Once upon a time there lived a poor archer who hit his target every time – no matter how small, how far. When he pulled his bowstring into position, he became the picture of concentration, calm and focus. It would seem as if the arrow was being released not from the bow, but from him. He used his skills for hunting food for his family, and was pretty happy with whatever he got.
One day a rich man challenged him to hit a target. Was pretty easy for the archer. Just when he started to put his bow into position, the rich man announced a bag of gold if he shot the target. The archer was thrilled. When he was about to pull the string, the rich man said he would provide him a new house which would secure his family forever. The archer was now anxious. Just as he took aim, the rich man announced that he would sponsor the archer’s children’s education too – if he shot the target. The archer’s hand started shaking….
And for the first time ever – he missed.
Mindfulness is not in opposition to high performance. In fact it is the very essence of high, nay…maximum performance.
Having big goals is OK – but that might be a 1000 steps away. For now, our mind needs to be completely in the next immediate step.
Time travelling into the past or future due to anxiety or pressure takes our mind away from the present, and hampers our performance.
This is true for any present moment in our entire life, not just when that moment is part of a bigger goal.
When you are simply aware completely of the present moment – whether washing dishes or practicing for a marathon – you are living your life fully. Without adulteration.
Mindfulness produces an optimal life! Your goals are just a subset.
Accepting the present moment is not approving that “This moment is OK/good” Then you are still judging it as per benchmarks created from past experience or future expectations.
Accepting the present moment is realizing that the only way to better the quality of any and all future moments is to do complete justice to the present moment by being fully present. Regardless of the outcome. Anything else is suboptimal.
This approach seems simpler, lighter – offers the best of all worlds.
And therefore we believe it cannot be true. Seems too good to be true. That belief is the biggest problem.