Non-striving for over-achievers

One of the key principles of Mindfulness is ‘Non-Striving’. A concept that I have struggled with for years, and which still, from time to time, has me perplexed.

I write about this in my book, ‘IntheFlow- Taking Mindfulness to Work’, and I found myself revisiting the concept this week. A particularly busy one, after a particularly hectic (almost overwhelming) month.

The reason for the hectic-ness is nothing new. Starting new things while keeping existing businesses running, year-end admin that always overflows, all in the context of a concerning economic and political environment in South Africa.

Too much to do. Most of which I’ve chosen, and am striving to achieve. Because it’s important to me, for a range of reasons.

Hence my dilemma. I’m very aware that I’m in striving, ‘doing’ mode. I can justify this ‘zone’ with the fact that the goals and outcomes I’m striving for are core to my purpose, and need to be achieved. I nevertheless feel like I’m being poked in the side, with a Mindfulness-oriented prod, saying : ‘Pay attention!

Which I’m ‘paying’ in two ways:

Firstly, I make sure I’m conscious and aware of my future- and outcomes focused ‘doing’. So I can respond to the prod with, ‘Duly noted’.

Secondly, and most importantly, I make sure that I’m also present and available for the here and now, the small, ordinary, moments of my day that are special. The ordinary moments that give me a ‘blissful high’, just by noticing them.

Because without this awareness of the present, I know I’ll reach my goals, but I’ll land up feeling empty, having entirely missed the journey.