The Fine Art of Detachment

view it Posted by on Feb 4, 2012 in Personal Growth, Writing | 0 comments

try this out Have you ever noticed that when you stop focusing on something, it comes to you? Give up on meeting that special person, and there he or she is. Give up on trying to solve a problem and the answer just comes to you. The list of examples goes on and on. I’ve heard a lot of reasons why this phenomenon happens with such regularity. Some say it’s because you free yourself from trying to solve the problem with normal means. Some just say it’s the way the world works. Some just say God works in mysterious ways. It turns out that it’s actually one of the Universal Laws, like gravity. It’s the Law of Detachment. You’re letting go of trying to control how it comes about. Years ago, I heard Esther Hicks/Abraham describe it this way. You place your order at the restaurant, then you let go and trust that the chef is going to deliver something that delights your taste buds. You don’t go into the kitchen and try to control how the chef makes your food.

This does not mean “I don’t care.” It means being attached to the creation of the goal, but detached from the outcome. It’s about trusting the Universe to take care of the details, while you stay focused on what you want. You want a delicious dinner, but you trust the chef to create it. Basically, it’s the Buddhist definition of detachment.

For me this phenomenon has shown up in writing and developing marketing concepts for years. I would go for a walk, grab some lunch, or read a book and the idea would strike me. I used to attribute this to it simply being a case of the unrelated activity freeing my mind from the normal constraints, so then I can think of some less-than-obvious ideas. But the same phenomenon happens in all aspects of life. All of my single friends talk about how as soon as you stop looking for a romantic partner, one appears? This can’t be about freeing your mind to find loosely connected ideas.

I believe this has to do with letting go — the Law of Detachment. You let go of micromanaging the outcome. You relax, you accept that maybe you’re alright with just being by yourself, and you stop trying to create impossibly stressful and unnatural ways to meet somebody. And when you’re relaxed and okay with being on your own, you’re more attractive. It creates an environment that is ideal for growing a relationship.

Interestingly, this is also how I’ve been able to get the best work from people. I give them the assignment, the objectives, and trust them to do their best work. Often, I’ve been so surprised by the result that it took courage on my part to approve it. The work was so creative, so innovative that I would never have seen their solution as an option. It was breakthrough work — which in advertising and marketing is the Holy Grail.

When I have micromanaged or been micromanaged, the best result that anybody could create was a watered down version of the micromanager’s vision. Nobody was happy with it (unless they really had no idea of what constitutes good), and the experience of creating it was invariably awful.

The same has been true in other areas of my life. When I try to dictate exactly how I want to make money, I get a very diluted version of my original objective. And that usually means less money than I want or need. But when I let go of exactly how it looks, I get more than I imagined.

It’s easier said than done. Especially when you’re at rock bottom and struggling to pay your bills. But that’s also the best time to try it. Because if what you’ve done hasn’t worked, you might as well try something new.

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