Want to change your life overnight?
Stop trying so hard.
Nothing we have to force generates the outcome we desire.
In fact, when we expect everything to fit our predetermined expectations, we seize up and find ourselves incapable of really doing the work. Perfectionism creeps in, and we actually start sabotaging our efforts.
If we are trying so hard to be liked, it is hard to show up and be loved. If we are trying so hard to create a masterpiece, it is hard to begin the process of trial and error that would lead us there. If we are trying so hard to be happy, it almost always eludes us.
You do not demand the bud blossoms at a certain hour. You plant a seed deeply, you water it and give it light, and then you let it do what it was created to do. You are the exact same way. If you show up each day and do the work, the desired results will come on their own, in due time.
When you are trying too hard you are forcing yourself out of your natural rhythm. You exit flow, the heightened productivity state in which you actually accomplish things.
When you try too hard, you ignore your instincts for what you imagine other people will like, or react to. In doing this, you really end up disconnecting from your own perception. This is important because in business, and in life, we have to see through the eyes of others. We have to see market gaps, or have empathy. Yet the most effective way to do this is to use ourselves as a litmus test. Do I like this? Would I spend money on this? Would I want to be treated like this?
You will look better, feel better and do more if you could just cut yourself some slack.
Trying too hard makes you instantly ineffective.
When someone tries too hard to get you to like them, you are more disinclined to give them a chance. When someone tries too hard to make you think they’re attractive, you usually don’t. When someone tries too hard to convince people that you are intelligent, they start to seem unintelligent. When you try too hard to sell your business, it tends to push people away. When you try too hard to seem cool, you do not seem cool.
Trying too hard to feel good often makes you focus on what’s wrong in your life, effectively making you feel worse.
It points to a fact about human life that we are all somewhat aware of, and yet often not able to verbalize: flow is what gets us what we really want. The work is actually removing the barriers to that flow, showing up to let it happen.
It calls to mind a Bukowski poem:
“If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it…
If you have to sit for hours staring at your computer screen or hunched over your
typewriter searching for words, don’t do it. If you’re doing it for money or fame,
don’t do it…
If you have to sit there and rewrite it again and again, don’t do it… If you have to wait for it to roar out of you, then wait patiently. If it never does roar out of you, do something else.
Unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it…
There is no other way. And there never was.”
For all of the advice about being able to accomplish more, we leave out perhaps the most important element of all: what is right for us is ultimately what comes naturally to us. This is authenticity in its truest in purest form, when we start honoring and capitalizing on our natural gifts, as opposed to trying to manipulate them into something that they are not, and were never intended to be.
In every single thing that brings us success in life, there is an element of effortlessness at work.
Our greatest relationships feel like an effortless connection, even if showing up for them and getting through disagreements is work. Our greatest creativity flows like an effortless outpour, even if getting past our insecurities about it is work. Our greatest beauty is when we enhance what we already have, even if getting past our insecurities is work.
When you start to embrace what flows naturally in your life, you start to find your groove. You recognize that relationships are easier, people are magnetized to you, money flows, work flows, and you flow.
You’re no longer toiling in resistance to what you are, instead, you’re working with it, dancing with the light that shines out of you, as opposed to waiting in the shadows for another day.