Every week I meet people who want to write a book. It seems like this is a fairly common dream for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. Yet, many of these same people never actually finish what they have started, which is a very common thing, whether we’re talking about writing a book or the businesses they were going to start; the things they said that they were going to get involved in… There’s all this passion at one point, and then, after a bit of time, that passion tends to fizzle out.
We can talk about procrastination, commitment, taking bite-sized, manageable steps towards a goal…We can talk and talk and talk about these things, but that’s not the big problem. At the heart of this problem is doubt. Almost everybody doing anything feels the same way. They think, “I’m starting a new business. I wonder if it’s going to work. What if nobody wants it? I’ve spent so much time and money. I really hope this works out.”
So what do you do?
Firstly, you feel the fear and do it anyway. You must act in spite of doubt and anxiety. You must get on out there and start to write, or develop your idea, or sign up for courses if you need information to grow and improve. You can say, “I’m not going to let this take me out. I’m going to do the best I can. I’m going to enjoy it the best I can.”
Secondly, and most importantly, you must detach from your intended outcome. Meet your goals and stay on track without being attached to what actually happens.
Here's an interesting story…actually it’s a yearly event that takes place in the desert near Reno called Burning Man, where about 65,000 to 70,000 people from all walks of life come together in their own kind of alternative community. The most interesting thing about it all, though, is that they do a lot of spectacular artwork. Huge pieces; things that are 30 or 40 feet high. People have worked on these pieces for a full year, some of which that probably be sold for $5 million in America.Yet, at the end of the event, they burn it! Why? Because it’s not about the result. It’s about the process of loving what you do. You enjoy the process of creating the art and then allow it to be enjoyed for the time it was meant to be enjoyed. They burn it to basically make certain that they’re not attached to any outcomes or any results from it in the future. It was only the process they were interested in. It was the beauty and creativity of painting, creating or doing.
If we were not attached to our outcomes, there would be no fear, period. You’re only fearful that you’re not going to have your desired outcome. What if there was no outcome to have? What would you be afraid of? Nothing.
You can have an intention to create a million dollars this year, but you don’t have to be attached to it. You can commit to it, but it doesn’t mean you have to be attached. Commitment and attachment are different. Attachment is an emotional element. Commitment is a process.
Create an intention and have a vision for your life, but don’t be attached to anything, because attachment creates suffering. Buddha said it, and everyone who has quoted Buddha talks about it: “The number one cause of my suffering is believing that I have to get what I want in order to be happy.”
Read that again…“The number one cause of my suffering is believing that I have to get what I want in order to be happy.”
Here’s the problem. If you have to get what you want in order to be happy, there’s going to be a lot of times you don’t get exactly what you want. So the outcome: You’ll always be suffering.
Many people don’t finish what they start simply because they’re too attached to the outcome. By all means do what you have to do to reach your goals, but enjoy the process more than worry about whether or not you’re going to reach them. Let go of that attachment.
You don’t have to be attached to your intentions, results or commitments. You don’t have to be attached to anything. Watch how much happier and successful you become.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.