Let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can

Buddha said you only lose what you cling to.

Often expressed as: if you want to possess a thing, you must first let it go.

Just had a really interesting couple of days mentoring 25 directors & managers I trained a year or so ago to check they are still doing what we covered together. They were awesome, all still executing 60-87.5% of the material.

So the big question is why are they sustaining behaviour change? And why this opening quote?

Answer: because they put their main focus on what drives the change they sought, not on the outcomes themselves. If you like, they let the outcomes go, they were not clinging to them any more.

In a world where we obsess on outcomes – sales, profits, promotion, cars, homes – it may seem bizarre to mentally detach ourselves from those things we want. Very Zen.

That’s not really the essence of it. The point is that passive wishing and longing delivers nothing good. Worse, basing our dreams on what others may decide leads to a sense of learned helplessness.

On the other hand, putting our emotional energy into disciplined focus on what we can control – our own conditioning and actions chiefly – brings a sense of mastery, of owning our outcomes, and leads us to act in ways that are much more likely to take us where we aspire to be.

So if you want to change remember to keep thinking about what conditioning will drive the change you seek, and what actions within your control will move you towards your goals. Don’t just try to force it – it wont work and not succeeding might make you feel helpless. Let it go – focus on the inputs and be confident. The outputs will take care of themselves.

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved - Graham Keen

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