Feeds:
Posts
Comments

This past weekend I was at a retreat in Maryland, and I asked a friend to help me with an experiment. It wasn't much of a request: I simply asked her to try and support me in trying to do my morning protocols while the retreat was going on.

I've always had trouble keeping up with the morning routine when I'm traveling. Remember, for me these consist of four things:

  1. Yoga: I have a 10-minute series of asanas including strength and flexibility poses that I run through to get the blood moving.
  2. Meditation: I sit zazen for 15 minutes in the morning.
  3. Journaling: I linked this one to my first coffee in the morning: writing a page of free-association thoughts every morning.
  4. Inspiration: For a while it was TED talks, or a “deep” book like Thinking Fast and Slow. Lately I've spent time looking at Pinterest instead, which disengages my too-active cognitive brain and engages a more visual and imaginative part (I especially enjoy seeing examples of hand-lettering and typography; I share a folder with a fellow enthusiast and we tag neat words we find for each other).

You'd think it wouldn't be too hard to do all of these every morning, and in truth it's not – when I'm home, it's actually easier to do them than not do them. But when I'm traveling, there are many reasons it becomes more difficult. Here's just a few of the obstacles that have gotten in the way:

 

  • I lost my yoga mat.
  • There's not a space for yoga.
  • There's not a quiet place for meditation.
  • If I'm doing yoga or meditating, people are going to think that I'm weird. Or full of myself.
  • My journal takes up even more space in my luggage.
  • There's no internet connection to find inspirational videos
  • I was up late the night before – and sleep is important, right?
I know, I know. None of these are insurmountable – in fact, some of them can be turned into little personal triumphs, such as how hard-core I felt at the retreat when I did a 90-minute yoga class without a mat. That's right, I shevasana'd right there in the grass, the way we did it in the Corps!

But the truth is, it wasn't any of these things that kept me from doing the morning routine. No, the real reason is that I just seem to not want to get out of bed and do the protocols.

 

I wasn't going to ask my friend to do anything as extreme as waking me up with ice water or threatening to withhold my coffee if I didn't do the protocols. Actually, her support was much more soft-spoken than that. She would simply remind me of my intention to do the protocols, and then subtly open up some time or space for them to take place – for example, she might notice that I'm about to journal and offer to get me a cup of coffee so that I didn't even have the excuse of getting up to find some at the campground.

 

The best support came on Saturday morning. With her help I had managed to do both Thursday and Friday mornings, but Friday night was a very late and active one – I'd danced two duets (one with my friend) during the regular evening jam, and for my aging dancer's body that was a lot. I had also taught a 90-minute workshop on creating protocols for building stronger relationships, and it also took a lot of energy as this was a campground and there was a lot of noise and activity around to compete with as I spoke. I had also hosted an impromptu talent show and then stayed up until about 2am talking with old friends over cigars and hot chocolate.

 

So when Saturday morning rolled around, I was feeling especially ache-y and tired when the 8am alarm went off. I craned my eyes open, sat up in my bunk, and saw that my friend was already standing there, looking to see if I was up.

 

“I'm totally beat from yesterday,” I told her. “I think that today needs to be about self-care.”

 

She nodded. “Probably a good idea.” I imagine that she was also sore from the duet and her own activities from the day before, but you sure wouldn't know it to look at her. “So you're going to do more yoga?” she teased (my dislike of the activity is becoming well known amidst my friends).

 

“Well, actually, I thought that would be skipping the morning protocols and maybe get some more sleep,” I mumbled. “Self-care…”

 

“Huh!” she said, looking wisely off into the distance. “That sounds like self-neglect to me.” And then she left me there.

 

I grumbled. I swore a few times as my joints reassembled themselves and I managed to stand up. But I got up and did my yoga, and my meditation, and everything else. Because of course she was right; I was falling victim to what Gretchen Rubin would call the Morality Clause: I have worked hard, so I deserve a break.


The truth is that the reward for a job well done is another job. The reward for my previous day's activities were the joys of dancing, the excitement and satisfaction of helping people grow closer and share their talents, the pleasure of re-connecting with old friends and new. None of those had any relevance to my morning protocols.

 

All I needed was my friend to softly remind me. And I have to wonder if, with all the fancy alarms and gadgets and external motivations we try to get ourselves to do the things we already know we should – maybe just expressing the small truths to each other can be just as effective, if not moreso.

 

What subtle truths do you need to be reminded of? I'm serious about asking; I will give the first five commenters a personally crafted message reminding them of what they need to hear, just because I want to.

