I’m writing this post on Sunday evening, between finishing my daily work (It’s about 21:30) and spending time with my loved one. It’s been a busy but prolific day, both in actions and in thoughts, so it felt like it’s a perfect day to end with a new blogpost.
As i’m writing, i’m drinking earl grey tea and listening to the new ‘Bat for lashes” album. What are you listening to at the moment?
I’ve been thinking about this beautiful sentence ‘The art of letting go’ . I’m not sure if i’ve heard it somewhere or just got mixed up with Elizabeth Bishop ‘s poem ‘One art’ dubbed by some as -The art of losing’. In any way, ‘The art of letting go’ is a beautiful sentence and a thought provocateur none the less.
Letting go of accomplishments
These days i’m rebuilding my business from almost scratch. I’m rebranding it visually, I’m rebuilding products and even targeting audiences. After a long time working with a certain segment of clients and doing very specific work, i’ve decided it’s time for a change. The hardest part of sub-coming to such change is thinking about all the effort and time you’ve spent building what you’re about to leave behind.
The meaning of ‘Leaving things behind’ is dual. On the one hand it has bad referral. It s its associated with loss, or sacrificing all you have in order to do something or go somewhere. On the other hand, ‘Leaving things behind’ is what makes you truly free. What is meaningful and important could never stay behind.
In Zen, there is only now. Things have to go through you, but you should never collect. You should experience, you should feel and you should learn, but you mustn’t collect. So you basically can’t leave anything behind because you never had it. You live it and then it is over. You don’t leave anything behind but you lived it in the present when it was here. When you don’t collect you’re always free.
Think about myths and legends. It can be the Roman, Greek myths or even Disney stories. The hero, probably as a child, has to leave his family and everything he knows behind and set out to a journey so he could grow up and evolve into a hero. Leaving things behind is what sets him free to discover his real current ever-changing growth potential. Carl Jung based an entire psychological thesis on this perception called The Hero’s Journey.(This link is a really short overview of his theory).
Letting go of opinions
Steve Jobs was a difficult man. Brilliant. But very difficult. One of the characteristics he was known for was his ability to change his mind in 180 degrees in a matter of seconds. When Tim Cook was asked about working with Steve he gave a beautiful reference to it. If you allow yourself to re-examine an idea based on the purity of the idea and let go of your ego (admitting you were wrong the first time) then you can achieve greatness. If you let go of your ego and only think of what is at stake you can make great decisions . You have to be able to let go of your old opinions, your old ideas and let yourself be in the moment. Letting go doesn’t mean losing. It’s means progress.
Letting go isn’t about quitting, failing or giving up. Letting go is about letting things happen, letting things pass or evolve. It’s about giving space to new thoughts, feeling, ideas and opportunities to get in. There is no being wrong. There is learning and moving on. There is no failure, there is only a harder road to take.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m restarting, or as I call it on my temp website “re-imaginning” everything. This means goals, products, values – everything. I’m challenging myself into letting go of old habits, old beliefs that just doesn’t really work for me. Some other things and thoughts , I try to evolve and then dispose of the older versions. They were great practices but as memories they are stones threatening to drown new ideas and dreams.
So what to let go and what to keep? I guess each person has his / her way of selecting. This is my way and the only tip I can truly pass forward. Strip things down to a a bare minimum. Try imagining what it is that you truly can not live without (My favorite work setting is sitting on the floor with my mac and a cup of tea or red wine). What do you need to really be happy? what do you really need to build your business?
Is it a new computer (I really want to buy a new one, but it’s something I want not something I need). Do you need to change your environment? a better desk? different friends? It can even be a different diet. Bare to the minimum and be honest with yourself. You know deep down what are the things you need and what are the things you are just used to or just don’t have to guts to leave behind. Stay with what you really need and then build up.
Well for me? What I really need is my love , my computer and water. Food is optional but popular.
What do you really need?