Love-letter from October 2022
Every autumn I feel that the rat-race is starting all over again after a rather slow summer. Now all nice sunny days are over, Estonians are back to “hard work” and hence it is a good opportunity to take a look at why this work really tends to become so hard so easily.
If we think about what can be defined as hard work then hard implies that we have either a high intensity or high load or perhaps even both. Meaning that you are putting in a lot of effort in terms of manhours and you do it with some level of pressure as opposed to going with it light and easy.
What would make us want to have such intensity and amount of hours spent working on our dreams? Yes, I assume you are working on your dreams, otherwise it becomes even bigger madness if all that you do is for someone else to be happy and successful.
The answer would have to be desire - an emotional impetus that pushes us to take action. Animals differ from plants because they have emotions on such a level that they desire to move around as opposed to flourish on one spot. In addition to desire, humans also have the ability to think, but this elemental drive to move is still inside of us all. In one way or another, we set some targets as our dreams that we want to accomplish and then this innate drive will set us in motion.
Does this movement have to be with such hardship and intensity? Nope, it doesn’t. There is even a whole movement out there that promotes effortless success. Another promoted approach is to work smarter and not harder.
When is working intense?
Clearly, we can call something intense when we spend a lot of energy on making something happen. If we can do it with less energy then it becomes easier and effortless.
Let's take an example of construction. Let’s say you need to install 10 ceiling lights and you have only one screwdriver and a hammer as tools for doing that. You will need to spend quite a lot of effort then firstly by building a ladder out of available furniture and then figuring out how to strip wires with your teeth or some other invented tool as opposed to having a proper toolset for electrical works. Now if you would add to this that it happens in the unheated house while it is minus degrees outside then the amount of energy spent goes up dramatically.
Why such an overly simplistic example? I want to bring home the point that we need to have a matching toolset and skill-set for the work at hand. Our tools need to match with what we are hunting for. If there is a match then we can say that we are in harmony with our environment. If I want to fulfill a dream then I can do it with ease when I have the necessary skills and environment for that - in which case we say that we are in harmony with the environment.
When I need to work hard then something must be off and hence we either spend a lot of extra effort to get into harmony with our surroundings (aka hunting ground) or we really lack something that would make our hunting easy. We lack some skills (aka knowledge).
How to be in harmony with the world around us?
There are two options to get in sync with the world around us. Firstly, we can change in which environment we want to operate and by the environment I mean the location where we live or the company where we work, or colleagues with whom we share the hunt/dream. These days you can even move to a different country to live in should that be a better environment for your dreams.
Secondly, we can change ourselves and adapt to our existing surroundings. This would mean that perhaps I need to learn the language prevalent in the chosen area or build relationships that make my hunt easier.
In both options, you need to make an investment for you to have an easier and smoother journey to reach your goals. You need to invest energy in order to spend less energy in the future. It is not difficult to see that we need to make such investments constantly and this is not only a one-off affair. We need to adjust ourselves to be in sync with the changing world around us. What worked yesterday does not necessarily work today.
Summing up what we have explored so far. There are three distinct lines of action we need to take when we are materializing our wants. Firstly, we need to spend energy to choose and change the environment where we operate. Secondly, we need to spend energy to adapt ourselves to the chosen environment. Thirdly, we need to spend energy to take those actions that will result in our goals being met. The confusion comes when we are not clear why we spend so much effort and why we need to work so hard. Or if we are not clear which area of those three is taking more energy than perhaps necessary or definitely more energy than we would like or even can afford to spend.
In essence, we can say that there are two different types of the hunt going on. Changing the environment and taking action that is directly related to our dream, is what can be called outer hunting. And then spending energy in order to be in harmony with the world is essentially adjusting yourself (aka self-development) and that can be called inner hunting.
Inner and outer hunting have different aspects. Outer hunting will give you what you want, ie. your goals get fulfilled, and will be more effortless in a harmonious environment. The gains are better for the effort put in where there is a good match between you, the world around you, and your goals.
It is quite the opposite for inner hunting. By definition, inner hunting states that we talk about you changing your actions in some way. If you are in a matching environment and your colleagues and customers are operating on the same wavelength then there is no possibility for you to change your wavelength and hence your gains of self-growth are low. For better gains, you would need to change your environment to be as different as possible from the one you are accustomed to.