 

What do you need to remember to keep on doing what you want to be doing?

What Do You Want?

Seriously. I've agreed to stop talking about how you should “do what you love“, but I can't help but think that part of the reason people don't follow their passion is because a lot of the time they don't figure out what it is in the first place.

Let's be clear: there's a difference between something that you like, even something you love, and something you're passionate about. The difference is pretty easy to tell, but that's for another post: in this one, I'd like to try and figure out why we don't often say, even to ourselves, what we really want.

And what we're missing out on by that lack.

Try This!

I think a lot of it comes down to laziness. Simply put, it's easier to let someone else tell us what we want than figure it out for ourselves. “The Top Five Must-Have Gadgets for Better Productivity.” Sounds like a great article, right? Look at all the wants it layers on you:

  1. “Top” – Even if you already have these gadgets, you probably don't have the latest/snazziest/most feature-filled/simplest/colorfullest/sexiest version.
  2. “Five” – Ever notice how so many articles have five, three, or ten items? It's been shown that those numbes attract readers, for some reason. What are the odds that there were two or four items, and the author just padded the list to make the headline work.
  3. “Must-Have” – Suddenly it's not even a want. It's a need. If you don't have this, you'd better get it, because it's a must.
  4. “Better” – Like “top”, if you already have this productivity thing covered, you aren't doing it well enough.
  5. “Productivity” – What does that mean, exactly? And why is it just assumed that it's something you want?

All those layers of psychological manipulation in the simple title. Why? Because people usually don't want to read “Five Soon-to-be-Obsolete Things You Probably Already Have or Don't Need That Might Help You Get More Things Done But Regardless We'd Like to Sell You.”

And part of the reason they don't want to read those articles is because then they don't have to figure it out for themselves. Instead, they can let the article tell them what they should want, from the big-picture (“You want to be more productive, right?”) to the micro-qualities (“This is top-of-the-line!”).

 

I get that. I have owned enough first-gen Apple products to know the joy of I have the best tech available. But I also know how fleeting that is, because the whole thing is a machine created to make you want more. Bettter. Faster. Stronger.

 

The purpose of marketing is to keep these messages coming at you fast enough that you don't even have time to wonder if you really want that gadget, much less whether you want the larger quality – productivity, wealth, whatever – that the gadget is supposed to provide you with.

 

But I don't blame marketing entirely. That's more the symptom than the disease.

 

Self-Sabotage

We do it to ourselves, and to each other. As I mentioned Wednesday, there's some severe logical problems with the arguments against following your passion. Yet that's the “sensible” thing to do.

 

Even worse – even though humans are shown to be remarkably bad at forseeing the future – there's that series of judgements that parade through the brain: It'll never work. Nobody will like that. I'll never succeed. Everyone will think I'm a failure. I'll let them down. They'll think I'm selfish. All of which is subtly and not-so subtly reinforced by our well-meaning peers and teachers and loved ones.

 

As usual for this blog, I'm not going to offer answers here. I have that same litany going on in my brain, and I know a lot of my friends see me as the outlier who did follow his passion. But you tell me: do you spend time figuring out what you really want? Or do you mainly let other people tell you what you should want, what you're allowed to want? If it's the former, please share how you manage to shut out the messages telling you that you shouldn't.

 

I am not a tremendously logical man. I wish I was; it's probably part of why statistics thrill me so much. It's taken me a while, but there was always something about the whole If you follow your passion, you're very unlikely to be happy or successful because you'll be financially insecure argument. With the help of some Venn diagrams, I think I've figured out why it doesn't quite make sense to me.

 

If you look at this diagram, you can see the people who are “successful” (based on the idea of “happy and financially secure” as the measure of success) in the middle. To the left are all the people who listen to conventional wisdom and relegate their passion to a hobby, picking out someone else's dream to pay their bills. Most Americans are unhappy at their work, but a good portion are, so they fill a lot of the “successful” circle.

Then to the right is the much smaller circle of those who followed their passion, and the even smaller slice that are successful in that. Based on the discussions I've had with people on both sides of the “follow your passion” argument, I'm pretty sure this is accurate.

Here's my question: both the “follow” and “don't follow” sides have a lot of people who are not happy or not financially secure or both. What do those people do? They try to find a new job that will make them happy and financially secure (I'm not sure why I keep separating those two things; the argument of the “don't follow” folks is based on the idea that they are inseparable). If the new job doesn't fill the needs – either of enough money or of being a way they can handle spending their time – then they find a new job.

