Enjoying the process (DW #880)

Since the best way to get to our destination appears to be to focus on the path rather than obsessive focus on the destination, the journey can be much more pleasant if we actually enjoy the process, don’t you think?
"the real juice of life, whether it be sweet or bitter", writes George Leonard, "is to be found not nearly so much in the products of our efforts as in the process of living itself, in how it feels to be alive."
So, how about savouring the process, enjoying the journey, taking in the view and smelling the roses along the way?
How do we do it?
Stop, pause, look around. What small beauty, pleasure or delight are you missing by obsessively wanting to get to your destination? Simply pause and take a moment to savour it.  
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Staying the course (DW #879)

It’s easy to get on the path of mastery. The real challenge lies in staying on it." How true is THAT?!?
How many times have you started a new program and then burnt out and/or switched course? A lot? Me too!!
There are some common pitfalls on the path, says Leonard.
"Obsessive goal orientation. As pointed out numerous times …, the desire of most people today for quick, sure, and highly visible results is perhaps the deadliest enemy of mastery."
Not surprisingly this is a major pitfall for a lot of people. We are told such things as "keep your eyes on the prize". While this can be a helpful reminder to keep going when things get tough on the road towards something meaningful and important, obsessive goal focus can be an obstacle.
Love how Russell Simmons’ puts it in Do You!). He says: "I know some people say ‘Keep your eyes on the prize,’ but I disagree. When your eyes are stuck on the prize, you’re going to...
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Diligence (DW #878)

Yesterday, we looked at the various paths that lead us away from mastery in different areas of our lives.

The next logical question is, if the paths of the Dabbler, the Obsessive and the Hacker don’t work, what does?
George Leonard explains that they way to gain mastery is to practice diligently, to practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself.
In other words, focus on the PROCESS, the journey.
As one meditation teacher puts it: "Work diligently. Diligently. Work patiently and persistently. Patiently and persistently. And you’re bound to be successful. Bound to be successful."
Again. And again. And again.
We can get sooo impatient at this, right? We are programmed to want quick results. We don’t like the fact that it is going to take us the rest of our lives.
How do we reconcile this impatience with the reality of mastery?
By focusing and enjoying as best as we can, on the practices. On the process.
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The long and rocky path (DW #877)

In his book, Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment, George Leonard explains that because the path to mastery in any area is challenging, we are often tempted to look for shorter and easier ways to self-mastery.
He says that are three other paths that may entice us: these are the paths of The Dabbler. The Obsessive. And the Hacker. 
  • The Dabbler: Gets really into something for a while and loves the quick results but the moment things fade, he/she’s off to the next new thing—rationalizing that it just wasn’t a good fit. This path does not lead to mastery.
  • The Obsessive: A bottom-line type of person who wants to get the tennis stroke right on the first lesson and, when results start to slow, pushes even harder to make it work, ignoring the fact that plateaus are part of the path of mastery—pushing and pushing mercilessly to create a continuing upward curve. Then? A sharp, sharp decline. Hence, no mastery.
  • The Hacker: After sort...
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The process of self-mastery (DW #876)

How long is this going to take?
This is a question that often comes up when we are talking about working on ourselves.
We ask this question because we think that self-mastery is a project. I have a blueprint or a protocol, I work at it for a certain period of time and then VOILA I have achieved my goal of self-mastery.
Sorry but it doesn’t work that way.
Self-mastery is NOT a project. Not something that you "complete" and move onto the next task or project.
It is a process and a journey.
A journey that begins with an awareness and an intention and ends when our time on this planet does.
In other words, we will NEVER be exonerated from doing the work.
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Shifting gear (DW #875)

Moving away from victim to s/hero mode, turns out is not complicated.

We simply need to change the questions that we ask ourselves.
Victims ask:
  • Why me?
  • Why is this happening?
  • Why is this happening to me?
  • Why does this need to happen?
  • Why am I like this?
  • Why is he/she/they like that? (Good luck trying to figure that one out!!)
(all the time we are asking this question, we are blaming of course. God, ourselves or others).

What do s/heroes ask instead?
They ask: Now what needs to be done? They plant themselves firmly in the zone of action.
The question immediately changes the focus from problem to solution.
Or to put it another way, we can ask: What’s Important Now = W.I.N
Try going for the W.I.N next time you notice yourself complaining.
Ask W.I.N for small things and big problems.
Go for the #WIN and become a s/hero.
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Growing roots (DW #874)

Another thing that complaining does is that it "grows roots" for the problem. It solidifies it somehow. Makes it seem un-changeable. Fixes it in our consciousness as something permanent.
After all, our focus is on the disastrous nature of the problem in all its glory.
So try it: set a timer and complain for 60 seconds.
Describe all the ways the problem is a problem.
  • How about the weather? That’s a great thing to complain about, isn’t it
  • Because we have lots of opportunity to this.
  • The weather in Canada, you know, awful.
  • The winters are so long.
  • It is sooo cold (it really is!!)
  • Winter lasts half the year.
  • The days are so short.
  • The nights are so long.
  • The roads are so icy.
  • The traffic is so bad.
  • It just snows and snows and snows ALL the time.
Feeling better yet?
No? Then how come we keep doing this?
Complaining about reality.
When we fight with reality, how often we lose?
Only 100% of the time, as Byron Katie puts it.
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Victim versus s/hero (DW #873)

We have been discussing the differences between victims and "owners" or as I like to think of them s/heroes.
What is a quick way to move from victim to s/hero?
Quit complaining.
Quit complaining about things which are outside your control (which is most things!)
The problem with complaining is this: it takes much energy, it is always about others and not yourself (therefore there is nothing you can do about it – so very disempowering) and it may feel good in the moment.
When we complain, our brain may start thinking that we are actually doing something about it. After all, we are discussing it and bringing it into the forefront of our attention right?
Wrong. Nope. Nada.
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It is noisy in here. Where do I begin? (DW #872)

As we become aware of our self-critical voices, we can get overwhelmed with the amount of chatter inside our heads.
So if we are to understand and master our self-talk, where exactly do we begin.
Start by noticing how many times you "should yourself".
  • "I should be better at this"
  • "I should exercise more"
  • "I should not be so silly"
  • "I should not be so emotional"
As Steve Chandler reminds us, "There is one word that does more damage and creates more victims than any other. It is the word ‘should.’ And you should never use it! (Oh my gosh I just did it. I should be more careful.) ‘Should’ actually reduces your motivation every time you use it. ‘Should’ is the most self-defeating word in the English language. It’s like a tranquilizer to the spirit."
We surely don’t want to take too many "tranquilizers for the spirit".
Once you start noticing how much you should yourself, you will most certainly begin to notice...
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Noticing your self talk (DW #871)

Are you aware of the judgy little (or big) voice inside your head?
Which voice, you ask? The voice that is telling you right now: What on earth is she talking about!
It is one thing to be judging others and quite another to be CONSTANTLY judging oneself.
It is exhausting and unproductive.
And so, "Understanding and mastering how you speak to yourself" says Chandler, "is the most important project you could ever take on. Get hooked on it like a hobby."
I love how he says to treat it like a hobby. A hobby is interesting, something you enjoy, some that is fun.
And so, beginning to become aware of our judgy little judges can be that too: interesting and fun.
As long as we don’t get all judgy and self-critical about the fact that we are judging ourselves.
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