I used to be very results driven. I like to push myself, even be hard on myself, in order to achieve. But I found that I was always left in a state of wanting. The results were never enough. When I was skateboarding as a young’n, I would always set my sights on a goal, a certain trick that I wanted to master. I would practice incessantly until I was able to pull it off. Then, once I could do the trick, I would practice incessantly until the trick was near perfect. Then I would set my sights on a new, even better trick. Admittedly, the first of these goal was standing on the skateboard without out smashing my face into the tar.
Now, I am not saying I have a problem with this method, it does work. It even is the method behind some of the most successful people of our time. That exact method just doesn’t serve me anymore. It is not so much of a change in action, I still push myself to be the best I can in everything I do, but more a change in focus. A change in perspective. I realised that focusing on the results was a great motivator for action, but it was a feeling that lacked a sense of sustainable accomplishment. When ever I reached a goal, I did feel a sense of achievement, but it never lasted long as was always pushed aside for the next result I could achieve.
It annoyed me. I wanted to be able to revel in my accomplishments and be proud for a sustained period of time rather than always be lost in “the next big or best thing”. I wanted to enjoy myself too. I didn’t want to feel like life was an uphill battle every corner of the way. I didn’t want to spend my life shouting at myself, spurring myself on to do better in a “do or die” fashion. I didn’t want to judge myself and write off hard work simply because I hadn’t gotten what I set my standards to. It was there that, in the spirit of balance, I decided to compromise. To try and get the best of both out of life. Rather than be stuck with two options: achieve the results, push yourself and not enjoy life or relax, chill, never worry and let nothing come of your life.
I decided that the only solution for me was to shift focus. I decided to turn any external result I aimed for into simply doing my best. So I let go of the results of any given task altogether and focused on, firstly enjoying what ever I was doing, and secondly to enjoy doing it to the best of my ability. It was a simple choice that changed a lot. Suddenly achievement wasn’t somewhere distant in the future, or behind some great wall that I had to climb. Achievement came with the experience. Every single time I did something, from cleaning the house to going for a jog to eating my favourite burger, I relished the fact that I was doing it to the best of my ability.
Ironically, results came anyways. I found that I grew on all levels at a rapid rate. I was happier and less stressed. I could smile and laugh all the time, and it didn’t matter if I won or lost. What mattered is that I did my best and enjoyed myself. It strikes me as funny that that statement is what most mothers tells their children. “All that matters is that you enjoyed yourself and had fun.” Yet they forget about that when the report card comes! I enjoyed myself at school but maybe didn’t do my best. Results are a point that come and go. A milestone on the path of life. If you put that focus internally, your milestone travels with you. You get more out of each experience and life is well, that much happier. You cannot be labeled a ‘workaholic’ if it is no longer work.