As Idina Menzel sings in the movie Frozen, “Let It Go.” Recently, I produced an event for Idina’s charity, “A Broader Way.” It got me thinking about things. The concept came up again, when my teacher and a personal mentor in LA, said, “Show up, do the work and don’t be so attached to the results.” This is easier said, than done, especially being a Type A” and an event planner for a living.
When you are attempting to do something big in your life, whether it’s to start a new business, run a marathon, or simply being a more positive person, it is so important to not be attached to the outcome.
In my case, I’ve been through all of these experiences and often pushed myself quite hard which is the cost of being an “overachiever.” I’ve actually run five marathons so far but I don’t have any regrets as my training partners and I had a great time training and traveling together.
However, my new mantra now is:
Be open to the outcome, not attached to the outcome.
This lesson is embedded in the practices of Buddhism and is often a very difficult way of life for Westerners to learn. In this culture or the western world, the key to success is believed to be through material means, where “consumerism” and “hedonism” rule.
We promote “Individualists” who are highly task oriented and focused on getting things done. What ever happened to “together we can?” Relationships are everything. 90% of my business has come from referrals and everyone I know has enriched my life in some way. We need others.
David Brooks, New York Times columnist and deep philosophical guru says that wealth is not the key to happiness. Instead, the number one factor in human happiness is interpersonal relationships. “The daily activities most associated with happiness are sex, socializing after work or having dinner with friends. Joining a group that meets even just once a month produces the same happiness gain as doubling your income.” I’d also beg to say that going home every night to someone, working out and pets bring us overwhelming pleasure.
When you are attached to the desired outcome, you miss opportunities and can actually drag yourself down, inhibiting your efforts. It will drain your energy, you’re too focused on yourself and you lack the success mentality. We also feel intense frustration. Frustration is caused by one thing: wishing things were different than they are and the universe doesn’t always align itself with what you want when you live this way.
Being unattached is an art form. It takes time and practice and here are a few tips I have picked up that I wanted to share with you:
- Deal with the root cause; acknowledge your fears, anxieties and insecurities.
- Build unstructured moments in your life – play, get outdoors, do yoga, dance.
- Start a gratitude journal. Make a list of the good things that have come out of hard and difficult situations in your life.
- When you start to judge right or wrong, take a step back and assess more compassionately.
- Pay attention. Often we find ourselves thinking about what to say next. But when we’re thinking about what to say next, we’re not listening.
- Realize that a mind that is detached emotionally is a stronger mind — one that is much more able to think quickly, creatively and discover a new path, an alternative solution, etc. Great for the workplace!
- Give spirituality a chance; discover a new way of thinking.
- Meditate and meditate regularly. Do alone or with a group.
- Share with someone and love someone without expectations
I am, by no means, an expert on this subject matter, but wanted to share what I have learnt. Sometimes the dreams we chase and the life we design for ourselves really do provide us with happiness and peace, and yet sometimes it takes letting go, and having faith like we have faith in our next breath, that there is a divine and perfect order; we just might not be seeing it at the time.