“You know the nearer your destination the more you’re slip sliding away” — Paul Simon
How this song — and it’s message — is one that keeps coming up for me, on playlists I’ve created and in random stores alike.
You know it, right? That feeling when getting closer to achieving your goal it starts to slip out of reach? Or perhaps the knowledge that a completion date is quickly approaching but you feel like you’ve missed the boat, so how do you keep going?
The latter is true for me in many occasions, made even more evident by a continual practice of meditation which hones mindfulness which brings awareness. There are many times when I feel like I’m getting close to completing a goal and one or two or seven things seems out of whack and so I shut down in myriad ways: moving on to another task, zoning out, doing something that is completely unnecessary to avoid “the finish”.
This lack of completion is one of the things that doesn’t work for the holistically healthy version of myself. What I describe as mindfully numbing — being aware of checking out — doesn’t equate with the mindfully healthy version of myself. it results in me staying up too late, tossing and turning or doing things that don’t add to my overall self-worth, picking fights or proverbially picking my nose (promise, just proverbially) while I contemplate the results of not finishing.
Much of this is due to living in fantasy, a fear of the most confusing persuasion. Merriam Webster offers several definitions of fantasy, the one I respond most to in this circumstance being
“the power or process of creating especially unrealistic or improbable mental images in response to psychological need”
So, when mindfully numbing in lieu of completing a task, what is that psychological need? Usually it’s tied directly to self-worth. According to the study of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the practice with which I am a certified coach, self-worth is actually a by-product of self-concept. Self-concept is defined as
“The mental definition one has of oneself”- Merriam Webster
though a more complete definition, in my experience, is found via the initial Google Search as:
So, if self-concept is all about my self-image based on my own beliefs, and the perceived (what you say in my head) and factual (what you say on paper or to my face) beliefs others hold for me, it’s completely true these can be changed for the better.
F*ck Fantasy, Manifest Magic
In achieving the holistically healthiest version of myself, it’s important for me to get out of fantasy and get going to the finish. And there’s a magic potion of sorts that makes the idea of completing tasks towards achieving the goals I’ve set out a reality: MORPH any negative beliefs I have about myself into positive beliefs, thus changing my Self-Concept.
The thing about fantasy is we are living in the future, based on our past experiences, and never really finishing because we get paralyzed by the instilled beliefs of yesterday and unconfirmed results of tomorrow. Understanding and remembering this allows me to get present, get in the moment, and get the damn job done. And whatever your personal idea of God is or isn’t, from the source to science, the lyric from the Paul Simon ballad stays true: “the information is unavailable to the mortal man”.
God only knows
God makes his plan
The information’s unavailable
To the mortal man
— Paul Simon, Slip Sliding Away
How do I get present?
First is meditation, which I do every morning. And then, when clear, I am reminded to do it throughout the day, from a few simple breaths to a full-on session of quiet breathing, mantra-based or guided meditation. Those moments allow me the opportunity to show up for the task at hand instead of living in the fantasy inside my head.
Breathing & Listening
Change your breath to change your outlook. Do this breath work only for the first 3-5 breaths, then return to a normal…
There are a number of actions steps I take when in the fear of the finish, as well. Let’s call these “NEXT?!” — taking the next indicated action. Doing the right thing when I’ve done the wrong thing. Asking for help. Receiving help. Meditating for answers. Listening to the answers. Asking for positive, constructive insights from trusted friends and advisors. Holding myself accountable and asking others to do that for me.
And sometimes, just sitting-the-fuck-down and taking the action,
like I’ve done with this here Blog Post.
What about you?
What do you do to improve your self-concept, get out of fantasy and get into action? Please let me know by sharing with me on The Daley Kennedy Facebook Page with #40Daysto40 #ForgetFantasyAndFinish.