If you’re at all interested in the goings on of a tiny nation at the bottom of the world called New Zealand, like I am, you will know that the Prime Minister gave birth recently. How she runs a country and looks after a baby I know not. My hat is well and truly doffed to her. She must have some kind of superpower that I don’t possess. And a husband that is well and truly “in” and helping out.
I read an interview with said husband, a bloke (don't worry – all men in NZ are “blokes”) whose face in pictures is something to behold as he hobnobs with world leaders. He’s like a kid who expects to be discovered at any moment and kicked out, crossed with sheer awe how he managed to gain entrance in the first place. Then there’s the one where he’s with the rest of the leaders’ significant others, a man in a sea of women. Wonderful.
He was talking about favourite pieces of parenting advice... now, mine is don’t listen to any advice (which, ironically, is superb advice), but second best came from this interview.
Apparently while hobnobbing with the Obamas, Barack told him his secret to parenting (and presumably running a country?) is to not panic, and it’s ok to make mistakes.
Isn’t that cool?
The fact is, and this coincides nicely with an article in the paper the other morning …
… that talks about the rise of perfectionism and the crushing pressure it puts an increasing number of people under.
To me? Perhaps it's more to it than this, I am no psychologist (I can barely spell the word), but perfectionism is just another aspect of being afraid of making mistakes, afraid of failure.
A healthy concern for not messing up is a good thing me thinks … But if you, like me, have experienced being terrified of making any decision in case it’s the “wrong” one, or falling on my face in front of an audience of people, you will realise how de-habilitating being scared of mistakes is.
You’d rather hide and do nothing than put yourself in the way of “wrong” or “failure.”
But that’s not a life is it? I’ve learnt you have to get comfortable with the fact that you will make mistakes. In doing anything, you will mess up.
Here’s where YOUR choice comes in:
You can have the attitude that a mistake is further evidence of the end of the world, of your failure and your uselessness … or you can use it as a platform to get better, to improve, to learn from.
One is a downward spiralling mess of an attitude, the other gives you peace now, and firm ground for the future.
How do you change your attitude? Just through practice and presence. Through being aware of your mind and how it will always throw up these perfectionisms and expectations and ideas and insistences and shoulds.
When you are aware of them you have choice, you can ignore them and do something different. But being aware of them is a most excellent thing. You may not like that, I understand that, but without awareness it’s like trying to play tennis against an invisible opponent … almost impossible.
Through awareness you get to see your opponent and learn their wiley ways. A great thing – I get this might not be a comfortable thing, especially if your habit is to try and hide in some aspects of your life.
Knowing your own mind and being able to direct it where you wish is the key to a peaceful and effective life. Closing your eyes and being able to develop freedom of choice is essential.
Meditation then is one of the most important things you can regularly do. You’re not dropping out, you’re actually tuning in to the fullest degree.
Go well! Arjuna
PS. My new baby, a six month mind transformation programme (which I don’t have a name for yet) is due to be launched in the near future.
To be honest, I’m still sorting out details.
But it involves working closely with me over a long period of time and discovering how to transcend the limitations and judgements of your mind.
I went with six months because alongside guidance from me, time spent at the “coal face” practicing awareness and choice is essential. I wish I could give you a magic pill, but I can’t (and even those have un-wanted side effects). I can guide you, but you have to do the simple, and enjoyable, “work.”
If you’re interested?
Just hit reply and I’ll let you know all the details as soon as possible.