“The Master doesn’t try to be powerful; thus he is truly powerful.
The ordinary man keeps reaching for power; thus he never has enough.
The Master does nothing, yet he leaves nothing undone.
The ordinary man is always doing things, yet many more are left to be done.”
– Lao Tse, Philosopher
In a few months’ time, I’m doing a collaboration with my dear friends and colleagues Michael Neill and Garret Kramer. I’ve known Michael since 2003, and Garret since 2010, and while we’ve each collaborated as pairs, this is the first time the 3 of us have done something together. I’ve learned lots from both of these pioneers (in fact, both of them got a mention in Chapter 19 of my book CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results). Here’s an excerpt from The Little Book of Clarity (©2015 Jamie Smart) around the whole domain of performance and results.
“Point yourself in the right direction and do nothing…”
This provocative statement seemed to fly in the face of everything I “knew” about how to live an inspiring, successful life. Yet, while it was easy for the thrash-metal band of my habitual thinking to raise objections to this statement, I could also feel a truth in it. After all, I was a master of “doing”; I’d accomplished a lot in my life by taking action, but a lot of my “doing” had me running on the hamster wheel of “I’ll be happy when…” thinking.
DISTINCTION: Misguided action vs. Inspired action
● Misguided action is action sponsored by the mistaken belief that it will lead to results which either give a person the felt experience they desire, or stop them from experiencing the feelings which they want to avoid. The contaminated thinking behind misguided action is often tinged with striving, urgency and desperation.
● Inspired action is action taken from the clarity of the inside-out understanding; the knowledge (at least intuitively) that your felt experience can’t be threatened or delivered by anything other than the principle of Thought taking form in the moment. Acting from this clarity is the essence of high-performance, what athletes, dancers and musicians sometimes refer to as being in flow.
When a person is acting from clarity, they’ll still have powerful intuitions about the importance of timing, but there’s rarely a feeling of stressful urgency. That’s one of the reasons inspired action can be so effective and impactful.
So what does it mean to “Point yourself in the right direction and do nothing…”?
Pointing yourself in the right direction means looking towards what’s creating your experience of life; looking to the source of your experience rather than the content of your experience.
And what’s creating your experience of life? The principles behind clarity.
When we’re caught up in contaminated thinking, we’re fixated on the form of life. Our thinking always looks real, so it can seem as though we should be obsessing about the form our thinking is taking. When we’re seeing how life really works (inside-out), we move back towards clarity, and are in a better position to be guided by wisdom.
In any moment, we can turn our gaze from the content of our experience (what we’re thinking about) to what’s creating our experience (the principles of Thought, Mind and Consciousness.)
“Doing nothing” isn’t about the actions you take so much as it is about the mindset that gives rise to your actions.
Most people spend much of their lives taking misguided action; “doing” from a superstition-driven mindset and the feelings of stress and urgency that often come with it. When you’re “doing nothing,” your actions are sponsored by clarity and understanding.
So does that mean you should only take action when you’re seeing clearly? Definitely not.
Stay in the game
Woody Allen famously said that 80% of success is showing up. While it’s great to feel intrinsically motivated, take inspired action and get into the zone, it’s surprising how often the inspiration waits until you’re already in the game before it shows up.
My dear friend and colleague, Stillpower author Garret Kramer, works with senior executives and professional athletes to help them improve performance and get the results they desire. Neither group has the luxury of sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike – they need to show up, ready to work when their team needs them. Whether they’re seeing things clearly or lost in contaminated thinking, Garret’s advice is the same; stay in the game!
When we’re willing to show up, despite our insecurities, we create new possibilities.
While inspired action feels great, sometimes you just need to “do the right thing”, in spite of your contaminated thinking. As you continue allowing yourself to become more responsive to your wisdom, you’ll often find that the answers you need come at the exact moment you need them.
Sometimes the “right thing to do” is to take a specific action.
Sometimes the “right thing to do” is to stop and take a rest.
Sometimes the “right thing to do” is to wait for further guidance.
In the meantime, stay in the game!
By the way, if you’d like to be part of the collaboration Garret, Michael and I are doing, here’s the info/criteria…
Would you like to pick the brains of 3 people who have a boatload of experience of making things happen in the world?
I’ve been working on something very special with my dear friends and colleagues, Michael Neill and Garret Kramer. Each of us is a bestselling author, an international speaker and a leading coach; we’ve each managed to have a big impact sharing an understanding of the inside-out nature of life with others. Now we’re looking for a select group of people to join us in making things happen on a bigger scale. Here’s how you’ll know if you’re a good fit for this (and vice-versa)…
– You want to perform at a high level
– You want to make a difference in the world, and play a bigger game
– You want to turn your dreams and inspirations into tangible, real-world results
– You know that if you had the right impetus and guidance, you could really make things happen
– You’re interested in the principles behind state of mind
– You want to do all of this authentically, in a way that fits with who you are
– You’re courageous and willing to take action if the direction looks right to you
If this describes you, you can find out what we’ve got in mind here: https://www.jamiesmart.com/gettinginthegame/
We’ll be selecting people in the next few weeks.
To your increasing clarity!
Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Speaker and Executive Coach
PLUS: Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you get the clarity and results that matter to you:
1. Hire me to speak at your event
If you want an entertaining and impactful keynote speech or breakout session for your conference, offsite or town hall meeting, click here https://www.jamiesmart.com/book-jamie-to-speak-about/
2. Join the Profitable Coaches Group
Join the Profitable Coaches Professional Group and connect with the growing community of like-minded transformation professionals who are passionate about exponentially increasing their grounding, impact and their livelihood. You can join for free at https://www.jamiesmart.com/profitable/
3. Join Chip Chipman, Jan Chipman and me in Tenerife
Each year, my team and I head off to the Canary Islands for a week with my dear friends, colleagues and mentors Jan and Chip Chipman for the Clarity Life Transformation Retreat. We spend 5 days diving deep into the principles behind clarity, and lives transform in the process. If you’d like to find out more about it, If that’s you, email Nikki on firstname.lastname@example.org and type “Tenerife” in the subject line.
4. The Thriving Coaches Blueprint
We’re putting together a new practice-building case study group at The Thriving Coaches Blueprint in March. Stay tuned for details… If you’d like to work with me and my team on growing your practice… email Nikki at email@example.com and type “Thriving Coaches Blueprint” in the subject line.
PLUS: check these out :
Get your free Profitable Coaches Scorecard book www.JamieSmart.com/scorecard
Listen to the Results Mindset Podcast www.JamieSmart.com/resultspodcast
Listen to The Profitable Coaches Podcast www.JamieSmart.com/pcp
Read the first 2 chapters of my Sunday Times Bestseller RESULTS: Think Less, Achieve More www.JamieSmart.com/instantresults