That cycle – of finding a new job until you find one that fulfills your definition of “success” financially – is the same regardless of whether you follow your passion or not. The fallacy with “If you follow your passion you will likely be poor and unhappy” is the implication that not following your passion will make you rich and happy. It just ain't so! Whether you follow your passion or not, if you live in the capitalist system you are going to keep trying to find work that satisfies your needs. That's how the system works.

Let's look at another measure of success, though:

 

I feel that a reasonable measure of “success” in life is the amount of regret you have at the end. Less regret equals a more successful life – let's stipulate that.

Again, research has shown that four out of the top five regrets of those living in hospice have to do with following your passion, things like I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings and I wish I hadn't worked so hard. Perhaps the most relevant is also the top regret:

I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Obviously Twain's observation of “Lies, damn lies, and statistics” applies here. I can draw Venn diagrams all day and not convince people one way or another. I will even agree that by choosing to not follow your dreams you do increase your odds of being successful – at least in terms of there being a wider range of occupations to choose from.

However, I think it's pretty obvious that you would also be significantly increasing your odds of falling into that larger blue circle in the second diagram as well. It's a choice; just be aware you're making it.

Me, I think “No Regrets!” is a great battle cry…

 

Do It. Right Now.

courtesy Joel Montes de Oca via Flickr CCMy Middle Daughter (who is celebrating her quarter-century mark today) has been working on establishing a “5-Minute Journal” habit for herself. Like any good Personal-Development-Blogger-Dad I saw this as both an opportunity to bloviate to her and come up with a useful practice post.

The Problem

“I really like the journal,” she said – I’d given her a pretty Spring edition of the Field Notes brand, with the first few pages outlined with the elements of the 5-Minute Journal process. “But I always forget to do the end-of-day parts.” That’s the “Awesome 3” – three good things that happened that day – and the one thing that, if you could make time go backwards, you would change. Being a geek, I like to call those “Tardis Moments” or “3MIT” (“TIME” spelled backwards).

“Why’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, I’m already in bed, and it’s sitting downstairs…and it just doesn’t seem like I can get up and bother with it.”

Analysis

“Ok,” I said. “So the barrier is inertia. Beds are comfy. We need to make the journal as convenient as your bed. How about keeping it at your bedside table?”

“Oh, I tend to write in it later in the morning, so I keep it in my bag…”

“Ah, there’s the problem,” I smiled. “The idea of the 5-Minute Journal is that you do it right away, first thing, with a mind untrammeled by the events of the day.” Now, of course, this is me writing about the conversation after the fact to illustrate the point; I wasn’t nearly as concise. I am pretty sure I actually did use the word “untrammeled”, though. “Just keep the book by your bedside table all the time, and that way there’s no way for you to avoid it.”

Science of Solution

That is part of the science of habit, called “triggers.” It can be a bad thing – like eating a cookie every time you pass a cookie jar. But it also can be used to your advantage by hooking the habit you want to cultivate to a habit you already have – like waking up, or turning off your light.

So the way it would work is:

Wake up triggers: I write in the book.

and then on the other side, when she wants to go to bed and reaches for the lamp, she remembers:

Can’t turn off light until I write in the book.

The key, though, according to many people who write much smarter stuff than me about habits, is that you make sure the trigger and habit are right next to each other. It has to happen right away. If you try to associate waking up with writing in your journal an hour later…the two won’t be connected.

It has to be very conscious and deliberate at first, but over time this gets easier, and the new habit becomes almost automatic. Do it as consistently as possible, every time the trigger happens. The less consistent you are, the weaker the bond between trigger and habit. The more consistent, the stronger the bond. – Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

Application is not Permanence

I know that this can work, because I used it to develop my own 5-Minute Journal habit. It worked wonderfully – but you will notice that I’m using the past tense. That’s because, to be fully honest, I haven’t been doing it for a while now.

Part of that is because I’ve been trying other morning routines and such – but more to the point, when I stopped making “reach for pen and notebook” the first thing I did in the morning, it no longer had the trigger, and the habit faded. Not completely – I’m confident I can re-establish it – but habits are tools that are only useful if you maintain them. They’re not simple machines like levers and pulleys – they are made up of complex moving parts that require constant vigilance to maintain.

But if you pick out your trigger and your habit and you do it now it will get easier. I promise. We are hardwired that way; isn’t it about time that you made that work for you?

