Effortless Effort

This week Kate Northrup shared an old post of hers from May of 2013– “3 steps to stop making it so freaking hard.”

BAM! She hit the nail on the head.

We love to try hard.

We want to succeed.

So we push push push and cling cling cling.

Because we are scared.

We forget to relax.
We lose the moment.
We (sometimes) end up failing because we squeezed the life out of the very thing we wanted.

EEP!

So what do we need to do instead?

We need to practice EFFORTLESS EFFORT.

What, you may say?

Lora, you are talking crazy talk…That is the penultimate oxymoron.

Working harder is not always the right solution. As Kate says, “remember that white-knuckling it and suffering for the sake of achievement is absolutely optional.”

It is entirely possible to try too hard.

We need to know when to soften and relax and when to push and exert maximum energy.

Think about running a marathon.  If you go to hard and try to hard at the beginning of the race–there’s no way you will make it to the finish line. You’ll be pooped half-way through and end up crawling your way to the finish line or, worse, find yourself injured!

In yoga, we strive to attain “Sthira sukham asanam” which, roughly translates into say that yoga should postures should be done with “steadiness and ease.”

We need to put in EFFORT while practicing EFFORTLESSNESS in our lives.

Here’s three ways to practice effortless effort with your goals, desires, and life:

1. When you are working towards a goal, where else can you relax in your life? Let go of everything that you don’t need at the current moment!

Running, we need to soften our arms, our jaws, our shoulders, to run faster. The same is true in life.

While you are working on one task, what can you relax? Can you maybe allow for more relaxation, schedule a massage, plan your meals if cooking is too much on top of everything, hire a personal trainer if you know you won’t make your gym class, etc. Find a way to let go of other forms of stress in your life. And always be sure to leave what you don’t need at the door! Don’t bring your work to your kids, don’t bring your personal drama to the office, be focused on the task at hand and LET GO of absolutely everything else.

2. BE PATIENT.

Let go of the things you cannot control. Know that reaching a goal, change, making the life you dream, all these things take time. And you need to be willing to wait for things to happen. You can’t force things to happen at a faster pace than the universe wants. You can’t make things happen overnight. Things take time. Let them take time. Be okay with the process. Be okay with the pace.  Practice patience.

3. #PassLove to your goal

Treat your goal like a person. #PassLove to your goal. Would you squeeze the living daylights out of another person! (I hope not!) Don’t squeeze the living daylights out of your goal!

Whether it be a career change, a personal goal (like marathon training), your relationship, you name it…treat the goal, the thing, the desire like you would a person.  Be good to it. Love it. Treat it with kindness and compassion.

What do you think? Do you practice effortless effort in your life?

5 Comments

  1. Terence Young April 15, 2014 7:59 am  Reply

    So true Lora. I certainly do practice Effortless Effort in my life although I catch myself forgetting and getting too worked up over some things sometimes. It’s a practice that we all have to remind ourselves of. I believe it is letting go and letting the Universe just flow. Allow what is… and just be here NOW. Thanks for the reminder. Great post!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Train Healthy Be Wealthy

  2. Jennette April 15, 2014 8:52 am  Reply

    Ahhhh! Breathe. Great points in this article, especially about softening. Too often I find that I have been holding my breath, bracing myself for something, and I should be softening and embracing the moment.

  3. Nichole C April 15, 2014 2:54 pm  Reply

    I def try to effortlessly make an effort, butttt sometimes that doesn’t happen! Thanks for the reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Orangespoken April 19, 2014 8:47 am  Reply

    I often try to get this point across to my teachers when I’m helping them with their instruction. I tell them that teaching, while it uses a GREAT deal of effort, should also be natural and effortless. We talk about having “with-it-ness” all. the. time. I think a lot of times it’s because they’re so stressed out about the “what ifs” that they can’t relax and truly enjoy teaching. Great, great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

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