#103 - Lessons from the Monks
Attachment, it's you, and compassion
I’m planning another visit to the monks.
I learnt a lot from the first trip. Here are three learnings + how they apply to Unplugged. 👇
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I need this to be happy.
We’ve all been there. My life used to be governed by it. But you don’t need it, and neither do I.
A lot of work stress is attachment. We need to do this…
It’s rarely true. Rarely as urgent as it feels.
In fact it’s this attitude that gets in the way. The stress actually slows us down.
I now care a lot less about deadlines.
In the early days of Unplugged I remember how painful it was. A two week delay to our first cabin felt like the end of the world. It wasn’t. Obviously.
When we’re stressed about missing a deadline it’s a sense of we need to hit this deadline.
Honestly? Of course we don’t.
A caveat: if you work someone else, and they insist on deadlines. There’s little you can do. But then again, do you really need that boss?
I’m keen to move fast with Unplugged. We’ve got a big task ahead, and time is of the essence. So sure, let’s have an ambitious plan. But if we don’t hit it?
We’ll change the plan.
I’ve seen cultures where a failed plan leads to a “who dunnit”. A hunt for a scapegoat. That’s toxic.
I much healthier approach, I find, is to assume it’s my fault. And you know what? It usually is.
Because any frustration I feel, isn’t really the other persons fault. It’s me.
This is another gem from Buddhism: Any problem we have with others is an “us” problem. Not a them problem.
They’re just being a person. The frustration we feel is because it didn’t match up to our expectation. Well, we got it wrong.
Or, almost always, it presses our insecurities.
Back, again, to our first cabin delay: I initial felt frustration towards the supplier.
How ridiculous! Of course stuff will go wrong. Could they have done better? Sure.
But the real issue? I was not prepared. I was still trying to raise the money, or had promised an earlier launch, or whatever else. I was caught out.
I had not left enough margin for error. That’s the key. When we get angry with someone it’s because we didn’t prepare for this. We didn’t prepare for the uncertainty of life. Isn’t that crazy?
Preparing isn’t figuring out everything that could happen. With life that’s impossible. It’s readying yourself for life’s inevitable curve ball.
A great way to do that is to take ownership of every problem in your mind. This is my fault. With love, not self-loathing. But own it all the same.
It’s truly empowering.
Which brings me to the last lesson.
Compassion is almost a dirty word in our society. It’s certainly not one people take seriously. Much in need of a rebrand.
But the more I ponder all this, the more I see compassion as transcending all else.
Here’s a definition:
According to Buddhism, compassion is an aspiration, a state of mind, wanting others to be free from suffering.
A state of mind. Of operating. That’s what real compassion is.
It’s easier said than done, mind. But if one could go into each and every interaction with true compassion? What a life that would be.
It works for startups too. If you start approaching everyone with unconditional compassion: Suppliers, team members, customers, competitors. Then the world’s a lot less scary. It becomes a great game.
It’s not binary of course. I’m better, but work to do. But I’ll keep improving.
That’s all there is to it really:
You have what you need to be happy. It’s all on you. So be kind. And enjoy the ride. 🚀🙏
My Week in Books📚
History of the Peloponnesian War by Thucydides
Done! Not an easy read. A real sense of satisfaction finishing it though. And the last 100 pages or so, about Sicily, are great. I’ll be back for another go next year.
Bezonomics by Brian Dumaine
Hard to overstate Amazon’s impact. A look at just what the implications are. Interesting.
I’ll be updating the books I’ve read this year here. Any recommendations? Let me know! See 2021’s books here.
A Final Thought 💡
“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
– Scott Adams