written by john c ashworth
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.
Be courageous today!