Thursday, June 3, 2010
I was, and still am to a point, a goal-oriented person. I like to set goals, tackle them and achieve them. I used to look at my progress in that regard as a measure of success. I don't any longer (at least not like I used to), but I understand that a lot of people still do (and that isn't a bad thing). One thing that was a negative stimulus in my life (prior to finding my passion drummer) was that I pursued my goals with verve and tenacity, but also stock full with expectations. I also found myself evaluating my progress with judgment in terms of typical measures of success toward that goal. More times than not, I felt like I didn't quite hit the expectation that I anticipated and I felt bad about that. In the end, enough was never enough, because my expectations could never be truly achieved as they were born in my mind's eye.
My life is different now because I go into each new experience with the goal of having fun. As I've said before, I know that sounds like a pretty simplistic goal, and it is...but it's more difficult to do than it sounds...because of the things I was talking about in the last blog post (daily life demands clouding my focus and distracting me). I've found that if my measuring device for whether an experience was a success was the degree of fun that I had, I didn't feel the need to judge myself as a success or failure. That was a liberating experience for me. I didn't beat myself up for having fun, and I didn't beat myself up for not having fun, I just made the decision of continuing in that direction based on whether I had fun. So it wasn't as important to me if I failed or succeeded in the actual goal, but whether I enjoyed the process. I didn't set expectations on being number 1 or making "$$$" or achieving XYZ, because the expectation was to have fun. I gravitate to those things that I find enjoyable and as a result I naturally excel then without it being "work"...because it is FUN. And I go into an experience without a preconceived idea of what will be at the end of the experience, but just go into it with genuine curiosity. If I have passion to simply explore something, that will, in my opinion, bring me much closer to a positive experience than visualizing a specific agenda, expectation and end result will.
So the next time you enter into an experience, particularly one that you've tried before without much "success", try bringing a different set of tools with you: Genuine Curiosity, No Expectations, and No Judgments. Within that process, pursue what you find enjoyable, where you are naturally curious, and don't push yourself into areas that just don't feel as fun to you. If you have to judge yourself during the process, then the measure you should judge against is simply whether you're having fun. It doesn't matter if you came in dead last, if you came out of the experience at a loss (financial or otherwise), or if you didn't achieve your goal at all. If you measure your emotional experience to the situation, your level of enjoyment, instead of those typical measures, you may find a very different conclusion. And that could be a very good thing.