I was at Wisdom 2.0 Business here in New York recently and after listening to all the speakers and talking to people, this sentence kept ringing in my head:

What if everything is exactly at it’s supposed to be right now?

It felt to me like a lot of people who were into mindfulness and meditation to get away from something they didn’t like, or to perform better at their jobs.

I’m all for peak performance, of course.

But I’m even more for loving the present moment. Loving what is. Myself, and everything “outside” of me. All of it. No matter how much I may think I disagree with it, or think it “should” be different.

This sentence first started circling around in my head in 2009.

It felt like heresy at first.

“No, things are NOT as they should be. I should be more successful, I should be making more money, I should be happier. I need to push myself hard or things will never change, they will stay this way forever, and that would be unbearable.”

Suggesting the thought to the people around me, I got the same response. “How can you say they are how they should be when we’re in debt and we don’t know where the money is going to come from and this is wrong and that is wrong?”

It’s so ingrained in our culture to always focus on and point out what’s wrong, unacceptable, what needs to be fixed, that we never realize that it’s become a way of life. We’re afraid to stop this constant judgment. We’re afraid something awful would happen if we stopped with the judging for even a minute.

But that’s exactly what’s needed.

Only by loving ourselves, loving the present moment, loving everything, can we find that center of power within that lets us live a life of truth.

Everything really is as it should be, right now.

You. Your feelings. Your accomplishments. Your needs and desires. Your pain. Your body. The world. The pain and suffering in others. Politicians. The government. Taxes. Your boss. That client that keeps annoying you. The way your wife loads the dishwasher. Your bank account. Your banker. Your parents. Your neighbors.

What if all of it is exactly as it should be? How would that change things?



What Are YOU Running From?

by Ari Andersen on November 18, 2015

I want to share a personal story with you that I think you’ll probably resonate with, and I’d love to hear from you.

About ten years ago, I was sitting in my apartment on Kong Georgs Vej in Copenhagen in Denmark with my newborn daughter (I love you Flora) and my now-ex wife.

I was developing a new software product for my startup with a co-founder who lived in Silicon Valley, who had written my favorite user interface design book, and led the UI team at Yahoo. I was so counting on her and the startup being my ticket out of “here”.

Each night, as we were sitting in the living room watching TV or whatever we were doing, I’d be on the computer, coding. We had this cool black Eames eggshell rocking chair, which I’d always sit in and code code code. At night I’d dream of being acquired by Yahoo for $100M.

The reality was that the market our product was targeting wasn’t really big enough to make it sustainable. That our business relationship was working like shit, we were not a good match, and 9 hours of time difference certainly didn’t help. Even if the market had been big enough, our take on the problems and how to solve them were way off-base.

There were all these problems with the setup, and a lack of code wasn’t one of them. And yet, there I was, night after night, writing more code. It was the only tool I knew of in my toolbox. Any problem I faced, I was hoping I could fix it with more code. In reality, I was only digging my own grave deeper and deeper.

It’s like those roadrunner cartoons where Wile E. Coyote finds himself running mid-air, only belatedly realizing there’s no ground under his feet. Thats’ how it felt. I was trying to run ever faster, not realizing that my feet weren’t touching the ground, and all the spinning of legs in the world wouldn’t make an ounce of difference.

In my coaching, and in my life in general, this is something I see a lot. We’re running and running, not noticing that we’re mostly running in place. Even if there’s some movement, we’re still spending way more effort than Is needed.

It’s painful to realize when we’re doing this (and we all do it from time to time), but it’s much better to realize it now than later.

How do you know you’re running? You’re tense. You just gotta do this, get to this point, get over this, then things will be better and you can relax and stop to look around a bit. You always feel like you’re behind, or things aren’t quite good enough yet.

What are you running away from? I was trying to run away from a life I didn’t like. I loved my daughter from the moment I met her. But I was living in a country I did not want to live in. I was in a highly dysfunctional relationship, though I didn’t quite realize it at the time. Mostly, of course, I was running from myself. I was so committed to hating myself, to the idea that I was a worthless piece of scrap, and only through generous helpings of daily punishment and whipping was there any hope for me.

What are you running to? I was dreaming of a life where I had lots of money and I imagined that would make all my problems go away. I had this fantasy that the super rich lived in a world with no traffic jams, no logistical problems ever, no relationship issues. With enough money, I figured, you can just have everything exactly the way you want it all the time, and never have to experience any pain or upset or frustration. I also believed that with enough money, all my insecurities and self worth issues would go away. Yeah, right. But I believed it, without ever having examined the assumption.

How do you turn it around? It’s simple but not always easy: You stop. You sink into the present moment. You notice everything. You feel everything. And you love everything. Or at least open up to the possibility of loving it. That right there immediately gets your feet closer to the ground. Now you can start moving more slowly and deliberately, where each step actually counts.

It’s something you can do in an instant, and it’s something that takes a lifetime of practice.

I’d love to hear from you. If this resonated with you at all, tell me:

  • What are you running from?
  • What are you running to?
  • What is your version of “coding”—what do you do that you know isn’t really working?

I’m serious. I really want to know.

Thank you so much.