Do you think you could drive blind?
Daniel sure did. In fact, he perfected this art.
He had compartmentalized everything in his life: women, bills, work and other bothers that filled his days and nights. All were relegated to a file in his brain titled “aggravation.”
From his first cup of coffee to lights out, he was bothered, angry, and filled with dread.
He could access his “aggravation” file at any time, and because of this it dominated his life.
Everything was a nuisance that interfered with his trajectory. He had big goals and coulda been a contender, if it wasn’t for the goddamned “problems” in his life.
At 2:00 a.m. the repository in his brain pinged him, bringing on a fitful, restless, early morning misery.
At 5:00 p.m. the anger was there, his feeling of nothing accomplished, once again. His forward momentum stopped by the blisters and bothers in his life.
9:00 p.m. brought a wave of contentment with the help of two beers and a shot of vodka.
But soon enough the 24 hour tail met a head called 2:00 a.m. anxiety.
The endless loop of a guy bothered by life.
Is this you? Are you bothered by life?
Is there more than an ounce of enjoyment in your life? Or do your days seem filled with worry, anger, and bothersome junk?
Now, let me ask you this…
At this moment are you thinking of what you don’t want to do? Dreading the next moment? Traveling in time?
Are you often focused on far off visions of money, happiness, and that ideal business? Something that will finally complete you? A goal that once reached will change your life?
The only problem is this final destination never becomes a reality. Heck it never even comes into view.
I like to compare this to driving blind, with the hope of regaining your vision once that magic destination is reached.
And since I write and speak about solopreneurs and the business of branding, I love to talk about the destination—a place where you truly break out and make big things happen. But only focusing on the destination can be a big problem.
And yes, this is a site where I write about entrepreneurship, branding, and marketing. I also have a podcast titled “The Art of Breaking Out.” But here’s the thing… Without a solid foundation that brings stability, creativity, and energy—a daily practice—your business dreams will never come to fruition. You’ll simply burnout or be in a perpetual brain fog.
So, Dear Entrepreneur, let’s get back to how you can bring renewed vigor to your life, spark your creativity, and energize that business of yours…
Do you only think about the destination?
It took me a really long time to fully understand what “be in the moment” really meant.
I always tried so hard to just enjoy a few precious minutes but never could. And before I knew it, life again became that soul-sucking thing I had to deal with.
I used to think “being in the now” was this: A week in Hawaii. That intoxicating night out. The completion of another big project that brought in money but didn’t truly enrich my life and help grow my business.
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
I’ve read this quote a hundred times, but to be 100 percent honest, I’ve only started to apply it recently.
To stop worrying about the destination.
To not drive blind.
And only recently has the real, wide, wonderful word actually started to come into view.
In fact, I feel like my previous life was me trapped in another dimension. A Daniel-like dimension. Let’s call it Flatland—an imagined land existing in only two dimensions.
It’s hard work being in the now when you’ve spent your life in a Daniel state of mind. But here are a few practices that might help you turn off the aggravation, stop dreading “next,” and move from being bothered by life to a new realm of wonder, creativity, and inspiration.
Let me just tell you it really can happen if you learn to let go, just a bit… seeing your life (and your business) like never before. And I truly believe that this kind of mindset is a must for anyone running their own business. It’s the only way to survive and thrive.
How do you find your way to this other mystic dimension?
It’s hard to write out a “live in the moment” instruction sheet, especially for driven solopreneurs, but I will try by describing three beliefs that have changed my life…
1. Nothing is boring.
The next time you’re doing something you consider tedious—driving to work, working on spreadsheets, brushing your teeth—stop thinking about tomorrow, the next hour, the next minute or the next few seconds.
When you learn to put all your attention in whatever it is you’re doing, you’ll begin to realize the magic of the moment and this power can have a profound effect on how you go about your day.
I know, you’ve read this 999,000 times. But let me guess, you worked at it for a bit, said “what a joke,” and soon turned back into Daniel.
After all these years I finally understand the formerly nebulous concept of being in the moment. The cynical me resisted it for years. The practical me couldn’t wrap my head around the concept. And the controlling me couldn’t let go.
Instead of focusing on the now, are you constantly projecting?
Getting past what appears to be the most mundane task in the world is often what blocks your way and causes anxiety.
Why? Because a mindset of “getting past it” turns the task into something you see as painfully boring and possibly insurmountable—a roadblock.
This type of “avoidance” creates a massive snowball. Delaying the real doing and filling your time with distraction compounds worry, magnifies the negative aspects of the task, and kills your sprit.
This is how life passes you by.
Okay, maybe you’re not in love with spreadsheets, but avoidance brings pain and compounds misery. The more you practice present moment awareness the more your life will change for the better.
And here’s why this kind of thinking can dramatically effect your business, in a negative way… Your creative visions will never become reality without incremental steps that are all about being “in the now.”
2. Bad outcomes are often your creation.
When something “bad” enters your head—a missed deadline, a public appearance you’ve committed to, “that” call you have to make—STOP and completely refocus your attention on the now and answer this: How can you make “it” better in this moment?
The problem comes when you fast-forward to some illusive moment in the future.
Life is now, not your negative thoughts concerning the past or the future.
Accept and deal with your situation, don’t invite distraction or project to an imaginary future point in time.
Did the last negative thought you had concern the past or the future? (Of course it did).
There’s a famous Mark Twain quote: “I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
This is a first world anguish I sense all around. Zombies fed by worry. It used to be me, but I’m no longer a prisoner in Flatland.
Don’t be a prisoner. Push toward your amazing plans by continually asking this when you think of bad outcomes: How can I make “it” better in this moment?
3. You are not the sun.
I used to be one of those people who was annoyed by many (a Daniel). I wasn’t giving them a chance, because A). I made assumptions, B). Was stuck in Flatland and, C). Thought they were wasting my time, because I had Daniel’s “rushing through life” disease.
I was also annoyed because I was only looking to a future point in time and I envisioned a bad outcome.
I thought they were trying to control me, or belittle me, or were out to simply waste my time. Funny, that.
I always “listened” but not really. I was grounded in Flatland.
What freed me more than anything was letting go of the silly belief that the world revolved around me. Yep. I escaped Flatland when I discovered how to listen, really listen.
What does it mean to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?
Realize you are not the sun. Heck, you’re not even the earth.
You’re a speck. A fragile human, surrounded by water, earth, sky and seven billion other tiny specs, on a planet in a solar system, in a galaxy, in an incomprehensibly vast universe.
You. A particle on a dot in a limitless black space. One that will most likely turn to dust in less than a 100 years.
Please relish the moment, the now—the biggest reason ever to not drive while blind.
If you liked this piece, you should check out my Art of Breaking Out Podcast. I interview guests who will help move the needle in your business, and motivate you to push through the fear, uncertainty, and self-doubt any aspiring business owner faces on a daily basis.