What do you want to do?

Giving is a GREAT habit!

How about giving to the Love Life Practice Patreon

to help the blog continue?

This Love.Life.Practice Weekend Roundup podcast also contains readings of the following posts:

This podcast was produced by Gray Miller Creative LLC.

Here’s what a recent reviewer had to say:

I’m a big fan of Gray’s weekend roundup, both for the quality of the content and the accessibility of presentation. His observations and insights are carefully considered, useful, and actionable. Listening ot the weekend roundup is my time to reflect on myself and my world.

This interview and podcast is made possible by support from my patrons. You can be as cool as them by becoming a Patron of Love Life Practice or making a one-time donation in any amount via cash.me/$graymiller.

Yes! I support LoveLifePractice!

If you like this podcast, would you please recommend it to your friends? Send them a link to iTunes or a link to the podcast feed – or tweet about it! Many thanks to my patron Milena for doing a review, because it really does help.

Send feedback, questions, or suggestions for guests I might interview to gray@lovelifepractice.com.

 

New Episode of the Love Life Practice Weekend Roundup Podcast!

Gift or Conquest?

File this under “unexpected insights through journaling.” Except it wasn’t an insight about my life path or anything like that. Instead, it was a phrase.

I was writing about being rushed and missing out on an opportunity to spend some time with a friend. I wrote, “I wasn’t able to take advantage of…” and stopped. Suddenly those words seemed very predatory. “Take advantage”? What exactly did that mean? It brings to mind articles like “Six Ways to Snap Up Opportunities Your Competitors Might Miss.” It’s a very adversarial position to take, and using it in the context of a friend was making me uncomfortable.

Of course, I wasn’t writing “I wasn’t able to take advantage of my friend…” It was “I wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunity…“, falling into the same biz-speak that fills the listicles of the entrepreblogosphere. Looking at that, I realized that it still wasn’t really a healthy way to look at thing. It put me on an adversarial footing with the entire concept of fortune itself, needing to scramble to greedily grasp whatever gems of opportunity were coming my way. It was a scarcity mindset, as if there were a finite number of chances out there being doled out by some gleeful sadistic joker in the sky.

Wishes Are Not Horses

Let’s take a look at that idea. I’ve written before about how we like to take the chaos of the universe and turn it into our own personal narrative. That’s great; it’s a fine survival trait for our species, and recognizing connections and relationships (or the lack of them) is how great innovators have spurred human progress.

But that doesn’t mean that these “opportunities” aren’t constructs we make up, and the business world is littered with people who thought they saw a pattern when one wasn’t there. I’m among them; I’ve had businesses fail and deals fall apart and gigs disappear because I misread the “opportunity.” Part of the problem with that “take advantage” mindset is that it leaves you more prone to things like confirmation bias or just plain old “magical thinking”. I’m sure it’ll all work out is usually said with a silent …the way I want/expect it to which is completely unheard by uncaring reality. Yes, it will work out – just not necessarily the way you want or expect.

Preparing to Receive

A Gift Received

A Gift Received

Back in my journal, I crossed out “I wasn’t able to take advantage of…” and replaced it with “I wasn’t prepared to receive the opportunity to see my friend.” Suddenly instead of being predatory in a land of scarcity I was instead moving through an abundant landscape. I was taking responsibility for my own lack of planning at the same time, aware of how I could change things so that the next time I recognized the pattern I would be in a place to let it happen.

By changing it from “take” to “receive” I also was removing the sense of time pressure from it, and that helps protect from those biases and fallacies which we are prone to. It has an immediate application to business: instead of jumping at something and figuring I will just “make it work” I could instead examine the “opportunity” and look more clearly at whether I was in a place to really receive it. This is not hypothetical; during the writing of this post I had a brief text negotiation with a community liaison for a group in Rochester, and re-framing the offer as “receiving” as opposed to “taking advantage” led me to negotiate a far more favorable deal than I would have otherwise.

More importantly to a “love” theme, though, I think there is some benefit to not “taking advantage” when it comes to family and friends. I would rather position myself so that when I have an opportunity for love in any of the myriad forms I would be in a frame of mind to receive it completely and joyfully, and give it back with gusto. For example, I moved back to Madison a couple of years ago so that when my daughter says “I’ve got the boys over here tonight – want to come over and say hi?” I can just take an hour and go read them a few Shel Silverstein poems, play catch, and have that be the highlight of my day.

