Aspire without Attachment

^z 21st November 2023 at 7:48am

Rick Hanson in his book Just One Thing expresses beautifully the perfect attitude toward the future: "Aspire without Attachment". Ambitions and hopes are all very well. But clinging to them, expecting and wanting and craving them? Rather less useful. As Hanson says, "Paradoxically, holding your goals lightly increases the chance of attaining them, while being attached — and thus fearing failure — gets in the way of peak performance."

Hanson suggests some ways to "... stay with liking without slipping into wanting":

  • Help little alarm bells to go off in your mind — Alert! Caution! — when you get that familiar feeling of wanting/craving, especially when it's subtle and floating around in the back of your mind.
  • Relax any sense of "gotta have it." Feel into the ways your life is and will be basically all right even if you don't attain a particular goal. Seek results from a place of fullness, not scarcity or lack.
  • Try to remain relatively peaceful — even in the midst of passionate activity — since intensity, tension, fear, and anger all fuel strong wanting.
  • Release any fixation on a certain outcome. Recognize that all you can do is tend to the causes, but you can't force the results.
  • Keep the sense of "me" to a minimum. Success or failure will come from dozens of factors, only a few of which are under your control. Win or lose, don't take it personally.

Good goals for one's goals!

(cf. Pleasant Surprises (2002-08-08), Lose Track (2002-11-11), Buddhism - A Way of Life and Thought (2008-09-30), Not Always So (2009-07-04), Processes not Goals (2014-02-20), 0-1 (2014-08-29), Aspiration, not Expectation (2014-12-12), Mantra - No Goals (2015-07-26), ...) - ^z - 2015-12-28