I remember years ago while in graduate school I took a class in philosophy. After reading a book by Norman Cousins I decided I would write my master’s thesis on his work in the field of mind-body medicine. Meeting him to discuss his life’s pioneering work on the power of the mind and how it is interconnected on so many levels with the body ( and soul) shaped my passion and interest in mind-body medicine and direction my career would untimely take.
What I learned from him has not only influenced my life and work but it also reminds me today of some real basic truths that I want to share with you.
Mr. Cousins believed one of the most important concepts is to understand that we learn and grow from our mistakes. Failure is only failure if you don’t grow and adjust. Growth and learning happen in the uncomfortable space when we leave our comfort zone and experience something new.
He believed that the process was where we learned the most not simply be achieving our goals. He said: ” Live and learn from process because the end result might not be what you had hoped for.” He believed it was important to set deliberate intentions. To shift one’s perspective to view practice as the ultimate goal, not perfection.
He also believed that being attached to a result (which we cannot control) rather than to the process (which we can control) is what ultimately sets us up for disappointment. The process teaches us about patience, staying clear and focus. Taking on tasks becomes easier. You build confidence and ultimately accomplish more.
While being in the process you experience total engagement and see yourself striving for better performance. If you are only focused on the outcome you will more likely to feel stressed and anxious and see less optimal results.
Let your goals be the reward for enjoying and living the process. We all need to have goals. But what we all need more of is the attention to the process. We cannot change the past and we have yet to experience the future. What we have is the moment. Live in that space and you will be amazed at what you have accomplished.