So my friend who wants to try out living his life as a practice tells me that he’s willing to give this a go as long as my requests don’t add any more “to-do’s” to his list.
He wants to get the benefit of living his life as a practice as long as it doesn’t mean him doing any extra work.
This is a brilliant response in that it’s so typical. It probably is the most common reason for people who are not producing results in their lives. We want the perfect body without going to the gym, or the promotion without the accomplishments to earn it.
No matter how I think of living your life as a practice there is no way of getting around that it involves you doing the work. So if I want to make a difference in people’s lives does this mean that I have to trick people into doing the work? Do I have to provide the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down?
I guess this would be the holy grail of personal growth and development and of really transforming the planet. The technique or pill that makes the “work” seem easy and fun will be the answer for the masses. I just don’t know what that pill is yet as this would still be a pill that you would have to take eveerrry day! You can never stop exercising if you want to be fit, you can never stop playing golf if you want to maintain or improve your score.
So my answer to my friend was this: “If you’re unwilling to take on requests because of too much to do, then this will not work. And you will continue to live reactively vs. being at cause in your entire life. While you’re at cause in your career your other domains may be stalled. Living your life as a practice means taking care of all the domains that you say are important.”
“The value will come from taking this on as a strategy for getting what you want in life, not as something else/on-top-of everything-else to do.”
Good eh? (By the way what I mean by domains are areas of life e.g. family, health, spirituality etc. My friend is massively in action in the domain of career, but not in other domains.)
Now it’s not my intention to trivialize what my friend is going through. There are limits to what any one person can do at any one time. And while there are lots of people running about talking about “having it all”, don’t believe them. Especially when you’re at the early stages of defining who you are, what you want, and the skills and practices to get there.
You will have to give up some things. For a time at least. Whether it’s dessert, the TV show, the night out drinking, or the new handbag, there is a time to indulge and a time to choose something else. My friend is resisting the choices that are there for him to make. Making those choices consciously to align with your chosen purpose in life is what living your life as a practice is all about.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)