How to Get out of Your Own Way (and Tackle Any Challenge)
Like in football, we want to tackle our challenges head on. We want to find solutions and be proud of how we resolve to meet our challenges at each stage of our lives. We care about the meaning of what we do. But we’re often too much in our heads. And as a result, we get in our own way. To tackle our challenges we must go beyond (or below) this mindset and integrate the rest of our body. As much as it’s beneficial to approach our challenges analytically, it can also interfere with simple truths. It’s easy to get too caught up either trying to figure everything out or becoming too busy.
We can be busy, distracted, irritable, or just absent with how our life is unfolding today. It’s hard to create meaning in our pursuits, let alone to take a stand and meet our challenges when we’re not present. Present with the world and ourselves. Not just lost in our thoughts, time traveling. And I don’t mean to say that there’s no value in learning from the past, or imagining what the future could look like. But to tackle our challenges successfully, we necessarily need a more balanced approach to them.
Think about the following ways you can incorporate balance in your life:
- What can you use your legs and arms for?
- What do you see with your eyes?
- What can you do with your voice?
- How could you better use your ears and nose?
- How can you appreciate your sense of taste?
- How can your hands add more value?
We might not think much of our legs and arms because we’re constantly on auto-pilot. But what if you could no longer go on a walk? When was the last time you used your arms to hug your loved ones? And what do you think about food? Do you rush to it eat, or do you take some time to see it, smell it, and actually enjoy it? Our eyes are under-used, but overworked. What do you see outside: Just a bird? Just a tree? Or do you take interest and time to observe your environment? And think about how we use our ears: to wear earphones? When it comes to our nose, maybe we could enjoy more deep breaths. And with our hands—maybe we could create more, and maintain less.
Our body is the most valuable asset we have. We can use it or slowly lose it. Exercise, give it nutrition, drink water, take care of it. Engage your neglected senses. With a healthy body, we can tackle any challenge. These are simple truths we forget about. They’re not a substitute for getting things done—they’re a complement to. One of my favorite authors, Nassim Taleb, author of Antifragile, says he walks a mile and a half (body) for every paragraph he writes (mind). When you feel you’re reaching a stalemate, take a step back and give your self time to recover. To think outside of the box you need to be outside of the box too.
When we do something new and challenging, we tend to approach it from one angle or another. We focus on the issues analytically or creatively. But parallel to using our whole brain, we must also focus on our whole body. We must not yield to distraction or take poor care of our health. Perhaps we should take our bodies (and thus our time) more seriously. Your body today is already worth more than all the wealth you could ever accumulate. It’s also as valuable as the mind when it comes to helping you be more creative in solving challenging problems.
Juan F. Diaz
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