Process vs. results. What’s more important?

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Results vs goals, what’s more important?

What’s more fulfilling: the road you carve toward your goals or the ultimate result?
Admit it: there is something devastating in having the sacred dream of life-changing goal realized. But, the unhappiest time is when you reach the goal you thought would make you happy but eventually you end up feeling bitter emptiness. “What’s next”?- you wonder. “Is this it?”

Unless you have some new goal “ in store” you are sure to feel this way. So, is life equaling to a chain of mechanical actions? Goals- fulfillment-other goals- fulfillment?

Not at all. In-between, there is a whole palette of emotions- hope, faith, disappointment, anger, fury, anticipation and the long-awaited fulfillment. And, of course, the piercing feeling of guilt after you reach it. (“I don’t deserve it”, – the so-called “imposter syndrome“).

So, the answer to the question is just to stop asking it in the first place.

Stop it. Just live. Breathe in peace, breathe out anxiety. Relish the process, do your best and even more but don’t link your happiness to the result, nor tie it to people, phenomena or circumstances.

“Easier said than done”- you’ll probably argue. That’s what I’m doing right now while I scribble these lines. But who said “the easy” is the friend of “the happy”? 🙂

 

A no-nonsense tip for success, or the power of asking

Knock and the door will be opened.

Knock and the door will be opened.

Like in the popular cartoons, this morningI felt an invisible lamp being lit over my head;  the so-called “a-ha” moment, and I want to share my insight with you.

As usual, it happened when I was injecting my morning dose of inspiration on BBC.com Capital into my brains. “The Three Secrets of Getting What You Want”- the clickbait headline already foreboded a mix of ultimate reading pleasure and a promise of tangible outcomes (read: subsequent actions).

I’m not going to criticize or summarize the article. Rather, I’ll focus on the  single point that rang a bell to me. Asking as a prerequisite for getting what you  dream about. And this is when I realized the only gross obstacle pulls me back and halts my progress toward the goals: I suck at asking because I’m too proud, sometimes lazy, and other times just foolish, and even when I ask the time spent on the decision-making drains the energy that could have been spent more efficiently on my goals.

“Ask and it shall be given to you”, the famous Bible quote swirled into my mind (which is rare given my not being a keen Christian or an overly religious person) which started conflicting with another thought-provoking quote by my favorite Mikhail Bulgakov: “You should never ask anyone for anything. Never- and especially from those who are more powerful than yourself.” (NB: Woland’s advice to Margarita).

Sorry, my favorite Bulgakov, author of immortal “Master and Margarita”. With all my love and respect to your masterpiece, these words are not up-to-date anymore. The life realities haves changed. Life speeds have so much accelerated that one can’t have the luxury of sitting back and waiting when those “who are more powerful” to notice your merits (for instance, to give you the deserved raise or recognition at work).

And my recent life experience has come to prove that. Of course, it took me months to take the step of asking to later find out it’s not at all humiliating and tough, especially when you’re sure you deserve what you ask for.  The result? I got what I wanted (even if it was a short-term fix), and I’m not sure if I would if I hadn’t asked.

A conclusion? Besides your personal strategies and tactics (share, please, if you do anything specific and out-of-box to reach your goals), the overused “visualization” and already cliche “positive thinking” strategies, just ask for the particular thing you want to have for your longer-term goals, and 90 times out 100 you will be rewarded. After all, rejection is better than regret.

To-do or to-NOT-do list?

not-do-list-940x380Conventional wisdom says: “If you want to be productive, create a to-do list and stick to it”.

However, ”monitoring” the effectiveness of my to-do list at one point in my life, I found out it doesn’t work against daily distractions. I thought: OK, I know what to do, but is it enough to channel my energy to achieving my goals? This is when I shifted to an alternative approach – the to-NOT-do list- suggested by my favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert.

Inspired with her insight, I outlined my to-NOT-do list. Honestly, I haven’t reached 100%-performance milestone yet (sometimes I can’t resist commenting on a provoking Facebook post or admiring a photo of a cute kitten :)). But I believe sticking to this approach is a way to enhance productivity. So, here’s my updated to-NOT-do list:

  1. Do not check e-mail or social media accounts constantly. I pick 3 times a day – morning, lunchtime and around 6- for  responding to emails and chatting or commenting on Facebook. If you still can’t resist the temptation, try Google Chrome’s Stay Focused extension which will automatically curb your time spent on social networks.
  1. Do not lavish your time on contacts with manipulative or high maintenance people. Want it or not, you can’t make everyone happy, especially these tough types. Unfollow them on Facebook as well as in real life. (I’ve already written on how to avoid and protect yourself against such emotional vampires in my previous post).
  2. A girlish one. Do not overuse mirror during the day. Do your best to look your best in the morning and then relax. That new microscopic wrinkle on your forehead will not disappear, but the thought of it will swirl in your mind and distract from your big goal. Light-heartedness is sexier than perfect features or professional makeup.
  1. Do not read tabloid or overly negative content, especially in the morning. You’ll not be able to prevent another ISIS terrorist attack or save quake victims but instead will have your mood ruined for the rest of the day. What I do is just skim BBC or CNN headlines in the afternoon without going into details.
  1. Finally, the abstract and hardest to-NOT-do. Do not expect immediate results. Either from using these tips or pursuing your goals in general. This is the first thing I remind myself while working on my goals (patience is not my strongest feature, I confess). I repeat Jim Rohn’s words whenever I rush to get results : “How long should you try? Until”.

While reading this entry, you perhaps thought of your own to-NOT-do list. Do some soul-searching and unveil those time and energy-killers. Write them down on a to-NOT-do list and remove them from your life:) Good luck, and stay committed to your goals.

 

 

Myth debunker: How to fight Monday-phobia

gmo-runsystem-monday-morningTo most of us, Mondays are miserable, scary, frustrating (complete the list on your own). It turns out there is even “blue Monday” – the last Monday of January- which is the worst day of the year, and some counsellors offer ”Blue Monday” help! (NB: I had a productive morning and almost Friday-night-out- evening on January 26, the last Monday of 2015).

It’s ridiculous. A cultural myth permeating the offices and infecting workers with sluggishness, anxiety and series of yawns. A stereotype that has already been dispelled by statistics. According to US surveys,  around 340,000 people claimed to feel no worse on Mondays than other working days, except for Friday mentioning that sweet ”Friday feeling”.

So, what makes Monday so unjustly dubbed as “miserable”? The answer is obvious. It is the contrast in mood from Sunday to Monday that made Monday so loathed by the employed people. (Here’s the first thing to ponder over. Even though you hate Monday, it’s still better than never-ending week-end of the out-of-work). So, to smooth the contrast, you should start as early as Sunday evening.

Plan ahead something exciting for Monday evening – a rock/classical/jazz concert, sushi with friends, massage, SPA or intensive workout- whatever empowers you and creates an anticipation-mood.

A rule of thumb: to fight Monday-phobia, as any other phobia, you should face it and turn it into something more enjoyable and less scary in your mind. Manipulate your mind the way you treat Monday as any other weekday. Imagine it’s the promising Thursday and even liberating Friday! Feeling more at ease, aren’t you?

P.S. I admit I often find myself surrendering to the mainstream ”Monday blues” at the office or Facebook. But the thought that I’ll be jogo-ing at the capoeira class brings me back to the Friday-zoneJ