The Secret To Achieving Effortlessly

What do we feel, when we are at our best? What have we achieved, being at our best?

The topic of how can we tap into the level, of effortless achievement, has always fascinated me. This is the level of simplicity, authenticity, wisdom, joy, flow and creativity.

Yesterday I made a present to a dear friend of mine: a poster with a quote of Theodor Roosevelt’s:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to that man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

This quote is truly inspirational for me. There is so much depth and wisdom there. All that we need to know about how to be at our best is there… Summed up in two beautiful sentences.

I believe, the first essential step is to break through our own critics and the critics of others.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.”

How often are we afraid of sharing our gifts with the world, thus making it a better place for all of us? The keyword is scarcity. This is the “never … enough” statements we repeatedly tell to ourselves, to the point we believe in them. Consequently, this creates fog, it blocks our “Freedom Of Giving” to ourselves and others, and showing up authentically. We get scarcity, because we live it.

According to Brene Brown, based on her in depth research, the roots of scarcity thinking are:

  • Shame
  • Comparison
  • Disengagement

It is my experience that comparison and disengagement are the states of mind, which shackle our Freedom of Giving. Why? Unhealthy comparison breeds insecurity, greed and inauthenticity. It is a stumbling stone to living wholeheartedly. Disengagement comes from the fear of taking risks and trying new things – getting out of the comfort zone.

Taking the second part of Theodor Roosevelt’s quote:

“The credit belongs to that man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly… who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

The narrow door, through which we enter the “arena” – name it our own life arena and professional stage - is named vulnerability. What is “vulnerability”? Being exposed, being “naked” at the face of uncertainty and risk. Yes, I compared vulnerability with a “narrow door”, because it feels emotionally uncomfortable to be exposed… Only by being exposed we can be seen – the authentic we.

Discomfort equals vulnerability. And vulnerability equals authenticity. Authenticity equals effortless achievement, joy and happiness. This is my simple understanding.

How can we dissolve our own critics and the critics of the others? Recently I read about the Inquiry, introduced by Byron Katie in her amazing book “Loving what is.” This is a simple approach of questioning ourselves, which is unfolding beautifully “the naked truth”.

The Inquiry consists of four questions, applied to a specific thought we entertain:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know it’s true?
  3. How do you react, when that thought engages your mind?
  4. Who would you be without that thought? How about turning that thought around?

You could use the Inquiry to your “…. not good enough statement” and turn it around.

The opposite to scarcity is wholeheartedness. And living wholeheartedly is living in an alignment with who you truly are, and no matter what happens, show-up/be on the arena “while daring greatly”.

Referring back to one of the most inspirational authors for me, Brene Browne, I want to share with you her ten “guide points” for cultivating a wholehearted living.

  1. Cultivating authenticity: letting go of what people think
  2. Cultivating self-compassion: letting go of perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a resilient spirit: letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Cultivating gratitude and joy: letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark
  5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith: letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Cultivating creativity: letting go of comparison
  7. Cultivating play and rest: letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Cultivating calm and stillness: letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Cultivating meaningful work: letting go of self-doubt and sense of uncertainty
  10. Cultivating laughter, song and dance: letting go of being cool and “always in control”

I truly believe that only by living wholeheartedly we can be at our best!