We got a head start on this weekend’s “no-fail” mindfulness challenge earlier this week, with Wednesday’s post on gratitude. It is November, after all, so you knew it was coming. We took a slightly different angle on the subject, though, and gave some thought to whether it’s possible to be both ambitious about the future and grateful for what you already have. It seems possible, but when you think about it, you’re probably actually imagining being one, and then the other. So, you’re planning for the future, and then, you take a moment to be grateful for what you have.
That’s a really nice toggle move to have the inclination to do. There’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, there’s a whole lot right with it.
The magic, however, is in learning how to do both at the same time.
When you think about your future goals, where do those thoughts originate? Quite often, it’s from a place of lacking. You think about what you don’t have enough of, or just wish you had more of, and you set out to make that happen. It feels empowered, right? And sure, there’s definitely power in it. But that subtle sense of deficit isn’t nothing. It’s actually very present in your plans, and even if you feel like it’s motivating you, it’s actually dragging you down.
Your goals aren’t meant to fill a void. They’re designed to enhancing what is already there, to help seeds grow, and ideas flourish. They’re not about compensating, they’re about building. The difference is nuanced, but it is real.
This weekend, your mindfulness challenge is to flip the script. Think about a goal you currently have – the more specific, the better. For example, “I’m saving for a down payment on a new car.” If you sit and focus on the structure of that goal, and check in with how your mind and also your body respond to thinking about it, you’ll likely realize your attention is on how you don’t currently have enough money for the down payment. It’s also true that you have money to save, that you are saving, and that having a new car will be a good thing.
The situation is the same, but your mindset has shifted from one scarcity to one of abundance. Achieving the goal becomes less about making up for lack, and more about connecting with the good that is already true about the situation.
It’s not most of our natural inclination to think this way, and we get by anyway. But we do so with our heads in the future, instead of the present, and we miss a lot of good stuff as a result. Shifting how you think about the pursuit of any goal or dream in this small way will change not only your experience with today, but also how it feels to achieve it when you do.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
Photo credit: Kristian Frøitland