Two of our favourite words when it comes to teaching and practicing practical spirituality, in this modern world full of a million opportunities a minute to compare and despair, are self preservation.
It’s kind of an old skool phrase but we’re reviving it for the sake of all the spiritual side hustlers out there who are working their butts off between bridge jobs in the name of all that they’re passionate about.
It’s scarily easy these days, before you even begin a new endeavour, to hop online, check out the “competition”, convince yourself there’s not an original bone in your body, or that the market is over saturated, or you couldn’t do it as well as “them” anyway and wave a white flag at your dreams.
It’s too easy to research yourself into a stupor, overwhelming yourself with every nook and cranny of detail there is to know about whatever your chosen field is. Finding every course you could do to get better at it, hypothetically spending your life savings on getting qualified out the wazoo before you’ve actually given it a go and dipped your toe in the coconut water, so to speak.
Both these super fast Internet fuelled exercises will only serve to create fertile ground for ego to plant his little seeds of doubt, and before you know it that spark of inspiration that woke you up with a jolt at 3am or that slow burning desire that’s been eating away at your commitment to your day job for the last 5 years has been safely dismissed because, because, because.
So we’d like to offer an alternative to all this self sabotaging and ego enabling. It’s called self preservation. It’s called keeping your focus on your thing. It’s called get off the Internet, stop looking at what everyone else is doing and get on with your passion project unencumbered by information overload. It’s called keeping your eyes on your prize.
Smart research and due diligence is a good thing whenever you’re starting a new venture and watching a ton of Youtube videos to learn a new skill or hobby is like totally cool, but you know in your own heart the difference between the time and energy spent that’s actually productive and that which is holding you back.
You see whether all the amazing, creative, talented people out there (and erm that’s everyone, because everyone is creative and talented at something) were doing what they love or not, it kind of doesn’t matter. For every person that sits home alone 3 hours deep into research on why they’re not good enough to do anything, there is someone who is breaking their balls to do their thing regardless. And those people who have gone before you don’t make it less likely that you will succeed, they actually make it easier.
Think about it: We’ve just written a book with Hay House. Did the work of Gabrielle Bernstein make it more or less likely that we would get that book deal? And did the work of Marianne Williamson make it harder or easier for Gabby to do her work?
Here’s the spiritual theory behind the real life evidence: The Universe is infinitely abundant. We know, it’s a mind bender for our wee human brains to comprehend because everything that we know and understand is finite, but let’s just at least pretend we get it for the next couple of lines. Infinite abundance means that there is always enough. So if you want to be a singer and someone else gets a gig or record deal it does not mean there is less chance of you becoming a singer. The Universe doesn’t work like this because nothing is ever “taken away”, only added, but if you think of all the opportunities in the Universe to be a singer as a pie, (mmm, pie!) when someone else gets one of those opportunities, that slice of the pie is immediately “replaced”. When you approach the pie for a slice, there is just as much as there was when the other person got their slice. In fact, the more people that create from a place of love and joy and inspiration the bigger the pie gets! So by the time you go up for your slice from the buffet of life, there’s actually more for you to choose from! Pretty cool, huh?!
So instead of feeling downhearted whenever you see someone else making strides doing their version of your passion project, flip it, with self love!
So what someone else got press in your field? That’s great, it means that magazines are open to writing about what you do! So what someone else did a super successful workshop on your speciality? That’s awesome, it means folks are willing to buy tickets to learn about that!
And a word on originality: It’s helpful and kind to yourself to remember there is nothing truly original left to create. Everything has been done before to some extent. Modifications, customisations and adaptations can and will be made. But as for a truly original idea, forget it! Which, of course is super cool because it means the pressure is off. It means you don’t need to be the first or the original to get started. You can just be you! Your voice, your style, your tone is the modification, the adaptation, the 2.0.
Thank the lord that Jennifer Lawrence didn’t say “Well there are a lot of young beautiful talented female actors out there. I should probably just get over it and give up. Plus what’s the point while ever Meryl Streep is alive?!”
And thank heavens that Ed Sheeran didn’t say “There are thousands of tortured teenage guitar playing singer songwriters out there, why bother?! What could I possibly add? And the dude who plays Ron Weasley has already got the cute ginger market cornered!”
Start treating yourself and your side hustle like you’d treat your bestie and her thing... With love, compassion and enthusiasm. Tune out of the obsessive comparing, tracking, snooping and researching and get on with the business of being awesome. (It’s a full time job y’know!)
In practical terms it looks like this: Turn off the notifications on your phone. Unfollow people that trigger you. Have a serious talk with yourself about marathon Googling sessions. Stop reading books by people you think you’ll never be as good as and stop looking at images of people in magazines and on Instagram that make you feel inadequate. Curate the information you take in on a daily basis to support you instead of bringing you down.
Treat your social media feeds and offline circles like a house party you're hosting – only invite people that will bring a good vibe into your space, who will elevate your thinking and not make you worry about them spilling their crap on your metaphorical cream carpets. (Or worse, you having an "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!" moment! LOLZ. But serious!)
Love, joy and inspiration simply do not thrive in an environment of comparison and constant justification.
So whatever your passion is, practice a little self preservation and demonstrate your commitment to whatever means enough to you that you turned down drinks with the girls or a Netflix-and-popcorn-a-thon by keeping your eyes on your prize. You totally owe it to yourself, you mystical effin’ creature you.
Has this given you some blog-spiration? Did you love it? Has it helped you? Is it totes controversial to you? Leave us a comment we wanna hear from you! xo