As a life coach, I'm supposed to be all about goal setting, achievement, excellence and kick-assness. I'm supposed to be glowing with pride at the opening night of your solo rock opera masterpiece, laughing with you at all the people who said "someone who has never played an instrument can't sell out the entertainment centre!". Naturally, all of this is the product of our world-rocking coaching partnership.
However, I've seen many instances in which the "more, more more" mindset isn't the most healthy, helpful way to approach things. This mindset almost naturally implies that the "next" thing is better than what you currently have. The focus on the bigger, better achievement actively takes away from what you have previously achieved, or what you are achieving.
I'll give you an example. As a runner, you start small. You start by running around the block - puffing and panting all the way. Then you set your sights on your first 5km race. When you enter, you think "I can't believe I'm going to run so far - I'll never make it." But you do, and you keep running. 10km's is next, and you're starting to move up in the running world - hanging out with runners, seeing their facebook feeds, reading more about running. Your sights keep going higher and higher. Finally, it's half marathon time - 21kms! But in the back of your mind is the thought - "real runners run marathons, not halves". Even at the start line, you're thinking about how you're not running the marathon. And so it goes - a marathon is overshadowed by an ultra, an ultra is overshadowed by longer or harder ultra's. Far is never far enough, fast is never fast enough.
While I always support my clients setting and achieving goals, there is no satisfaction or happiness in never appreciating what you have. "Grass is greener" thinking often diminishes the pleasure of the moment - wishing you had the lobster affects the taste of your steak.
For my clip I've chosen the final scenes of American Beauty. Throughout the film, Kevin Spacey's character has consistently pushed to re-define himself, firmly in the grip of a mid-life crisis. Only at the end, with seconds left to live, does he truly see the value of what he has. He finally lets go of wanting more and different, and instead embraces his present. His contentment is clear, testament to Spacey's mastery. WARNING: It's graphic, but worth it - you have been warned!
How you can grab hold of this mindset today:
1) Practice mindfulness - take note of what you have or do that is "good". Maybe it will mean taking quiet pride in "good enough", or noticing something about someone that you haven't paid attention to in a while. Whatever it is, take some time, notice, and smile. Research says they all help.
2) Notice when you are being critical of yourself. I like the 80% rule - rather than only being happy with 100%, is 80% good enough?
3) Notice when you are actively making yourself dissatisfied. Is looking through your Facebook feed making you feel down while you compare yourself to others? Are you online shopping to solve some problem or another? Do you think buying the next thing will make you happier? Try to look behind what you're doing at what you're trying to fix. They are rarely the same...