Whether it is about making money, creating art, contributing to others, or self discovery and development, most of us realize at some point that there are many different paths to choose from. Fortunately there is a growing awareness about this and at some point we begin to acknowledge (at least to ourselves) that one man’s food can be another man’s poison – and if poison is way too extreme then just something that is not as effective or interesting. Although I must say here that I know from my own personal experience how stifling it can be to try to follow a ‘path’ that is out of tune with one’s personality and inner rhythm. In hindsight I just feel lucky that some of the ‘paths’ that I tread on (at various points in my life) did not kill me.
We are surrounded by people who knowingly or unknowingly impose upon us or project onto us (often because they love and care for us) that the path that they have discovered (or the one that is working for them) is the ‘right way’ or the ‘best way’. It is up to us to be alert and aware at these times so that our brain does not buy into these projected beliefs as the ‘truth’. It is up to us to reframe such projections as – “his way might be the right way for him at this point in his journey. I can check it out and experiment with it without blindly believing that it is the the right or only way. There might also be another suitable way for me in my point in my journey – given my interests, temperament, priorities, ambition and hearts desires.”
Today, I am writing this article to share my growing conviction that we are the best person to choose not just our paths, but the pace at which we wish to tread on these paths as well. Just like it is easy for our brain to buy into others belief patterns of what might be the ‘right way’ it is equally easy for our brain to buy into popular belief paradigms like, ‘more is better’, or ‘faster is better’. In fact our brains are particularly more vulnerable to suggestions that contain within them a sense of implanted úrgency.
The notion of ‘faster is better’ typically holds true in survival contexts like when we have to outrun a tiger or enemy – it might even be true when we want to outcreate a competitor and launch our product before them in the market. But why does this paradigm have to be true when it comes to things like our own personal development, or growth, or discovery, or creation? Quite frankly even in the paradigm of launching a product faster than a competitor one would typically weigh the advantages and risks associated with trying to go faster. Why then in the space of personal development and growth do we fall prey so easily to teachers, coaches, or gurus who urge us to go faster.
I actually wrote the contents of this post as a note to myself and then decided to turn it into an article since I realized there might be others like me who are just waiting to be given the permission to set their own pace – whatever their space of journey, growth or creation. For me it is currently self development and consciousness. I realize that we are all infinite beings and therefore we have infinite potential which we can allow to unfurl and express. By the very definition of ‘infinite’ anybody can fathom that we are talking about a journey without a destination. What is this false sense of urgency that we pump ourselves up with then? And why do we put onto ourselves the excess stress and pressure that comes with that sense of fabricated urgency?
I am all for setting goals and milestones but let’s do it in a way where it creates an optimum level of motivation, excitement and engagement – one that uniquely works for the unique person we are. Why would we push ourselves (or allow someone else to push us) at a pace that erodes the joy of walking or skipping when on this journey. Maybe you are someone for whom running full speed (all the time) is fun – by all means go for it then. But if you are like me, and you like dancing and gliding at different speeds then you might want to look at the beliefs you are buying into from others that is telling you that unless you are moving, developing or growing at the fastest pace you are capable of – there is something wrong with you.
Watch out for the voices in your head that tell you things like, ýou are capable of more’ – followed almost with the inaudible whisper that if you don’t allow your full capability to blossom you are not good enough. Believe me – whatever your field you can ALWAYS do better. Whatever your current capacity, there is ALWAYS more potential in you. However fast you are growing, you can ALWAYS grow faster. This is because you have infinite potential and whatever field you are operating in – that field has infinite space for creation and achievement. Even the fields of self development, consciousness and spirituality!
So, drop the hurry, the angst, and the guilt of not moving, changing or growing fast enough. Your pace of development is also your choice – there is nothing wrong where you currently are and there will be no place you can get to where more growth and change will not invite you even further. Your journey is definitely not a rat-race – but it is not a race of any kind at all. What illusionary measures of time are you pitting yourself against? Your journey is YOURS to undertake, to savour, and to enjoy. So own your journey and set your own pace for today – a pace that delights you and fills you with the joy of living, a pace that challenges and engages you – but not a pace that frustrates you and throws you into overwhelm. Tomorrow you can always choose another pace – and that will be your right pace for tomorrow.