I recently decided to step up my game in the kitchen. My kids say I look pretty good in an apron, and I can make a Palermo Rib-eye that’s at least half as good as the one made by the little Italian lady who pops out of the kitchen cupboard, in the commercials.
My newfound prowess has turned me into a culinary alchemist. You see, a recipe is something of a scientific equation by which you follow certain steps and arrive at a predictable outcome. There are so many different recipe’s out there. You could donne your apron and get to baking a business cake. You could follow a recipe for getting healthy. Even longevity is a cake you can bake if you follow the recipe. The internet is awash with cooks who have laboured years to perfect their recipes, and availed these to us.
My point is that the achievement of a tangible goal boils down to a certain recipe, which, when followed properly, will result in a specific outcome. Some people have perfected the making of many recipes and are called high achievers.
Yardsticks for success exist in the form of digits on your bank statement, centimetres on the tape-measure etc. but – but things become more difficult to quantify when we separate the science of achievement from the art of living. What makes good art when it comes to living?
Our social media timelines are filled with bald-headed guys in the lotus positions, chanting about inner peace. How can you achieve inner peace, when we’re so busy achieving…? A by-product of a high achievement lifestyle is stress…. the constant chattering of a circus of monkeys in our heads. One monkey is swinging from the chandelier while another is taking a pee on the carpet, while another is… You get the drift.
How do we get them monkeys to calm the f$^\*k down? Here’s a hack that may pave the way to an artfully created life…
Recognise that at the very end of the day, you can only find yourself in 1 of 2 states. The stressed state is one in which we experience pain. The undirected brain will focus on loss and scarcity. It’s how nature teaches us to survive. Can we change this?
The abstract, or subjective emotions of gratitude, love, optimism simply do not co-exist in the monkey cage.
The next time, it feels like your inner sanctum will be turned into a circus, try this simple exercise. It takes 90 seconds and it can be life changing.
Think of something, you’re grateful for, hold that thought and take 3 long and deliberate breaths.
Think of a co-incidence, something where the universe literally conspired to come to your assistance. – 3 breaths
Lastly, focus on your beating heart, and be grateful for that ticker of yours, that beats for you, day in and day out…be grateful.
This simple practice can turn a pain state into a beautiful state.
It seems overly simplistic, but if you recognise that stress evaporates when you turn your attention to gratitude, you can, with practice, take yourself out of the pain state, and into a state where calm and beauty reside… Recognise that you have control over your own inner dialogue and when you can flip the switch from pain to beauty, you’ve scored a significant brush-stroke for the art of living. The quality of the conversations you have with yourself will improve dramatically. The monkeys will back off.
To master the science of achievement is one thing, but to master your own vision for the art of living is a whole other ball-game. These opposing ingredients are both essential for creating the life you want. Being a high achiever is something that we can quantify and celebrate as we hit our milestones. – but what is it worth, if like Robyn Williams, we are unable to train our minds to be in a beautiful state. You can earn all the money in the world, get all the awards, but if you don’t work equally hard to have good conversations with yourself, you may end up forgetting why you wanted it all in the first place.