Be invested in the process, not in the outcome.
It’s advice you can readily find on the internet. It’s also advice that’s been given to me by almost all my girlfriends and even by women I’ve only just met. I’ve told to let go by well-meaning friends. Bosses have told me to take it easy. Therapists have calmly tried to make me see I basically try to hard.
I’ve been politely asked not to obsess.
Have I ever told you I tend to obsess?
I’m obsessing right now. I’m obsessing about how this blog post will turn out and if I shouldn’t be writing about something else, like the war in Yemen. Or how the Manchester bombing is a direct result of the sick foreign policy of the west. Or how Assad is finally winning against the ‘rebels’ in Syria and that this is probably why a terrorist attack happened in the UK, so the west can escalate the conflict and try to prevent Assad from achieving final victory.
Instead I obsess.
I keep lists of the books I read, I keep track of many books I read per week on average, I have lists with how many times I’ve gone running, for how many miles and what time I made. I make lists with favorite quotes, I read ‘how to manuals’ over and over again,
I’ve been obsessed with food supplements, my diet, my running schedule, strategy games, wars, politics, the economic system, money, saving money, decluttering, getting exactly 150 interesting people into my life, avocados, coffee, green tea, the US, certain novels, certain movies, convincing people of the propaganda we are fed daily to keep the rich getting richer, Latin, other languages besides Latin, like Slovene, Adolf Hitler, Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, The Beatles, The Rolling Stone Brian Jones, buddhism, psychology, my best friends, fitness, my father, writing…
Some of these obsessions are still currently active.
A friend tells me: ‘But don’t you notice things sort of fall into your lap when you take a step back and stop caring about it so much?’
Obsessing about something is like a cat getting its nail caught in the curtain. It obsesses and tries to yank itself free, but that doesn’t work. Only a calm, counterintuitive move can save it.
So I try to obsess less and to basically not give a fuck.
Not giving a fuck does not mean getting drunk off my ass and not trying anything anymore.
Not giving a fuck means pursuing what you care about without obsessing about the outcome.
I had some fun writing this. I know this to be true, because when I blog time flies. Tempus fugit.
I suppose blogging should be its own reward.
So what do you do for the sake of the joyful process regardless of the outcome?
Perhaps you should do more of it?
Recently a gifted musician contacted me in a big slump. She had attended a concert by other musicians and suddenly her belief in her own talent crashed into a thousand pieces on the floor. A pity, because in the time it took her to write me about every aspect of her self-hatred and self-humiliation, she could have been working on her craft.
Since I’ve started obsessing a tiny bit less, the statistics of this blog have been booming like never before. My obsessive mind does not appreciate this of course, because my obsessive mind is never satisfied, it just wants to obsess.
If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be this:
Fall in love with the process, let go of the outcome.
- The girl calls you when you’ve given up on her
- You lose weight when you stop dieting and obsessing about food
- You go running more when you don’t have to
- You start reading books after highschool even though all through highschool you wouldn’t have read anything if they had put a gun to your head
- You start speaking a language fluently when you don’t care about making mistakes
- You’re sexual partner relaxes more and enjoys sex with you more when you stop obsessing about pleasuring him/her
- You nail the job interview when you basically don’t give a fuck
- You write better, because the writing flows more and the reader doesn’t feel forced to like it (the same goes with any art form)
- You bump into your next best friend in an unlikely place, because you were too busy just being you and weren’t obsessingly scouting for a potential friend
And so on and on.
Why the hell is the featured image a picture of the Walter White character of Breaking Bad? Because his real life started when he let go.
And I just felt like using that picture. It doesn’t matter anyway.