Question is: If you have a big vision, what do you think would be the
secret to fulfilling that vision without losing everything you’ve already got? Clue: Appreciation grows. What you don’t appreciate, depreciates.
The worst date I ever had was with one of the most astonishing women I ever met. Physically stunning but I never really got to meet her beyond that. It was in rural NSW at a retreat, one of the thousands I have attended in the course of my studies. The subject was Reiki, and I was attending to gain level 3 status. Reiki is about energy movement and is often used in bodywork. My application was business.
At the end of the course, my mate and I invited two of the women who were attending to do some further practice of the hands on body work at his home nearby and of course, we all knew what that meant in reality. My mate had his eye on the tall blonde statuesque woman, but back at his house, her and her friend had already agreed on the pairing. His disappointment was conspicuous and the glair he was giving me at every opportunity. He was really pissed off.
The evening progressed and he and his second choice went off to bed, while I sat quite disinterested in taking things much further with my, very enthusiastic and highly sexual partner. To put it bluntly I just wasn’t into the whole have a quick night thing with her.
That night my mate got his partner pregnant. Which cascaded over the ensuing months to a significant expense and trauma for him. I dated my blonde friend a few times and came to the realisation that her interest in sex was actually her profession. I also found out that the butt hose in the shower was not for health purposes, it was for anal sex preparation. I had no idea and made a right idiot of myself talking about the benefits of enema.
The point of all this is not to disgust you. The point is that none of this had anything to do with my vision, 100% distraction. And my mate, not appreciating who he was lucky enough to find a connection with that night, being resentful and probably fantasising about someone else while he made the night with his partner, got clumsy.
If we don’t appreciate what we’ve got, we would be wise to walk away because we are not going to keep it, regardless.
If we are complaining about our job, we are going to get fired soon anyway, or demoted, or a bad review.
If someone is complaining, and not thankful for their partner, their partner is going to find an alternative source of goodness. The complainer may as well walk away.
Complaining about things is a sport. There are tribes of people who complain about the same thing.
I recently watched a documentary on sex workers. Nearly all of them, not all, came from very strict quite religious, high expectation families where sex and sexuality was a taboo topic. The sex workers became fascinated with sex because it was repressed, and because of this, they expressed sex in secret.
Just because we complain about something it doesn’t mean we get rid of it. Parents complain and therefore are not thankful for the social media aspects of youth screen time. All this does is forces a divide between the teen and the parent. It isn’t missing, just because parents complain about it. What you don’t appreciate, just changes form.
In vision setting, which, as we’ve discussed in previous questions in this series, vision is just one of 11 steps to living a vision. This is so important because when we start visioning a future it is just so easy to start infatuating being somewhere else other than where we are. We can start not appreciating what we’ve got. It’s really too easy to fall into the trap of my mate at the evening wishing he was with someone else but still going ahead with his dream.
If you don’t appreciate what you’ve got you loose it. There is nothing surer. And yet, a vision is saying, in many ways, what you’ve got isn’t enough. So how do you reconcile the two?
If you can put aside the appetite for either appreciating what you’ve got and therefore the fear of losing it, and put aside the appetite to create something new, your goals and vision for growth and improvement, you will, for a moment, find Zen. Detachment.
This pure an wonderful state of Zen is neither wanting better nor fear of loss. As we call it, it just is. And, if we could all be Zen, the world would be wonderful. Except – there would be a few issues.
No one would farm. No bus drivers. No oil rigs. No electric cars. No MacDonalds. No pharmaceuticals. No beer. No Yogurt. No Doctors. No Hospitals. Nothing would happen because there’d be no appetite to cause it. And so, we have the concept of a Vision. A vision is external to a human being, it asks simply, “what do you want more of?” A vision gives birth to motivation, to drive, to courage, to enthusiasm, to resilience, to joy, happiness, fun, procreation and the whole commercial world. Without it, we’re cooked. Mao tried to educate people not to have a vision except for the one he dictated. They perished in their millions. People without a vision, die.
But then there’s the other side. And if you can put that outer self aside for a few minutes while you hear and read this, you’ll get the answer to today’s question clearly. While the quality of the outer life is dependent 100% on goals, vision and achieving those ambitions, the quality of the inner life is the complete opposite. Thankful for what you’ve got.
The more thankful you are for what you’ve got the more satisfied, content, inspired, happy, fulfilled and peaceful you become. This is the experience one has in an ashram or Zen retreat. Complete and utter contentment. Goals and visions go out the window and we learn to be grateful for what we’ve got. The power of now, living in the moment.
You can have the two – the inner contentment and the outer ambition. You do not need to prioritise one over the other. They work hand in hand but they must be kept separate because they are two separate aspects of your humanity. Your inner and your outer self beat to two different drums and when one takes over from the other, there’s trouble brewing immediately.
When outer wealth takes over from the innerwealth it would be the equivalent of a tree getting taller without the roots getting deeper. We’ve all seen that with people who got richer and richer, or performed in sport better and better, or in business higher and higher, or in music more and more famous, until they crashed faster than a lead balloon.
Then we’ve seen the opposite. Those who come to work obsessed with interpersonal relationships, obsessed with cultural values, obsessed with changing the world so they could, for a bit, feel at peace. Those who do sea change in retirement and bore themselves to death, or those who meditate so much they forget to go to work and can’t pay the rent.
Most people tic toc between these two extremes but that’s like going down the river banging against the sides in order to steer. Better if we find the middle of the river and enjoy the ride. To do so, we need to value both innerwealth and outer wealth equally and, if possible, witness the crucial aspect of one for the other.
We use this word to describe the idea of being able to do something for a very very long time. Sustainable resource management or sustainable lifestyles. Sustainable is the exact word to use for the blend of innerwealth and outer wealth. Building innerwealth without outer goals and visions is impossible and unsustainable because there is no growth in it. That would be called comfort zone stagnation. And we’ve all been near a swamp where the water didn’t flow. It’ stinks.
The opposite is also true. Wealth creation and goals without innerwealth for anyone who cares little for the quality of their inner life or love for themselves, burn out. What did Bob Marley say “some people are so poor, they only have money.”
If anything is going to go pear shaped bad for a person it’s in this balancing act between the inner and the outer worlds. Trying to build the outer wealth thinking that it will somehow make the inner world feel right is the first and most unconscious of those mistakes. The second is thinking that by building inner happiness, the world is going to make them a billionaire, it’s quite the opposite, happiness creates poverty if it’s not balanced with outer wealth.
The next big error people can make in building inner and outer wealth is to use the squeaky wheel syndrome. What this means is that people try to build outer wealth in one or two aspects of life instead of all seven and it’s the equivalent of driving a car with a flat tyre.
This same unbalanced approach to the innerwealth is the same. People try to be happy at home but busy and stressed at work calling it work life balance. It’s a ridiculous notion that families at home should pay the price for imbalanced incompetence at work.
For 35 years, I’ve lectured, written about, done retreats about and done podcasts and YouTube videos to explain the importance three aspects of life that must be kept equally prioritised. Vision. Inspiration. Purpose.
Vision is the outer wealth, and includes goals, affirmations, visualisations, daily habits and energy management. Covering all seven areas of life with values for clarity and enthusiasm.
Appreciation is for innerwealth, and includes the constant maintenance of thoughts to balance, evolving judgements, quality of recovery, how you think and inspiration, listening to the inner voice louder than the opinions of others.
It’s quite ironic that the outer wealth is built by satisfying the opinions of others, while the inner wealth is built by ignoring them.
That’s some great food for thought for you today.