Friday, 29 December 2017

Life is simpler than we think

Life is simpler than we think. We are the ones who make it complicated.

More often than not, when someone tells me how something is hard, what they're really telling me is how they are making it harder than it needs to be. Unintentionally, of course. I don't mean to imply that people deliberately make things hard for themselves. We just fail to see, sometimes, that we're the ones bringing the complexity.

Often, all we need to do is let go rather than push harder against ourselves.

The gazillions of self-help articles in magazines and on-line don't help. I can show you many elaborate and contradictory plans from magazines and blogs for overcoming procrastination. Yet, I've never seen anything that works better than simply taking the smallest possible step and seeing if the second step follows.

I once coached someone struggling really hard to do their tax return. I simply asked them what the smallest possible first step would be.

"To fill in the first page," they said.

"No, smaller than that," said I.

"Fill in the first box," they said.

"No, smaller than that," said I.

"Log in," they said.

"No, smaller than that," said I.

"Click on the link to log in," they said.

"Okay, after this call, just do that. You don't have to do anything more. But, if, having clicked the login link, you feel like you can go one step further, then also type in your login name. And then, if you feel like you can go one step further, type in your password. And then, if you feel like you can go one step further, fill in the first box. Just know you can stop whenever you like."

The tax return was done within the hour.

The reason is the task wasn't that big or that hard, it'd had just been turned into something much bigger and harder.

Very often we fight to make ourselves do what we think we should. Only because we don't listen to the simple truth that actually we neither want to, nor do we actually need to.

That's not to say we don't necessarily need a little help to get ourselves to the gym, but changing direction from the path to the sofa to the path to the gym doesn't have to need an intervention of biblical proportions.

See the truth.

Seek the simple path.

If it feels like you're having to wage war against the hardness, you're probably going in the wrong direction. And when you realise you are the one putting up both the army for doing something and the army for resisting it, letting go makes even more sense.

I recognise we can't always see what the truth is or what the simple path is and that's why conversation can be powerful.

The truth and simplicity is there to be seen, nevertheless.

Wishing you health and happiness,


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