If I asked you “What Gear You’re In,” you would probably say “overdrive,” if you even had time to talk.
But are you really?
We are all programmed to be competitive, it is in our nature. And therein lies the problem. In truth few people are as pressed as they think they are. Even fewer actually know what gear they are really in. Fewer still understand what gear they are comfortable in.
Let me guess, you probably spend your week trying to go as fast as possible. On the weekend you struggle to slow down so that you can relax without losing the momentum you built up during the week, and without losing your place in the never ending chain of emails; and no, it never ends.
So why struggle with yourself trying to make it work, when it simply wouln’t. Why not choose a different speed that works with you, your body, and your own Simple Truth? Yes, some people will never stop running – and, guess what. That is the speed they are comfortable in. Or perhaps they have never taken the time to even think about it. But if you are like me, you will probably wake up one day and ask yourself, what happened?
Early on, you probably jumped into a highly competitive field where work is a full contact sport. Only later did you realize that was not for you. Then you struggled to keep up or found another field that was a better fit with your natural demeanor. Maybe you migrated to the arts or an NGO thinking they were the key to that work/life balance you were looking for. Once in you realized the full contact nature of those jobs were simply hidden by the creative beauty or goodness they produced.
Don’t get me wrong, every field out there has a beautiful side to it and a competitive side to it. Yes, even yoga and meditation have those two sides. So take a step back. Do not just look at the field you want to work in, decide which side of that field is the best fit for your own Simple Truth.
If you would rather spend your time seeing the beauty that is behind every sport, every trade and every industry, simply look for it, it will be there. If instead you want to spend your time seeing the business behind the music, the films, the arts, it will be there too. It simply depends on where you focus your sights.
There was a German friend of mine, who, like me, loved sailing. After a particularly long day’s sail I remember asking him what he loved most about sailing. He looked me in the eye and said, in that very stern, German voice of his, “I don’t sail. I race. And I race to win.”
One act, sailing, but two very different mindsets. Two different lenses that each of us viewed the simple act of sailing through. We each saw the wind and the tides very differently. Neither of them right or wrong, just different vantage points.
He obsessed with each ripple on the water to maximize his advantage. I took a more leisurely approach, not worrying about speed of the moment as much as the overall course for the weekend. I cared more about enjoying the moment, the waves, and the conversation. He cared more about his speed in the here and now.
Which would be more right for you? Are you a racer, or a cruiser?
It’s important to know this. Because no matter what treadmill you are on, if it is set to the wrong speed you will wake up one day wondering what happened. You will either find yourself with a great house and a great car, but with the wrong friends and in the wrong relationship wondering where your life went, looking at those around you, envying what they have while asking yourself “why not me?” Instead of settling back, happy in all that you have.
Either way, be careful you do not spend your life chasing the wrong dream.
It’s not wrong to want a bigger house for your growing family. It’s not wrong to want more money so that you can give your kid a better education. It’s not even wrong to want a gorgeous apartment so that you have an oasis to retreat to, or a beach house to escape in. What is wrong is spending your life in pursuit of someone else’s dream; which, yes, can even include spending your money buying latest yoga mats and meditation pillows to remind your friends just how Zen you are.
So remember, it does not matter what direction you follow, just make sure whatever direction you pursue is in line with your own Simple Truth. Once you figure out what direction is right, then pursue your dreams with everything you have without harming those around you. That way you can stay your course, while still having what the Buddhists refer to as Right Mind and Right Action – a sure fire combination for success both for you and those around you.
I hope this helps,