I’ve learnt that applying a gentle conviction in pursuit of goals and dreams is a more authentic and impactful way of striving…
I’ve learnt that applying a gentle conviction in pursuit of goals and dreams is a more authentic and impactful way of striving. You see, I have chased down some pretty lofty goals in my life and I am proud of the results they delivered. It showed me just how capable I am when my attention and focus is directed and guided by passion and purpose with a plan of action towards micro-moments of improvements. Ultimately I achieved the extrinsic rewards of becoming a World Champion and Top 4 ranked In the World of Professional Squash because of this relentless, committed pursuit.
The problem, however, was that my pursuit was not supported enough by my humanistic needs which, on reflection, not only sabotaged myself but also others in the process. I learnt that I was applying aggressive conviction as a mean of force and threat and went into things with a 'win at all cost' type mentality. This was driven by a deeply insecure need for acceptance, validation, love and connection. Winning became the replacement for actually ‘feeling’ these things. Without realizing it, these needs that my inner child craved were being falsely fulfilled.
Just like the results themselves the moments of success and connection dissipated within a matter of days, sometimes hours, rendering me to chase the next 'win' to fill the void I wasn’t able to fill myself. This lead to a very transactional way of living. Many of the experiences and relationships I engaged in became transactional and I was operating from a place of need and desire, rather than giving and being. The emotional roller coaster this exposed me to made me extremely vulnerable to emotions I had no skills to control and process––which lead to a lot of frustration.
Fast forward to today, and I have realized the damage of pursuing lofty goals with a win at all cost attitude can have. I now know that deep connection, social support, adventure, nature, mindfulness, sleep and deep active recovery has more impact on our ability to perform than waking up at 4 am every day to grind it out and not fucking stop until the day is done! I’m not saying that doesn’t work, and at times you have to dig deep into the well and grind, but it comes at a heavy price tag and that price tag is attached to the very essence that makes us thrive as humans. The grind and hustle culture that continues to fill our screens and fight for our attention is doing more damage than good.
My health, well-being and performance all require a level of conviction. I aim to approach my well-being with the same focus as my work, and my health with the same conviction as my recovery, and time with quality people with deep conviction to connect listen and learn. And I experience these moments with gentleness for myself and others knowing that it doesn’t have to be perfect and all we have is this moment right now.
Pursuing each moment with a gentle conviction allows me to enjoy the ride, accept the fuck ups, and acknowledge the struggle that is required to excel in all areas of life. It is exhausting being my harshest critic. I can now give my all in moments and can reflect on my experiences with a gentle approach knowing that I can only get better if I give myself permission to mess it all up a bit. I can now trust my internal self to be my biggest supporter and to provide intuitive and intelligent feedback.
This is what I like to think of as the art of gentle conviction. It is an infinite application that will always be a work in progress, and I am ok with that.
Where in your life could you deploy the art of gentle conviction?