I’ll leave “taking advantage” to those who enjoy the scarcity game. Me, I’m tired of it. I’m going to enjoy this garden of abundance and the gifts it brings my way, because there’s always plenty more.

Time, My Ally

This post is interactive. You’re going to have to click to read it.

Continue Reading »

Yeah, I didn't even do this much. But if I had, I would have spelled "analysis" correctly!

Yeah, I didn’t even do this much. But if I had, I would have spelled “analysis” correctly!

I remember when I was talking with my lawyer (who had also been my best friend all through high school) about starting a business. He patiently explained to my non-business brain about the differences between Limited Liability Companies and Sole Proprietorships and the like, and listened patiently as I explained what I was hoping to do with my company. His official advice was “Yep, you should form an LLC.”

At least, that’s what I remember hearing. So I went home, went online, and found out how to establish an LLC with a few minor clicks of the mouse. Then I called him back. “Ok, I formed the LLC,” I said. “What’s the next step?”

“You what?” I remember him answering. Apparently what he had meant when he said “You should form an LLC” was “We should plan out what it would look like, investigate the best places to incorporate, come up with a business plan, and then file the papers.” I had skipped a few steps.

Learning curves are quite an experience, especially when the curve is based on “support your family.” Ah, those were some wild times…the point is to illustrate that I am really good at jumping off a cliff and building a plane (or a parachute, or a landing cushion, or even learning to fly) on the way down. I’m a big fan of “damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead!” or the more recent Star Wars version: “Never tell me the odds!

In a lot of ways, this has been a character strength for me. It’s led to many wonderful and beneficial experiences, including this blog; conceived in a laudromat in Amsterdam by me and my friend Erik, it launched shortly after and has been going ever since. At an average of about 900 words per post, about 150 posts per year, that works out to over 400,000 words written in three years (plus a podcast that’s approaching the one-year anniversary). All without planning more than “I’ll write about practice, and life, and love…”

The Limits of Spontaneity

Over the past three months I’ve been doing an experiment: T. Harv Eker’s Life Makeover Coaching program. It’s a weekly conference call with his certified coaches and a monthly lecture by him. I won’t give away the entire program – that would be unethical. I can refer you to his interview with James Altucher if you’d like to know what I heard that made me want to try it. The truth is, I can’t really recommend it, because even the initial interview used high-pressure sales techniques to get people (myself included) to buy. To be completely honest, part of why I joined was out of admiration for the slick way he used the techniques of the “sales funnel” to get people to join (and make it difficult to cancel). The more I dig into the organization, the more it feels like a carnival barker trying to sell magic ointment. It may be simply that I’m not in the target demographic, it may just be (as they imply) that I’m “just not ready” to succeed, but I am canceling my involvement with them as of August (the final billing for the initial program).

At the same time, the last three months have been absolutely game-changing. I’ve written a book, improved my health, built a bike with my own two hands, severed business ties that were draining and created new ones that have given me amazing new opportunities. I’ve vacationed on the coast, I’ve improved my personal relationships, and in general I feel more in control of my life.

The question is: why? What is it about his system that has given me this new super power of making things happen? What is the ingredient in the snake oil that actually is making me feel better?

The answer – the one thing that I’m seeing myself do with the program that I didn’t do before – lies in planning. A good deal of the program is spent thinking about the big picture and then distilling it down into actionable items. Now, my spontaneous practice does that to – in fact, I’ve often described it as “Don’t look at where you’re going. Just do the Next Right Thing, and trust that where you end up will be a good place.” It’s worked pretty well – I’m in a very good place.

But with a little more planning – and I’m talking one hour a week, if even that – I’ve gotten more of what I wanted in the past three months than in the previous three years.

Now my goal is to learn to integrate that planning into my routine without needing the sales funnel pitch. Take away the parts I still need, leave the parts that don’t serve or resonate. How about you? Do you take time to plan and act? I know many people who have the opposite habit that I do: they plan and plan and dream and dream but never actually take action. That’s likely the subject for a different post.

Plans and dreams. Hopes and schemes. What are yours?

 

This Love.Life.Practice Weekend Roundup podcast also contains readings of the following posts:

This podcast was produced by Gray Miller Creative LLC.

Here’s what a recent reviewer had to say:

I’m a big fan of Gray’s weekend roundup, both for the quality of the content and the accessibility of presentation. His observations and insights are carefully considered, useful, and actionable. Listening ot the weekend roundup is my time to reflect on myself and my world.

