What’s the secret to creating really great content?
How about the secret to finding true, deep, everlasting love?
What about the secret to feeling positive about yourself?
I notice that the grand secret is the same thing every time: develop the capacity to be with the opposite of what you want.
If you want deep everlasting love, the secret to creating that is a willingness to be with heartbreak.
If you want to create great content, the secret is a willingness to create content that stinks.
If you want to feel positive about yourself, the secret is a willingness to be with your own negative thoughts.
This is a counter-intuitive truth, and we blunder past it in a few ways.
The most obvious way we get things wrong is by doing everything in our power to avoid what we are afraid of.
If I crave love, but am terrified of heartbreak, then I orchestrate my life to avoid that heartbreak.
I date only people that I marginally care about, so that if things go wrong, I won’t be that devastated. I avoid asking out people that I really want to be with, because that way I won’t have to be with the heartbreak their rejection might cause me.
I learn to be okay being by myself, because that way, I don’t have to suffer with the hurt that comes when someone says “It’s not you, it’s me”. (liar)
By avoiding what we are afraid of, we never get into the arena and never really play the game. What we crave becomes perpetually elusive. We chase after some ersatz version of the thing we really want, hoping it will give us what we desire.
The second, more sophisticated way we get this secret wrong is by working ourselves out to “not care” about the thing we’re afraid of.
If you want people to like you and enjoy your company, you settle on the strategy of simply not caring what other people think about you.
That’s different from the secret I’m describing here.
Not caring about what other people think about you effectively means you no longer have to be with what you are afraid of.
Instead of physically avoiding that thing (people rejecting you, breaking your heart, etc.), you learn to emotionally, mentally and spiritually avoid it. It’s simply a more sophisticated avoidance technique.
The downside to this approach is that you become impervious to how other people feel about you across the board. Sure, you no longer care if they think less of you, but you’re also no longer able to care about when they think more of you.
You’re no longer impacted by the hurt you may cause other people, and you’re also no longer impacted by the love they have for you.
It can become pretty lonely down that path — and is the game you want to be playing that you find true love, but can’t really care about it?
You don’t have to go out and fabricate the thing you’re avoiding. You just have to be willing to experience it in pursuit of what you really want.
It’s actually even easier than that.
The thing you don’t want to feel is already there for you to feel. Like a beach ball you’ve held under the water of your consciousness for the last twenty years, it hasn’t gone anywhere.
If you’ve been avoiding heartbreak all your life, all you really need to do is feel the heartbreak that is already present. If you’ve been desperately trying to feel joyful in an attempt to avoid your sadness, all you need to do is surrender to the sadness that you already feel.
As you practise, the significance of what you are afraid of feeling will diminish. And on the other side of that, you will discover how abundant what you’ve been craving really is.