to embrace because you are so clear about your vision.
Creating your vision allows you to focus on the present moment and everything you need to do right now to help foster the on-going development of that vision.
See the difference?
When you think about it this way, you begin to see much more clearly how all of the following actions will help you create the life and career you really want. For now, I’ll just share the list with you. Over time, I’ll share more details about how I relate to some or all of these ideas; and how they’ve really helped me in my own life. Some of them will be detailed in the book I’m working on right now.
This is an excellent list of stuff that I do regularly and that helps me tremendously.
Find opportunities and environments that promote your creativity
Surround yourself with people who bring out your best.
Say and share ideas that occur to you even if they are not true yet – this takes great courage and personal trust, but the result is very often transformational.
Invite and create conflict from which solutions will arise.
Experiment more with yourself – including ideas, products, life, companies, situations, feelings, and words. This creates more opportunity and one or more of these new experiments will lead you to something pretty great.
Unhook yourself from who you were – this one is so important and often very hard to do. But once again, will release you from attachment and suffering in ways that are astoundingly profound.
Stop diluting the truth – tell the truth about something even if you can’t yet see any way to do anything about it. Because diluting the truth stops energy from flowing and stops your personal progress in ways that are often hard to see until you’re willing to stand up and speak the truth.
In describing what the Voyager captured in that grainy photograph of mostly empty space, Sagan limned Earth as a “pale blue dot.” That became the moniker of the photograph itself and the title of his bestselling book published later that year, in which he wrote that “everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives” on this “mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
You may or may not know that I spend my days working for a fast-growing technology company that serves the funeral profession. I created this broadcast today for my most recent group of interested customers and thought you might like it too.
“Do not wait for leaders. Do it alone, person to person.” -Mother Teresa
Can you relate to that quote? If you’re devoted to your life’s work, like most funeral directors are, the answer is always, YES!
The photo you see above is from a quick shot I took here at my desk at work. I highly recommend this book. A book that has changed my life in many ways and that I go back to again and again when I need inspiration. It’s simply amazing how much great insight is packed inside this terrific book that you can still get in hard cover. I keep one copy at work and the other in my man cave so that I can refer to it whenever I need to shift my perspective.
Today’s featured chapter is: Affect Others Profoundly
This is something we all have the opportunity to do every single day. The opportunities for funeral directors come much more often, but with just a little more intention, you’ll find that you very often have more opportunities than you think.
The essence of this message is illuminated in the first sentence of the first paragraph on page 77, and that’s what I wanted to share with you today.
“Without communication, life becomes cold and daunting. But when communication flows, people feel one of the best things there is to feel – touched. Even if that communication comes in the form of a deep sad story about loss, we’re still reminded of our aliveness. The message itself can be less important than the openness and honesty behind it. And a profound connection can happen in any exchange.”
See what I mean?
I hope this inspired you.
I want you to know that this is how I approach my work both as a salesperson, a human being, and as johnny renaissance here on the ash flash.
Seemed like a good idea today to start this list. I’ll come back to add items “as the spirit moves me.” That’s how an old fitness client I coached used to describe his running routine. “I go when the spirit moves me, John.”
I always remembered that, because it resonates with me in my own on-going pursuit of fitness over 50.. One faces many challenges in this pursuit.
Where does that drive to exercise come from?
I’m not entirely sure, but I’m sure glad I have it. And I do everything I possibly can to cultivate its continued presence.
Sunday ideas for inspiration
OK, a good run or long walk are two great Sunday ideas to start with, but I want to share at least one other idea here that might inspire you today.
PS Before I go. Here’s one more I have not had much time to explore as much as I want to yet but has already enlightened me on multiple occasions.
Brain Pickings Brain Pickings has a free Sunday digest of the week’s most interesting and inspiring articles across art, science, philosophy, creativity, children’s books, and other strands of our search for truth, beauty, and meaning.
Finally, here is a great and inspiring list of ideas for actions you can take on Sunday that will catapult your Monday and more.
Clean your fridge. Toss everything that’s questionable
Clean out your car
Clean our your purse, handbags, and briefcases. Lunch boxes too if you carry one. And you should be…
Prepare health snacks and plan for them each day
Prepare your Monday morning breakfast on Sunday
Put some food in the crockpot or instant cooker for dinner today and leftovers tomorrow at lunch
Drink plenty of water today
Write your Monday morning to-do list
Map your weekly goals
Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and do NOT feel guilty about it! This can include your yoga class, walking, exercise, or just some time on the front porch with your favorite book and a tall glass of something cold and is anything other than alcohol.
Make time to catch-up with family and friends
Clean your closet.
Put your wardrobe in order.
Iron your clothes in advance.
Iron your shorts
Iron a few t-shirts – it just feels good
Check the weather and plan your wardrobe for the week too.
Make sure your gym clothes and gym bag are in order too. Got enough shampoo? Clean towels? Lotion? You know the drill. And if you don’t, let’s make it happen.
Get your trash ready for pick-up Day. Mine gets picked-up on Tuesday but it’s always nice not to have to worry about it on Monday evening.
Get off the couch and get outside. Go on a hike. Sit on your porch. Mow your lawn. Do something outside.
Read The Ash Flash to stay inspired for the week.
Treat yourself to something nice. Report back with your ideas. I’m always looking for inspiring ways to check this one off the list.