Just Say NO To Trying Harder
We’ve all heard those motivational platitudes: Dig In. Buck Up. Hustle. As an active member of the business and spiritual communities, I hear variations of them all the time, and they all stem from a similar premise; that the harder we try, the better results we will get. But in my life and in my work, I have found the opposite to be true.
This is probably the case because I take much of my guidance and inspiration from a very wise guru whom I have learned so much from over the past years: my cat, Principessa. As you might have guessed, “principessa” means princess in Italian, and to be sure, she is exactly that. An exceedingly fluffy white and gray Norwegian forest cat, she oozes joy, loves to cuddle, and worships you if you’ll dangle a toy bird in front of her face. She gets everything she wants from the people around her because she is just so darn lovable. You can lose yourself in her soft round eyes, as she telepathically communicates all of her needs in the moment. Feed me. Pet me. Let me out. Let me in. There is no shortage of compliant humans around her who are willing to give her everything she wants, whenever she wants it. She’s a little princess, and she knows it.
I have never seen Principessa set an alarm in the morning. I have never seen her write a To-do list. I have never seen her stay up all night working on a project. And it’s not just because she is a cat. I believe that Principessa gets everything she wants and needs because she is in a perpetual mode of receptivity. Some people might want to call it instinct, but I call it being in the flow of life.
A few years ago, I used to work really hard on creative projects, grinding away at them until I had no energy left for anything else. I thought that it was the only way to go after my dreams and my passions, that I had to suffer and struggle my way into success, and that maybe, just maybe, somebody would notice how hard I was working and would give me some kind of gold star. I thought that’s what success was. And it got me nowhere. All it left me was a masochistic sense of martyrdom and a load of stress. I decided there must be another way.
Now, after some much-needed perspective shifting and practice, I take a different approach to life, much like Principessa’s. The only “effort” I consistently make (if you even want to call it that) is to tune my inner dial to the same receptive mode that Principessa seems to live in, that yields her everything she wants. As for the cat, so for the human. Since the time I was a child, I have never felt freer, happier, more lighthearted, and more in the flow of life than I do at this stage of my life. And as a really nice added bonus, I am getting more and more of what I really want all the time.
The next time you feel the temptation to dig in and try harder on something you are working on, I want you to try something a slightly different approach: walk away from whatever you are doing, and do something, anything, to get back into your natural mode of receptivity. Take a walk. Meditate. Go jump in the ocean. Distract yourself from the specifics of whatever you are doing, and then return with a your refreshed, renewed perspective, and notice how much more effective you are at performing whatever it is you are doing.
With Love and Mischief,
Claudia (and Principessa – meow!) ♥