“It’s all about the Journey”
“It’s the process, not the outcome!”
Seriously, I know you would have seen all the quotes and words of wisdom about how it’s all about focusing on the journey and not the destination. About how we need to focus on the process and not the outcome (this is the favoured sport psychology variety)
Even the recent quote I posted on the FlowSport Facebook page speaks of it (yes…guilty… I do love a good quote)
These things attract us because they make such logical sense! We read them and think: “yes! I need to do that!”
But do we ever actually make change? Sad to say, not usually. And If you’re struggling to put these words of wisdom into practice, then read on…
So how do we actually change our mindset from focusing excessively on where we want to be? How do we stop thinking about what we want and start focusing on what we are doing?
The answer is actually as simple as practice. Practice little moments where we can open up to the small journey’s of everyday life.
Unfortunately, this idea won’t sell books (just blog posts). It won’t fit the with quick-fix agenda that most social media self-help charlatans promote. It requires (oh the irony) a focus on the process of getting better at focusing on the process…
So how do we actually practice embracing the journey and stop focusing on the outcome?
Well, a good place to start is to take some small steps that you can implement every day. Because, like anything in life we need to start small and a way of doing this is to start with all the little “journey’s” that we take throughout the day. Those journeys that we do without thinking. Without actually noticing them. Once we have an idea of these, then we can make the deliberate intention to focus on the full experience.
Take for example, the mundane walk to the car in the parking lot, we need to look at it like we're not actually trying to get to the end result as quickly as possible. It’s not a case of distracting ourselves from the tedious situation of actually having to walk, so the goal appears to arrive quicker. We need to embrace that journey. We need to open up to it. We need to actually experience the little journey, love it or hate it, we need to practice actually experiencing that moment for what it is.
When we do it right, it means we are noticing the environment around us, absorb the smells and the sounds and noting the details and the expressions and behaviours of others around.
If you’ve walked this path a thousand times, try and notice something new about it. Treat the journey with curiosity. Look at the journey through the eyes of someone who has never done it before. Don’t avoid it by rushing it, by distraction, or by mind wandering.
By doing this deliberately, you are getting out of your head (where we are prone to "time-travel") and into the world. The desire to be somewhere quickly fades and you are learning to focus on the taking in all that the journey offers you. And guess what, if you practice it. YOU WILL GET BETTER.
So the goal is, if you can learn to do this more in your "mini journey’s", you can then learn to do it in "the big ones" and hopefully in those big competitions that require a relentless focus on the process.
So go ahead. Give it a try.
You might learn something.
You might notice something you’ve never seen before.
You might actually learn that the journey to the carpark is still part of life.
I would recommend taking one daily “mindful mini-journey” and make yourself fully open to experiencing that every day. Notice how the impulse to rush to the destination quickly comes up. Notice how you desperately try to distract your mind from experiencing the tedious nature of actually having to focus on what you are doing in that moment.
Now, I am off for a walk to the fridge. Mindfully and fully open to that journey ;)