The title of this week’s column, ‘Unfollow Success’, is a bit radical – especially for a person who has authored his first book itself titled as “Think Success and Be Successful’! Well, I wish a huge success for every individual in every positive venture. However, the core intention of this write-up is to share those benefits which I have been receiving by way of shifting my focus from the ‘ultimate result’ to the ‘live moment’!
Yes, when we follow success desperately and with full passion – definitely it adds up to our chances of achieving our goals, but in most of the cases, it also introduces a considerable quota of performance anxiety. When I counsel students, the most frequently asked question remains this: “I prepare so well for my tests that I can write down all the answers without referring to my notes – especially when I am seated on my study table. However, the same question, makes me go blank in the examination hall when it appears on the white sheet called ‘question paper’! Why?”
Over-excitement kills performance and joy. One of the prominent reasons for the student’s experience is the cascading impact of an extreme emotion called ‘excited expectation’. Desire and desperation are good as long as they do not disrupt your ability to put your skills into action. Beyond a certain limit (which may vary for individuals), excessive focus on the desired outcome dampens the nerves. The student who knows all the answers hits the nervousness buzzer as soon as he/she enters the examination hall. Confidence shakes, and the mind gets into the ‘fight or flight’ mode. One can not fight when courage is low, and hence efficiency run down happens at such moments, as the mind irrationally surrenders!
The solution to such undesirable fallout is to ‘unfollow success’. This essentially means that one should uphold the belief in the ability to be victorious but simultaneously set the performing faculties free of unfair expectations. When you repeatedly communicate those expectations with yourself, it leads to the germination of anxiety, which in turn destroys courage.
Laddu Pinto, who is the president of a large consumer durable company, once shared an insightful experience with me. He said, “Whenever I become extremely expectant about a specific result, invariably the output deceives me. On the contrary, when I create a powerful visual of a strong victory and peacefully pursue all my actions without bothering about the future which has to unfold, I end up achieving beyond my expectations!” He further said, “excess of everything is bad. An incessant demand for a self-professed and creatively visualised future, as a by-product generates apprehensions. It’s all about vibrations — when doubts haunt badly it leads to disappointments!”
I would strongly advocate that beyond a limit, one should stop telling the story of success to oneself as it may do more harm than good. Disproportionate attachment with expected goals might even make a purposeful affirmation backfire! When we propose a successful future for oneself, primarily it is based on a conviction that ‘what we wish for tomorrow is absent today!’ Subsequently, the words we continually repeat, the thoughts we dwell with day and night, makes us focus on the ‘absence of success’, more than the ‘presence’ of it. The dominating chatter inside our mind triggers the ‘emotion of defeat’ which gets picked up comfortably by our subconscious mind.
Today, if I were to advise madam PV Sindhu for her game, I would strongly recommend her to shift her priorities consciously. When we desire to win a gold medal, but our focus is on the lack of it, that’s what manifests!! She is by all standards a superb player who gives her best to every aspect of her game. I admire her enormously and like every other sports lover, aspire to see her on the podium as the world champion. I am very sure; this is going to happen at a destined time. I wish Ms Sindhu get into the deliberate mode of switching her desperation from the ‘result’ to her ‘live performance’.
Many people whom I coach in my Thought Engineering workshops, tell that they are more fearful about an unfortunate result than they are expectantly excited for a glorious victory. That’s when one is mentally practising failure more than success. The constant apprehension, “What if it does not happen the way I wish?”, keeps one moving away from the realisation of dreams.
If you are one who believes that progress has been eluding you in spite of your being capable – look inside, maybe you need to stop thinking some thoughts. The urge to repeat visualisation of fear & past failure has to be curbed. Do not try to figure out what went wrong or be tempted to justify your history, but accept it with grace. Just unfollow success and start focussing on your work.
Get ready to welcome a new impulse of hope, performance and success.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.