Ever since discovering yoga back in 2014 a niggling conflict started to emerge – I had always been a striver, rushing around, trying to excel in everything I do and never taking time for myself. I would complete a project then move on to the next one. I was happy, but I was never really content. Yoga taught me the other side of the coin, to appreciate life, to be content and to be at peace with oneself. For a while I believed that the two could never really work together, until now:
Human behaviour is an amazing and complex system, it is smart, intuitive and quite beautiful. I draw similarities to a metaphorical Aston Martin (my dream car). Lets take it onto the motorway, get it up to 70mph (or faster if we’re tempted) and slot it into 6th gear. It trundles along beautifully with little problem, getting us to where we need to be efficiently. Most of us wanting to succeed in life and keep up with the rest of the world will take the motorway. We give it our all and work to the best of our abilities using the fastest and most appropriate way we can. The largest problem with the majority of the population isn’t the motorway taking, it is the gear most of us are wired to be stuck in.
Most of us (and certainly me for a long time) are locked into first gear. Stick that metaphorical Aston Martin into 1st gear on the motorway (I cry at the thought) and you’ll soon be pulling over at the side of the road, engine smoking and ultimately burnt out. Most people get it to the garage, patch it up and then repeat the same behaviours of engineerial torture day in day out.
Stopping at the side of the road is time-consuming, it’s distracting, frustrating, inefficient and most importantly, its unnecessary. Here are some quick fire thoughts on trying to find 6th gear – I will go into these in more depth in the coming weeks.
- Take some time to look under the hood every now and then.
- Service your ‘mind engine’ regularly.
- Keep it simple and purposeful (no dangly airfreshers, novelty horns, neon lights or giant spoilers).
- If there’s a nutter behind you, move over a lane and let them pass.
- Take the scenic route every now and then – It’s part of life to look out the window and enjoy the journey instead of always focusing on the destination.
- Learn to pull over before the warning light comes on – be mindful of how you are feeling, be in tune with yourself.
- Get an early start on the road (there’s less traffic).
Ultimately let go of the idea that to striving means you have to sacrifice certain parts of yourself (your health, stress levels, values etc). Find your 6th gear, find your stride and stick with it. Chances are you need to give that mind engine some TLC.