This interview and podcast is made possible by support from my patrons. You can be as cool as them by becoming a Patron of Love Life Practice or making a one-time donation in any amount via cash.me/$graymiller.

Yes! I support LoveLifePractice!

If you like this podcast, would you please recommend it to your friends? Send them a link to iTunes or a link to the podcast feed – or tweet about it! Many thanks to my patron Milena for doing a review, because it really does help.

Send feedback, questions, or suggestions for guests I might interview to gray@lovelifepractice.com.

 

 

New Episode of the Love Life Practice Weekend Roundup Podcast!

Engage with What You Love

If you have headphones, or can play classical music in your environment, you should click on the link and watch this short (about two minutes) video:

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 10.35.24 AM

Even if you can’t watch it, you can tell from the screen shot that this is a conductor who is engaged in what she is doing. Even people who don’t like classical music tend to smile as they watch her conducting, because she is fully present with her entire body – and that’s just in rehearsal. Good conductors are like that; even if they don’t get quite as full-range-of-motion as Alondra de la Parra, it’s because they’ve taken all the energy in their body and put it into their pointer finger, or their wrist, or their elbows (seriously, it seems like every conductor needs to pick a body part that is the point of motion and the rest of their body just kind of flails along).

But not all conductors are good; some just sit up there with “dignity” steadily counting a beat and cuing their musicians. That can be effective, but it isn’t engaging, and frankly it’s pretty boring for everyone concerned. It also has a distinct advantage in the performing arts, at least: passion trumps talent.

Triumph of the Passionate Amateur

I present two cases to reinforce my point:

In high school I played in the rhythm section of a couple of the jazz bands – percussion (not drum set) and piano. Thing is, I was not a very good piano player – relying on basic lessons from when I was 8 years old, faking my way through chords and only having the vaguest idea of scales. Still, I really enjoyed the music – possibly because my first performance was at the end of a week of band camp, playing the piano part of the Blues Brother’s theme on a 12-foot grand piano. That can make an impression on a guy, and I loved when I got to sit in at the Rhodes electric piano for symphonic jazz band.

There was another piano player too, a young woman who had been playing piano since age five. She had many classical recitals under her belt, could sight-read without breaking a sweat, and had precisely correct posture and flawless timing. One day, after a concert where we both had played during different songs, she came up to me in the music room, furious. “I’m so angry at you!” she said. I’ve had over a decade of practicing for hours every day! I’ve had the best teachers and played in huge concert halls! You…you don’t even play half the chords! I can play circles around you!

I was confused, but I nodded. We both knew that was true; it had always been true. “So why are you mad?” I asked, still a little worried. She looked like she either wanted to cry or to slap me.

Instead she flailed her arms in the air with frustration. “Because after the concert last night,” she almost sobbed “my mother asked me ‘Why can’t you play more like that Miller boy? He looks like he’s having so much fun!’

Lesson being: if you perform all the notes but don’t play them (or maybe vice versa) the song and the music will suffer.

Case the second:

A good friend of mine who runs dance workshops in San Francisco was asked to be a performer at an event featuring pole dancers. (Side note: if you are one of those who believes that pole dancing is a sordid and decadent art form solely for exotic dancers, I will remind you that ballet began in the court of Louis XIII and was described as “part burlesque, part acrobatics, filled with outlandish obscenities.” Art is about intent, not content). She is not actually trained in pole work, and as she watched other trained teachers and professional competitors do amazing things on the pole, she started feeling a bit out of place.

Still, she’s a talented improv dancer and a professional, so she went out, grabbed the pole and gave her best shot at an engaged dance. Afterwards, one of the other dancers approached her. “The way you danced,” she said, “you looked like you felt the way I wanted to feel when I first started pole.” She gave my friend her card, and added “Can you teach me how to dance like that?”

Lesson being: what does it benefits a dancer if they learn all the right moves but lose their own dance?

The thing is, I don’t think that it’s limited to the arts. I think it’s part of just about anything that you do: if you do it with full engagement, you will do it better. People are drawn to passionate action, and it’s the place where you can find your own flow. If you haven’t got any idea what that’s like…then I really suggest you start looking, because you’re cheating yourself out of one of the best pleasures of life. It doesn’t have to be a 12-foot grand piano or a steel pole – it could be a game of Minecraft or a well-cooked meal or an authentic letter to a friend.

Find it. It’s worth it. And let me know what it is!

If you’re enjoying this blog
please consider becoming a Patron!

 

 

Older Posts »