Enjoying What I Have
One thing has become very clear for me over as I go through life: I can’t get what I want if I don’t enjoy what I have.
Have you ever noticed how much American business culture obsesses over goals and always evolving to “stay ahead of the competition?” I admit that I really got into that mindset for a while, but as I evolve personally, I find that type of obsessive thinking doesn’t really align with who I am. I’m more of a “enjoy the moment” type of guy, so always thinking of ways to stay ahead feels… off.
I have consequently changed the way I approach my business. How I reach my “tribe” is different, as is the tribe itself. I still set goals and intentions, but the steps I take to reach them are based on what feels best and what’s going on right now.
Why? One thing has become very clear for me over as I go through life: I can’t get what I want if I don’t enjoy what I have.
That point has been reiterated to me multiple times as I take baby steps toward my ultimate goals. I have become very conscious that enjoying my journey is what allows me to achieve what I want. My joyous experiences can be strengthened by achieving a goal or by the anticipation of getting what I want, but enjoying my journey and what I have is what keeps me grounded.
I admit that I periodically need to be reminded—sometimes the hard way—that if I’m always focused on my next step or on some nebulous arrival point in my future, I’m no longer paying attention to what I have right now or what I’m doing. That reminder is especially important for me. I already have a natural tendency to ignore what I have in front of me to chase after the next best idea that captures my imagination, but that tendency can be taken to an extreme if I’m not consciously aware of what I’m doing.
To use a driving metaphor, every time I take my eyes off the road and my hands of the steering wheel, I get into an accident.
Most of the time my “accidents” are minor fender-benders, but sometimes my accidents are ugly affairs that leave me and the people around me deeply scarred. I simply cannot afford to stop paying attention to my thoughts or my emotions, because the consequences have far-reaching effects.
Based on what I’ve observed of human nature, I know I’m not alone. In fact, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that every human being on this planet gets into trouble the moment they stop paying attention. Autopilot may be good for pilots on long-haul flights, but it’s never good for our daily lives.
The big question for me became, “How do I stay aware and enjoy what I have right now?”
The answers are as varied as we are. Sure, there are plenty of tried and true mindfulness practices, but while many work for me, sometimes they don’t. I therefore had to find a backup practice to keep me grounded and aware of every moment.
It took me a while to find a practice that works, but one thing I started doing is introduce small variations to my daily routines. One example of a conscious disruption I use is how I shampoo my hair when I take a shower. Sometimes I’ll use a tiny bit of shampoo, whereas other times I’ll use more than normal. I also randomly vary which hand I use to grab the shampoo bottle.
As strange as it sounds, that conscious disruption to how I shampoo my hair allows me to enjoy the experience—and that’s just one of many little conscious disruptions I use throughout my day. My routines are still critical to getting things done, but varying how I do my routines is what adds awareness and enjoyment to what I’m doing.
The cumulative effect of those little, conscious variations or disruptions is that I’m far less likely to slip into autopilot. And I’ve found that conscious disruptions become ever more important as I age. Keeping my mind agile and alert helps me to engage myself and the people around me.
The point I’m making is that it’s important to find a practice that keeps us from falling into the trap of unconscious living—and that’s especially true if we find ourselves buying into the illusion that happiness is a goal to be reached. Happiness, or joyous living is neither a goal nor a destination. Joyous living is something that is a natural part of our daily lives. When we allow ourselves to simply BE and live our lives as best as we can, we experience joy in countless ways.
“Let it go and let it flow.” I’ve said that phrase many times, usually when talking about emotional awareness, but letting go also applies to achieving our goals. When we go of the “need” to chase after what we want, we let life flow, and we enjoy what we have right now, the things we want come to us.
I can’t think of an easier way to achieve any goal, so let that insight guide you as you plan your life. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
About the Author
Appio Hunter is an author, speaker, spiritual guide, and a guy dedicated to raising our collective EQ. He uses his seminars and workshops to facilitate conversations about authenticity, alignment, awareness, and the experience of community, connection, and joy. Appio is also a weekly columnist with The Good Men Project and co-host of the Real Men Feel Show along with his good friend Andy Grant.