Ever experience a time when all the stars seem to align and everything is perfect? Most of us have had that experience.
It’s a Monday morning. The night before, you had the presence of mind to select a new shirt or sweater or outfit to wear for work the next day. Perhaps you even shined your shoes or pulled out your best belt. You remembered to set the alarm a little earlier and you went to bed at a decent hour. Your mindset was calm and collected and grateful.
You rise today well-rested. You look forward to a couple of important meetings, a special lunch with a friend and an afternoon filled with important tasks. You are efficient and leave the house earlier than usual. All the traffic lights stay green. Everything today is fluid, perfect. On your way home, you wonder what it would be like to experience this effortless effort every day.
The good news is that, for most of us, there will be random moments where everything seems to be in our favor. You will experience such events from time to time, mostly without really noticing. Those are gifts, but they are also indicators that anything is possible.
The even better news is that effortless effort comes along more often for those willing to develop a mindset for it and then make it a part of everyday practice.
We had recently moved to the Inland Northwest when our good friends invited my wife Gaye and I to join them to see a local baseball game. We arrived well before the start and proceeded to the box office to buy four tickets. While standing by the queue, a lady approached us with four season tickets, three rows up from the first base dugout. She asked us if we wanted them. It turned out that she and her family had been called away that evening, unexpectedly at the last minute, and she wanted to give her tickets away, no charge. “Enjoy the game!” she said as she smiled and walked back to her car.
Serendipity? Fate? A big heart? Whatever you call it, Life is full of random acts of kindness. There are surprises, opportunities and lessons—if you are open to them. The experience at the baseball game reminds us that good people are out there, whether they hand us tickets to a game or simply take a moment to wish us a good day.
Then there are those opportunities we create for other people. We call it How-You-Show-Up. There are always choices in how we show up in the world each day.
For example, the same person you hold the door open for as you enter the grocery store could very well end up being the very same person who has trouble with her credit card at the checkout, making you wait in line on a day you are already late for your child’s game. You have the option of being as kind to her now as you were when you both entered the store, or not. It is entirely your call. You can show your frustration or you can be calm and caring.
How about this: Your car breaks down and the tow truck driver doesn’t come for another thirty minutes. You’re already frustrated and now this makes you distrust the company you called. But when he arrives, you find him to be very courteous and professional, especially at calming you down and reassuring you that everything will be ok. The time you spend with the driver getting your car to a shop is the same. How you spend that time and how you respond to that challenge is a choice.
Dr. Rick Sessinghaus, a prominent Sports Psychologist (https://www.ricksessinghaus.com/) helps professionals figure such things out for their careers. He likes the term “Flow” or being In the Flow when he works with professional golfers, such as Collin Morikawa on the PGA Tour. “Flow is that optimal experience. When things are effortless, we’re at our best, we’re enjoying, we’re engaged in the moment.” Dr. Rick teaches that if people want to be in that zone so as to perform at their best, “they must have clear goals, a very clear target of what they want. Once they have a target they can now stay engaged in the moment and develop Flow.”He’s talking about doing the work, practicing, not just waiting for it to happen on its own.
Interestingly, Dr. Rick says that being challenged and uncomfortable helps us get into the Flow, if we are willing to go there. “Unfortunately, I’m seeing in our environment, in our society, people are shying away from challenges and adversity, and it makes them uncomfortable, so they avoid it. Yet, having ‘challenge’ is key for us to be in the Flow. We have to have more skills to meet those challenges. If the challenge is just a little bit above what you currently have done, skill-wise, it actually pushes you to utilize all your resources for that moment. When you’re challenged just a little bit more than you’re comfortable with, you actually will get into the Flow, into the zone more often.”
As it turns out, we can experience Effortless Effort more often. But it’s a mindset we must practice. It won’t necessarily change every traffic light to green for you every day, but it will help you enjoy Life more, and you never know when the Universe will step in to help. Some of my best friends came from common calamities where random acts and unexpected turns brought us together. Was that happenstance or did real relationships have a chance to form after we got our egos out of the way?
This is pretty powerful stuff. Dr. Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention talks about it in Universal terms:
“When you’re connected to the power of intention, everywhere you go, and everyone you meet is affected by you and the energy you radiate. As you become the power of intention, you’ll see your dreams being fulfilled almost magically, and you’ll see yourself creating huge ripples in the energy fields of others by your presence.”
Effortless Effort, then, isn’t exactly effortless, is it? Being “in the Flow” takes a dedicated mindset and practice if you want to be there more of the time. Co-creating your world means you start by being on-purpose, not only to discipline yourself as to what you think about every day but to notice when those little blessings drop in that you didn’t see coming.
Achieving goals when you are in the Flow just seems to go easier. And, while Goals aren’t just numerical figures on a projection, (like the ubiquitous goal of losing 10 pounds), goals that are just as important are about creating relationships, becoming a better human being, caring for others, learning the Guitar, growing a garden or simply appreciating every type of weather Nature conjures up. It’s that How-You-Show-Up set of goals we talk so much about.
If you want to enjoy your life more, start with bringing your best self to everything you do and to everyone you meet. See beyond the mundane. Instead of waiting for better days, engineer them. You are the architect of YOU from this point forward. What are you willing to challenge yourself to improve?
When you decide, commit to it. You won’t be alone.