If I wanted to be an Olympic gold medal swimmer, then it’s given that I need to train and be able to swim fast. I can build assumptions about the level I need to be to have a shot at Olympic gold from the times of the winners. I can aspire to be one and start swimming in competitions, but I know it’s really not possible until I develop the capacity to swim at gold-medal-worthy time. That capacity needs to be cultivated. It will not happen by chance. And changing my approaches or environments by themselves will have little, even if noticeable, impact.
Similarly, I believe that if I want to be rich, I need to have capacity to be rich. I need to have mental discipline to manage my money without it managing me. Like gold medal swimmers, I need to study the mindset, lifestyle and techniques of those who excel at acquiring and growing wealth, and cultivate my own capacity to produce riches. I don’t believe in lottery because luck will not give me this capacity, even if I were to temporarily command a lot of money. If I don’t have the muscle, I can’t keep up the weight, even if wind helped me lift it up higher than I should have been able to.
If I wanted to be happy, then I need to grow the capacity for it. Changing stuff in my external environment may give me temporary lift, but they themselves are not the answers. If I was unfulfilled at my job, I can look for a new one, and it’ll give me fresh perspective for a while. It may even be a step up. But in order to be successful in finding a better-suited job I first need to do some internal work on myself. I need to learn what it is that brings me fulfillment, what it is about the current environment that’s not working for me, and what qualifications and abilities I need to acquire and then demonstrate in order to land that better job.
If I want to create art that deeply resonates with people, I need to become capable of creating such a piece. I need to keep practicing my craft and be able to create pieces that move me first. I need to get more comfortable bring up my own deeply bottled emotions, so that listeners feel comfortable doing the same while experiencing my creations. Then open myself up to critique from other perspectives and incorporate suggestions that make sense (not all suggestions are applicable, especially for a subjective field like music).
I believe that human beings are more limitless than we realize. But the limits we do have that we also don’t realize are our inner blocks made of stuck emotions. There are many dreams that I have been able to realize in my life, because I successfully grew my capabilities. Then there are goals where try as I might, I haven’t been able to achieve. There are some things where I don’t have talents so growing the capacity is difficult. But the underlying root causes are my inner blocks.
If a conduit is blocked, I can’t break through no matter how hard I try, even with strong willpower. I need to chip away at the blockage. These blockages are made of stuck emotions, so chipping away means feeling them.
For example, my past attempts to grow my audience base all failed miserably, because the feeling of failure overwhelmed me and stopped my efforts before any of them could come to fruition. I jumped to the conclusion that it was failing, and understanding that it takes time in concept in my head wasn’t enough to keep me from letting my blockage convince me that they were failures.
But that jumping to conclusion is a result of stuck emotion distorting my view. So the last few months I’ve allowed myself to fully embrace that grief and shame of being a failure. I sobbed, wept and wailed, lamenting what a miserable failure I have been. That may sound counter-intuitive but by feeling the stuck emotion unconditionally (as in without thinking “I shouldn’t have to feel this way”) I started chipping away at the blockage in my conduit. I don’t know how far I have to go but I can tell my worldview started changing. I do less of that judging myself or fearing the failure. There are setbacks, lessons I need to learn, and many things that don’t turn out the way I wished they would. But none of them will make me a failure, because I will have shed my need to experience the devastation of judging myself a failure. Life is not a race or a contest. I set my sights on growing my capacity to create something, and however much capacity I manage to cultivate in my life time, will be well worth the investment of my life.
Whatever it is that you want to create, whether it’s wealth, health or sexy lifestyle — the work begins inside. If your capacity grows enough, then wielding that power to changing the external elements will be much easier.