Many people who want to work on themselves and on the mystery that life presents us, tend to confuse those two hunts and then become stressed and disappointed when their ambitions and goals are not happening or they need to spend inordinate amounts of energy to achieve simple progress.
Outer hunting is based on our wants, while inner hunting should be based on our needs (read my previous love letter), first is better in a harmonious environment, and the second in a disharmonious environment.
Switching hunting modes
Since life is not black and white then we always have both hunts going on all the time. Hence we need to switch focus constantly from one hunt to another and back. In most cases when you run into a roadblock on your outer hunt then this is a clear sign that you need to switch hunting mode.
Roadblocks are signals that it is time for us to learn something about ourselves. Hence there is no need to get stressed that while you do the inner hunt then at that time the outer hunt is on pause. Not having patience is the main cause of stress and burnout. That impatience will lead you to try to skip the inner hunts but those hunts are not really optional for us.
They are set by our inner being who is using all this outer hunting for gaining new perceptions and while it might seem like we have the upper hand in this relationship then it is harsh learning to discover that it is not so. By skipping the inner hunt we just pile all those internal goals (aka needs) and we will be forced in one way or another to tend for those sooner or later. Later means with interests which equal again more energy spent. Hence we will be forced to work harder and harder.
What was supposed to be an easy and joyful journey slowly turns into hardship and dis-ease which eventually will manifest in our physical bodies. Simply, we either get sick or something stops functioning in our bodies. All diseases are due to gaps in our knowledge. Hence should be addressed with internal hunting.
Inner and outer alignment
We have not yet touched on an important point of aligning the hunts. If we really want to work light and be in the flow then we need to have a strategy for our hunting. Some outer-world goals simply are not good for certain inner growth objectives and hence they are mismatching.
Should you have such a mismatch then the universe has to become very creative in coming up with roadblocks that would lead you to the necessary inner workings. I know many examples where life has stopped many life projects for ridiculous and unbelievable reasons. If you hear those unreal stories that people share then know for sure that they are working hard to skip some inner hunt and hence they are forced to put in an inordinate amount of energy simply to get their next step on their dream project. I am sure you have heard such examples or perhaps you even have your own to share? If yes, then I would be happy if you share it with me.
A good strategy is to assess your (learning) needs and your wants (outer world projects) and create a combined approach. I will share my example.
What are my current needs for self-growth? I need to learn how to become better at cutting out all unnecessary acts for my purpose this lifetime. If I do not do it then I end up overworking and also to the point of this love-letter - simply working too hard. My lower back warned me just a couple of days ago when something snapped in my back while getting out of the car! LOL!
I also need to follow my feelings more as opposed to getting carried away with my thinking. Otherwise, my thinking will build a very materialistic and rational world for me in which there is no mystery and no exciting adventures. Leading to quite boring hard work! LOL!
I also need to work on my fear of exposure.
What is my dream in the outer world that corresponds to those learning needs? Building a school where people could learn hunting in both worlds and therefore claim their rightful place amongst the magical beings of this universe.
What then needs to be adjusted in my daily approach? Firstly, I need to slow down my expectations for the growth of the school. If there would be 50 new students enrolling then I would not be able to provide the mentoring without really breaking my back. Hence I first need to find and train mentors who would share the load and fun with me.
Secondly, I would need to take more risks and also hire some team members while putting the school into a cash flow negative state. My mind says let's go faster while my feeling tells me that we need to go slower. As many entrepreneurs know then hiring firstly slows down the company and perhaps 6-12 months later you will see the opposite effect. I really need to trust my feelings here about who to hire ;-)
And as for the fear exposure, I have decided to become more visible with the school and hence work on personal branding which normally is not my cup of tea.
Please share your examples or as usual, ask questions!
With love and ease,
This is our monthly letter to share our views and understanding of what is happening around us, complemented with photos by Anu Martinson. If this speaks to you, hit the Subscribe button to be among the first ones to receive the fresh letter in your inbox. If you got interested in what is this journey, find us on social media or just click the chat button.