Work Hard But Let Go
ABC News anchor Dan Harris has written a hilarious book called 10% Happier. In it he tells of his journey as a journalist covering the worlds of spirituality and self-help in conjunction with his own personal search to calm the insatiable voice in his head that at one point caused him to have a panic attack on national television. Along the way he went from being a skeptic to a believer in the benefits of meditation.
One of Dan’s biggest concerns was that embracing meditation and other Buddhist principles like compassion would cause him to lose his edge in the aggressively competitive world of TV journalism. Could he be Zen and still be ambitious?
The answer is yes, by practicing another Buddhist principle, that of non-attachment. Striving to achieve something is fine, as long as you aren’t attached to the result. You should set goals and work hard to achieve them, while keeping in mind that you have limited control over the final outcome. Be wisely ambitious by doing everything you can to succeed with the knowledge that you might not get what you were striving for. Non-attachment to the outcome will help you to be resilient if you fail. If things don’t work out, set another goal and start again.
Definitely easier said than done! I’ve been writing a book off and on for several years. I gave up numerous times along the way because it was so much work with no assurance that it would ever get published. I finally decided that I had something to say, so I went ahead and wrote the book. I gave up my attachment to getting it published and put all of my energy into writing the best book I could. The good news is that my book is going to be published next year!
If you work hard you will achieve positive results. It might not be exactly what you were aiming for, but at times it will be even better than what you had imagined. Other times it won’t. What matters most is that you won’t waste so much precious time fretting about it.
So set high goals, work hard, and hope for the best. But don’t suffer by spending your days and nights worrying that you won’t get the outcome you want. All you can do is all you can do.