Amy Bianco @happyinspirit: How do you get out of your own way and make things happen?
Answer: I was an idiot. At least in retrospect. For almost every event in my life I’ve gotten in my own way. I’d be offered a job and I would think, “no, I can’t take this job until I’ve published my first novel.” Or I would make a lot of money and I’d think,”no, this money is not enough until I have one hundred million in the bank,” or I’d be in a relationship and I’d think, “no this relationship is no good unless we are spending ever moment together”. Or sometimes I would pitch my services and then when they said “yes”, I would think, “but I don’t want this anymore!” and I’d have to figure out how to get out of it.
What an idiot. Always.
So I’ve taken all these experiences and put them in a test tube. I heated the test tube up and watch two noxious gasses come out of it that identified the two fundamental chemical reactions that occurred during every time I got in my own way.
A) The Past. I’d be worried about the past. I’d be worried that I was going to go broke, like I three times/four times/infinite times did before, unless A, B, and C happened. I’d get scared. I’d make decisions out of fear. Or anger or regret.
B) The Future. I’d be anxious about the future. I’d think, “unless I had one hundred million I won’t be as famous, rich, successful, as thisother person. Or..eventually I will go broke unless I do this. Or…I won’t be able to feed my family or I won’t be popular or or or…something. SOmething that will happen in the future that has no basis in reality now.
I’m thinking of a specific event that your question reminds me of. I had just started a new company in early 2000. I was eating in a restaurant in Chinatown and I got a call from one of my partners. I stepped outsideand it was raining. He said to me on the phone, “get ready. We’re going to make one hundred million dollars on this.” And I was smiling. My chest swelled up withego. I remember thinking, “now, finally, nothing can hurt me.” And almost everything that happened afterwardhurt me: relationships, friendships, businesses failling, until I had gotten so in my way I had none of the above, including no money, and lost my house, and lost everything.
Why didn’t I just say, “I have enough right now.” Enjoy the rain. Enjoy the dinner in my family. Cultivate my friendships. Maybe start writing the things that would give me pleasure.
But I didn’t. I got in my way by being burned somehow in my past and being terrified for no reason about the future.
The only way to avoid getting in your way in the future is to be aware of yourself right now in the present. Don’t forget every day to be grateful for the things you have. Be grateful you worked hard for what you have. Surrender to everything around you that you can’t control. Don’t overthink the future or overanalyze the past. People hurt you. There are potential things to be afraid of.
But not right now this second. Take at least half this second to enjoy what you have. Take the other half to feel the different parts of your body and think, “I am here”. Listen to the sounds you can hear right now. Listen to the silences in between those sounds. Make it a practice to do that as much as possible. Then your mind will be rewired slowly to never get in it’s own way. And the time machine will gather dust in the closet, never to be used again.