Observations & meditations on modern life
Work with passion, perform with brilliance
So, how do I go about change for my clients? My answer to these things is always via passion. Think about it, if your therapy is packaged in fun and enjoyment then surely you’d be more invested in it, and like everything else, the more you put in, the greater the benefit will be.
I think a lot of people would agree that a real sense of achievement and accomplishment far outweighs that of the exhilaration of charging around in a sort of frantic haze. Once you’ve tasted that sense of achievement, you realise that there is just no comparison between that and the chaotic thrill that you had before. If we actively work towards a deeper, more grounded feeling of accomplishment, we can then start to apply that to other areas of our lives.
I competed in small riding competitions when I was 12/13 years old, and it was the first thrill that I got from discipline. If I exuded high energy and excitement at a competition, my horse would easily pick up on this and wouldn’t know what to do with all that extra energy. We wouldn’t be very “calm and collected”, and the rush would cause careless mistakes and shortcuts that never ended in triumph. However, channelling that excitement into a sense of rock-solid steadiness and connection with my horse always yielded results.
I recognise this is so many different aspects of my life, even when I was younger. Around the same time that I competed on horseback, I also started working with passion behind-the-scenes in my school theatre. I learned to “call” a show – in other words, learned to sit with the script, cueing lights, sounds, crew and actors to all “go” at the appropriate times. In a live show, there’s nothing quite like the exhilaration of knowing that one slipped cue and I could plunge a scene into blackout mid-action, or I could accidentally pre-empt the siren sound effect over an emotional monologue. Unchecked, that exhilaration almost always led to these disastrous mistakes. (Yes, disastrous. Hiding mistakes in theatre work isn’t always easy! Shout out to all my stage management friends out there who spend their lives performing unintentional improvisations in order to keep an audience oblivious to the million miles an hour at which there are people moving behind the thin black curtain that separates the stage from the organised chaos of backstage). Again, the answer was always to be able to harness that energy: the thrill of there being a live audience, the anticipation of the next theatrical climax, the excitement of watching months of hard work come to a single moment. Calm Anjali could cue flawless shows. Chaotic Anjali could not.
At high levels, any sort of enthusiasm needs discipline, and that is something that applies across the board. But what happens when you don’t want to put in the work? Answer: any combination of frustration, angst, bitterness, self-loathing, and it all turns outwards on the people around you too which can be really hard to recognise. The world turns into this unfair, unjust, uphill battle that feels filled with failure. Not the most appealing picture of life is it?
Find love in what you do, and the difficulty of what you’re doing will start to dissipate. Treat your life with kindness, and it will suddenly seem a lot easier. If you’re not looking for that passion, you’ll never find it, and if you try and force it, you’ll never find it either. Work hard, and revel in the sheer joy of the results. Work too hard and you’ll be too exhausted to love anything about what you’re doing. Work too little, and you won’t have any results to fuel a positive work cycle. As with anything, it’s a balancing act, and part of life is being able to find that balance and what works for you. So don’t be afraid of the task of finding that balance. Don’t be afraid of hard work. Don’t be afraid of being the “nerd” who loves their work. You don’t have to complain about work just because the person next to you is complaining about work. And you don’t have to love work to the extent that there aren’t things to complain about. There will always be ups and downs, and that is fine. But don’t let those ups and downs knock you off your feet. Accept them, find your energy, and plunge yourself into putting love into everything that you do, and suddenly you’ll feel like you don’t “work” at all.