Why You Can Always Expect Your Best
Giving it your all, trying your hardest, doing your best…
We have all heard these motivational expressions. Sometimes imparted to us by others, sometimes stated by us to help us focus.
The sentiment behind these expressions is a positive and optimistic one: Put the effort in and you will get the result you are after.
This is a sentiment I agree with. You cannot reap what you do not sow.
Over the years however, I have expanded my perception around the process of putting effort in to achieve results. In this post, I am going to offer up a couple of complimentary insights that have helped me along my journey.
Doing, Not Trying
This is a concept famed by Yoda in Star Wars but born from eastern philosophy.
If we create the right conditions for success, then success will inevitably happen. It is all about adopting the right strategy, breaking things down in to small achievable chunks, and practicing so that we develop the right skills we need. This builds our confidence to complete those small chunks, so we can just get on and do it.
Think about this like walking up a mountain. If you try to take one stride up to the top you will fail. If you break it down in to smaller steps (which is how humans tend to walk), you can string together all of the little steps in to a journey up the mountain pathway.
When you are not stepping, you are standing still. “Try” changes in to “do” the moment that your foot lands. Trying is the process where as doing is the result.
If you create the right conditions and focus on your result, the process will naturally unfold. If you focus on the process of trying, you will achieve the result of trying. Trying not doing.
Trust in yourself and trust in the natural processes of the universe to unfold and furnish the foundations you have laid.
A Little Caveat for Kindness
In the past I have found myself getting angry and frustrated when I have created a plan for what I have wanted to achieve in a day, but then the plan has not unfolded the way I wanted it to.
An initial reaction to this may be to suggest that the bar has been set too high. When considering that, I have thought to myself “well, I have managed to get this much done on other days”. This is where frustration kicks in.
I have become frustrated with myself for not performing to the standard that I have previously.
Frustration is the key challenge that I want to address here. You see, frustration is like energetic turbulence. When the mind refuses to accept what is, it means we have slipped from being conscious in the present moment and have slipped in to an egoic state of mind where we are judging the past and wanting to change it – a past that could have happened just a few moments ago.
Energy continues to flow in and around us, but because we are not focussed on the present moment and engaged in these energetic processes, instead the energy within us stagnates and accumulates. This is where the feeling of frustration kicks in. The turbulence is a catalyst for more turbulence meaning if the cycle is not broken, we will end up spiralling and simply being frustrated by our own frustration.
A little bit of perspective is key. No two moments are identical. The situation is subtly different and we are subtly different.
Consider how much sleep you had last night, how the kids have been behaving, what time you had your dinner, how much exercise you have been doing, how far away from pay day it is…. The list of factors that can influence our energetic state is endless.
Our energetic state determines how much focus we can apply to achieve desired outcomes. Learning to be aware, or you could say, mindful of our energetic state is key to stifling the rise of frustration.
Yes, you can always expect 100% effort from yourself. But only from the percentage of energy which is actually available.
Say you are feeling 80% on form one day… well, plan accordingly and lower the bar to match. If you go for 100% of 80% then you are being realistic and as such being kind to yourself. You are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy as that state of energetic calm is what will enable you to achieve maximum available effort.
If you were to aim at true 100%, frustration would kick in and degrade the available percentage even further. You may still give 100% of the available percentage but that availability would have dropped further to 50%.
Be realistic, plan accordingly and find a kind strategy.
Your best is always relative.
Enjoy, for now.