I don’t aim long-term for anything particular. I’m not trying to get somewhere, or achieve something. I’m too happily and fully absorbed by my doing, to think about some distant outcome.
I do try quite a few things, with varying enthusiasm and results, but I rarely approach an activity with a lofty, faraway target in mind. My education (MSc in finance), career (hedge fund manager), fitness, and life in general have come about without a shred of ambition. I just consistently put one foot in front of the other, reveling in competent foot placement, i.e., focusing on my daily process.
My friends, colleagues and a good deal of luck apparently have over time made up for my lack of drive. Well, that, and my openness and curiosity; I try things, without any other reason than for the novelty itself, to see if I can gain a new perspective or some unexpected insight. It doesn’t matter if I get good at it, or have a future there. I just do it for fun for a while, to see if I can reveal any hidden truths (joys) by connecting more dots.
One could add that I’m also pretty diligent, relentless even. I usually stick to my routines and daily or weekly processes without giving it a second thought. I just do it, since it’s “scheduled”: For example, I work out for about 40 minutes every morning. And I read a book in bed every night until it drops out of my hand. That framework makes everything else between 10 am to 10 pm click in place.
Trying is key. Or “doing” if you’d rather call it that. Doing with intention and full focus on the activity at hand, without being distraced by some abstract future potential, or being scared of failing in the short term.
“Do or do not, there is no try”
However, you can’t choose just any process. It has to be sound and sustainable, lest your whims and lust in the present will erode your future. Taking care of your temple between your temples, the machine carrying it around, and the community of friends carrying you, is more or less all you need though. Within those bounds, fire at will.
Rain dances and other religious practices work
Rain dances don’t affect the weather as such. They can’t change the laws of nature.
But they do bring people closer together. That’s a big win in itself. Humans are first and foremost social creatures. A dry spell doesn’t matter nearly as much as a loss of connection. That’s where stage fright originates, from the fear of being ostracized from the tribe and left behind on the savanna, where loneliness meant certain death and the end of your bloodline. There are very fwe people left who don’t shun loneliness.
Trying (doing) something, not least together in a tribe, can also lead to unexpected insights and breakthroughs:
After forced attempts, “trying“, like learning a golf swing, it’s the ensuing unforced action (the Wu Wei), when the prefrontal cortex takes a back seat and lets more areas of the brain communicate unencumbered, that leads to high performance on the pro golf tour or the stock market. The trying must be sincere, must be a doing, an activity firmly present in the here and now — emphatically not a “trying” with some end objective in mind.
The path to excellence, I believe, is finding the right community, establishing productive routines, and doing-trying with gusto, while frequently backing off to let the Master in your right brain hemisphere show the Emissary in the left hemisphere how to create some real magic. But to make not-doing work, you must first do, albeit do-try with focus on the process itself not some future accomplishment.
If you know Swedish… och är intresserad av att lära dig hur man värderar aktier, såväl noterade som onoterade tycker jag du ska kolla in den här videon där jag presenterar mitt program för fundamental värdebaserad aktieanalys, Finanskursen.
Årskull 4 startar den 3 oktober. Titta på videon om du vill veta mer om upplägget för Finanskursen, och om mina tre decenniers erfarenhet av finansvärlden som ligger till grund för utbildningen.