So have you ever really wanted something?
Maybe you’ve attended an interview and been desperate to impress and secure your dream job? Or perhaps you’ve set up your own business and really, really wanted to succeed? Or been totally focused on winning a new contract or order?
Often our reaction to these desires is focused, driven activities to achieve our goals. I for one am never happier than when I’m pursuing a dream or ambition. And there’s nothing wrong with this, but I have come to realise that the relentless pursuit of what we most want may not always be the best way of achieving it.
It sounds paradoxical, but what I mean is that sometimes we become so intent on our desired outcome that our actions take on a frantic, grasping, desperate quality. This desperate quality is likely to be off putting to our potential employer or client and actually make our goal less achievable.
Our impetuousness can cause us to interfere, push too hard or take unnecessary actions. Our desire to succeed can in fact be the architect of our failure.
Our focus on a particular goal may also blind us to new opportunities or obvious cues. So intent are we on our desired outcome that we can fail to notice that things have changed, maybe this goal is no longer relevant or is unachievable, or maybe another should take priority.
If we become too attached to a particular outcome it can also be a source of stress, anxiety and frustration. Generally we don’t show the best of ourselves or make good decisions under these circumstances.
So what I’ve noticed is that when we relax, just let go a little; our dreams and goals are more likely to become reality. Although this is counterintuitive, there is actually a sound rationale.
When you let go;
- You relax, you appear relaxed, this is an attractive quality and the impression you make is more likely to be positive
- You make better decisions
- A ‘hands off’ approach can allow things to take their natural course which may well lead to the achievement of your goal.
- You remain open-minded and are more likely to hear, see and sense what is going on around you and spot opportunities, process new information and adjust your course accordingly.
- And what’s more, you simply feel better and are more likely to enjoy your success when you achieve it!
The practice of yoga perfectly demonstrates the paradox of letting go. Anyone who has ever tried to achieve the lotus position will know that you can try to force, push and exercise all of the determination you have in achieving this goal; but it is not until you breathe, relax and stop pushing that the posture can be achieved.
Of course, I’m not the first to hit upon this fact! The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu put it very simply;
“By letting go, it all gets done”
And the German poet Hermann Hesse wrote;
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go”
My challenge to you is to try it (not the lotus posture unless you really want to!), the next time you desperately want something (or perhaps you already have something in mind), don’t push too hard and don’t let it become an obsession. Relax, plan your actions calmly, listen and sometimes, just wait. I’m not suggesting that your dreams will materialise before your eyes with no work at all, but a measured, less controlled approach can be very effective.