zen habits : breathe

Getting Lost in Just Doing

By Leo Babauta

Sometimes we get discouraged about ourselves: we think, “I’m not doing a good job, I’m not disciplined, I’m not good enough, I suck.” Or something like that.

What can we do? Give ourselves a pep talk? (Sure!) Find something to appreciate about ourselves that’s awesome? (Yes!)

Another approach, highly recommended, is to just forget about it.

When we’re discouraged about ourselves, we’re doing a lot of hand-wringing about why we’re not good enough, not amazing enough, not successful enough, not special enough. But what’s so important about being special? Why are we so preoccupied with that? It’s a waste of brain cycles.

Instead, just pick something to work on. Write something, draw something, program something, animate something, sew something. It doesn’t matter. Anything that your heart is drawn to.

Set an intention for this activity: I’m doing this out of compassion for others, out of love for myself, to meet my commitment to so and so.

Now get started: begin actually doing it. Don’t worry about whether you’ll do it for 10 minutes or an hour. Don’t worry about how good you’ll be at it, or what people will think of it, or whether you’ll succeed or not. Those are not relevant to the task.

Just do. Put your mind completely in the activity, in the motion and ideas and emotions, in your body and breath and surroundings. Be completely mindful, completely immersed.

And this child inside yourself, worried about being special? He or she disappears. Gets lost, as you become immersed in the doing.

Try it now. Pick something, set an intention, and start doing. And lose yourself in the doing.


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