Forget the goal - it's about now

How often have we tried so hard to complete a task in time, to specifications, to budget, etc? We face the stresses of having to deal with changes, resource issues, extra hours, and let's face it, when it comes to crunch, we often turn to "band-aid" solutions to ensure we deliver in time. Because we prioritize time over so much else, whether in work or personal situations, have you ever stopped to think about what we miss-out on?

Here's another perspective. If you watch or play a sport, most people tend to focus on the end result... the "winner". However, during the game we witness passion; enjoyment; and expression (I like to refer to these as "emotional content") shining through the spectators, the players, and coaches. Then comes the final result: The team that played beautifully, but actually lost the game is often brutally criticized, regardless. There is blame, feelings of failure and shame all-round often leaving those who lead and performed with passion, disillusioned with it all. As for the criticizing spectators, what happened to the enjoyment of watching the game before the final whistle?

So why do we focus so heavily on the result? Digging a little deeper, I went back to my elementary school days.... even as kids, we are embedded with the images of winning and losing whether through school sports, children's movies or other competitions. At school we are graded and compared each year - if we pass everything to satisfaction or "above", then we "win" our way to the next level. Could that be where this is all coming from? Is this why we are so results-focused?

While I agree, goals are needed, once set, why not shift the focus to the actual task? Put the dates in the back of your head, or on the calendar behind you, or somewhere less obvious. Next, "feel" your way through the actual task at hand. Observe yourself during the process - how do you feel? Are you enjoying it? Are you appreciating its beauty? Are you excited? Are you challenged? Let your "emotional content" shine during this time. If you've ever been to a concert, a beautiful performance is the art of enjoying the moments, the music, not waiting for the end to come. Much the opposite if it's to your liking. The musicians enjoy the rhythm, the sound, the timing and the atmosphere and all is in harmony at the end of the performance.

When we start to think too much about the "deadline", too often we fool ourselves into speeding-up a beautiful natural process that occurs within us humans: discovery. We sometimes panic, and then rush to complete it only to find that when it's done, it's at the "ok" or "good enough" level. But are we doing ourselves justice or setting the trend within ourselves to underachieve? Are we really bringing out our talents to the max? Are we giving ourselves the real chance to tap-into our hidden strengths and reach depths of marvelous creativity?

Sometimes coaches will tell you it's not about winning or losing but how you play the game. I heard that a lot in my childhood! In my experience, I've found that if you play the game with passion, and enjoyment, you can really reach depths you never thought existed. If you find the end result is not what you wanted, then don't get yourself down. Use your passion to believe in yourself, your skills, and try again. Be who you are, the best you can be, and be it now. Most importantly, let yourself shine through that "in-between" experience!

Gabriele Ciminelli