If you think this blog is about going from being single to being in a relationship, from being a work-at-home freelancer to joining a corporate culture, or from having no Facebook friends to 5,000 friends, keep reading.
The “alone” to “together” I’m talking about is something else. Something deeper. More unusual.
It’s bigger than just connection, camaraderie or friendship. It’s a fundamental shift of orientation. A shift of perspective. A shift of motivation that can resolve so many of the issues that nag us on a daily basis. How? By recasting our focus from what I can do alone, to what we accomplish – together.
To get you started, try the following:
1) Think about a specific situation where you want to excel – your job, physical training, schoolwork, or spiritual practice. Reflect on what it is you want to develop and why. What would be a benchmark for your personal progress? Make a note of that in your journal.
2) Now think about the same situation and everyone involved. Reflect on how the entire group could develop. How could your workplace or all your clients move forward? How could your personal transformation class or meditation group develop? What would mark progress for the whole? What could you do to contribute to that progress?
3) Now take note of the differences. How did thinking about the group’s goals make you feel? What changed in your focus? Did setting goals for the whole make you want to contribute more?
This exercise shows us the shift that occurs when we go from self-focus to a shared goal. Because what we are paying attention to and aspiring to make happen is greater than the sum of the parts. It uplifts us. It provides energy and inspiration. It takes us, in its own small way, beyond ourselves.
Open The Aperture
Someone I once had the pleasure of talking to described this as changing the aperture. For those of us who still love the feel of 35mm cameras, we know that click when you enlarge the aperture or eye of the lens, when all of the sudden the light, feel and composition of the picture completely changes.
Things come into focus that were previously blurred. The relationship between objects changes. You realize depth that wasn’t visible before. You realize perspective where there was just not enough space.
Going from an individual to a shared goal enlarges the aperture. Now we want to develop, train, apply discipline and excel – because we are doing something together. Success still depends on us. We’re still leaders or make-or-break contributors, but the focus is on where we can go, together. And that makes all the difference to how far we might be willing to stretch.
Keep Enlarging Your Aperture!
Practice enlarging your aperture every day this week by experimenting with shifting your focus from what you are aspiring to achieve, to what we can accomplish – together.
Keep some notes in your journal. Do you feel a different type of care arising? Do you feel less bothered by your own worries and concerns? Do you feel more strength and enthusiasm?
As you begin to feel a change for the better, keep working on it. Changing culture happens as we recalibrate our lens and then begin to live in accordance with the new way the world looks.
We can make a difference when we care about where we’re going together. And that new goal will also end up making all the difference for us.
When next working towards a goal, try shifting your mentality from focusing on your own benefit, to considering how you can benefit those around you. If you already do this, share your experiences below – we’d love to hear the impact it’s had.