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A creative blog by Philip Horvath on The Whole 9

Philip serves as a catalyst working with individuals and organizations on turning change into transformation, and ultimately creating meaningful experiences and relationships. He combines his years of experience architecting and running projects for Fortune 500 companies with over twenty years of studies in yoga, alchemy, various esoteric systems and transformational psychology.

Worry be gone – Do what you never thought possible

fuck worry

We are taught to worry. As children, we are rarely encouraged by our parents to go party hard, have all the fun we can have, be reckless, be wild, dare, dream up something huge and do it, come up with something even crazier and totally impossible – and do it anyway.

Instead, we are warned: be careful!, make sure you don’t hurt yourself!, did you put your gloves on?, what about the protective gear?, will there be adults there?, don’t talk to strangers, play it safe…

And they do it out of love – or something like that. Because you are precious to them, part of their own self-definition, they worry about you. They want to make sure you are okay. They want to feel safe, they want to make sure that nothing bad is going to happen to you. And in the process, they project all of their fears onto you – not just for the moment, but for years to come.

Two kinds of people

Depending on what your particular mix of encouragement and worry was as a child, you fall into one of two categories of people:

  • The ones who think this world is fundamentally a safe place, and that you can do anything you want if you apply yourself and are willing to deal with consequences, or
  • The ones who think this world is fundamentally scary, and that you need permission and assurance that things will be okay for you to do anything

The good news

You aren’t anything. You seem to be a verb, as Buckminster Fuller put it. That means you are constantly changing anyway, and you can decide to move to either side of the fence. Look at where you are now and how you have been approaching life. Has this served you? Then great. Focus your energies elsewhere.

But, if you are not happy with where you are at, you can change it. You can make a decision to approach life differently. Like anything, it might require practice. But initially, it’s easy. It’s a decision. It’s a choice. Flip that switch. Then apply it again and again, until it becomes second nature.

What we put our attention to

Your attention is the most precious thing you have. In any moment, you can pay attention to something you care about, or something someone else cares about. Marketing, advertising and PR (especially political PR) are all about getting you to pay attention to something they care about. And mostly they want you to be in fear, worry, shame, guilt and similar states. Because then you are easily manipulated into doing what they want you to do: buy their product, believe their ideas, give up your rights, or at least give them your vote so they can decide what is good for you…

But that is a different story. The point is, pay attention. Every single moment of your experience is here to serve you. If it isn’t, pay attention to something else.

If you are not experiencing the life you wish to experience, stop. Take a breath. Take a time out and spend time on imagining what you would like to experience.

There is no magic here…

This is not about sitting on the couch and fantasizing. This is not about some magical “law of attraction” where all you need to do is imagine yourself with a million dollars and sit with your eyes closed and legs crossed until it arrives. This is about a simple principle:

You experience what you pay attention to.

If you spend your mental space worrying about all the things that could happen if you did what you feel like doing, you are not going to do anything about it but continue to think about it (not to say that good planning doesn’t include worst case scenarios). If you pay attention to what you are being invited to be and do, and dare to take steps toward that, you will in the very least know that you are using your mental space for something you care about, something you value, something that is meaningful to you.

What are the results?

If everything in your life was perfect, you had all the support you could possibly ask for, all the resources required, what results would you create? Think about what you value. How can you create progress in that area? What would move your values forward? What would it look like, feel like if it was accomplished? What would your life look like? Or the lives of the people who you create results for?

Break it down

At first, this might seem overwhelming. Many of us have been led astray. In a recent study over 70% of college students said they chose their college major based on income expectations. In another study 70% of people said they were unhappy with their career. There seems to be some correlation. We have been good children and listened to our parents (and society as a whole) – at least on some level. We have bought into some of the stereotypes (starving artist anyone?), but you can always define anew what it means to be you.

Start with the big picture. Then break it down. There are steps to anything. Milestones. Major accomplishments on the path. You can take a vision of where you want to be three years from now, and step by step go back. If I want to be there then, where do I have to be two years from now? One year from now? Six months from now? Three months? One month? One week? Tomorrow? All the way to: what can you do today? Right now?

Act

Then do it. If you don’t, who will? Life is up to you. Nobody will live your life for you. There are many parasites out there ready to live their lives through you, but what kind of life is that? Act. Do something. Do one little thing. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. One step at a time. Do one thing right after you have finished reading this blog and distracting yourself from what you really want to do, but don’t dare to.

Repeat

And do it again. Do it again tomorrow. Get up, and after you have done your morning ritual, do one more thing toward your vision. Only one thing. It can be tiny. And then do it again the day after tomorrow. One thing a day. You want to learn a language? Learn one word a day. Before you know it, it will be a year from now and you know 365 words. It is in repetition that we learn and grow. And it is in repetition of activity that we accomplish all those things we never thought possible and that our parents would have considered crazy or worried about…

Have fun!

  1. Well I did a lot of wild and crazy things when I was younger without worrying much about the consequences. Most, even the riskiest, I’d do again in a heartbeat and those events, adventures and decisions have become the cornerstone of who I am, my history, my ‘vision’, what wisdom I may possess and probably what makes me interesting to those who can put up with me. On the other hand, there are things I’ve done that I genuinely regret now, and as exciting as they may have been at the time, have caused great damage (mostly to myself, luckily): Knowing the results, I strongly wish I could go back and change those actions, but that’s not the way the world works. One DOES live with the consequences of one’s actions, so my advice to those who might be in similar situations is, go ahead and live life fully, even dangerously, but don’t act thoughtlessly. Heed your inner voice, and although fear is often the motivator to be overcome, I wouldn’t advise being completely reckless. (more to come after I think about the broader thrust of your statements here).

  2. Amazingly well thought out Philip and incredibly well organized and easy to follow. I urge everyone to read this blog and pass it on — especially to people who seem to be stuck. The “attention” principle could be an epiphany for many people.

  3. Thank you for the good points… Definitely agree that while I used reckless in the opening, it is not necessarily the recommended path. Any action in this universe has consequences, some even for decades to come. It is most definitely wise to act with consciousness.

    That said, it seems most people are stuck in the lack of permission world. Hence the article as a reminder (and I am always also speaking to myself when I write, so I guess, I needed the reminder – we know, but we forget so easily).

    In one of my favorite books, Aldous Huxley’s book “Island”, the local civilization trained Myna birds to constantly call out “Attention! Attention! Attention!” – it’s our most precious resource of all…

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