Relent

Relent

Take a second to visualise a Chinese circus artist. He galavants around the circus planting poles into the ground and on them he places a plate which he skillfully spins. Plate after plate he spins and the more he does so the more the audience is wow'ed, the louder they applaud and the acrobat continues to flow effortlessly around the circus spinning more and more plates. Of course the acrobat is skilled in his craft and therefore knows his limit. He knows how many plates he can spin before it becomes unmanagable. Now try and relate this to every day life. We all know that guy who is constantly stressed, they wear the identity of being always busy like a badge of honour but overload isn't efficient and like the plate spinner who doesn't know his limits eventually it will all come crashing down. It is better to do few things with mastery than many things to a mediocre standard. Mediocrity is seldom requisitioned. It doesn't inspire and it doesn't make you an asset. Think of this like a hose spraying water. The narrower the beamwidth, the more force with which the water will impact the desired spot and consequently the wider it is the less likely it is anything will be impacted at all. To me this is about internal vs external influence. Those who show true mastery within a discipline are minimalistic with what they try to control. They selectively filter the external yet internally they display the focus of a monk. What do I mean by this? Well take a second to think of all the external stimuli that we let unnecessarily affect us; A vehicle cuts you up, your train is delayed, the gym is full of new years resolutioners meaning it is now difficult to complete your planned workout. These are all things that commonly frustrate us and obviously for some of the above there needs to be an external reaction. For example if a vehicle cuts you up the neccesary external reaction is to apply the brakes. What is not neccesary is the 5 minutes of road rage that ensues. The external reaction to a delayed train may be to swiftly find an alternative route and accepting the delay is beyond your control. However many will let something as small as this snowball out of control and ruin their day despite the fact the initial stimuli was something they could never control in the first place. This psychology is what makes it so easy to succumb to the allure of smart phones and in particular social media. Never has external validation been so easy to achieve and never has it been so empty. All this stimuli leaves us with a sensory overload to the point where we haven't the capacity to deal with anything else. We feel suffocated by too much choice and we misdirected our potential down wasteful avenues. We walk around day to day listening to music, swiping, tweeting, comparing, honking, one click buying. Take a minute to stop. Take the headphones out. Put the phone away and relent. Discover what it is that is important to you and be minimalistic with anything that does not serve that purpose. Narrow your focus and workout which plates you want to spin. Throw out those plates which do not yield improvement or genuine joy. Be resourceful with your time and allocate it sparingly. An uncluttered headspace is a potent one, it leaves the capacity for mastery. It is calm. It realised there are some things that cannot be controlled. It also realises there are things that can be controlled but do not serve a purpose. It is here where we must relent. Let it go and focus on what matters. Relent.