How to Kick Back While Kickin’ Ass

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My heart raced. I could feel my chest tighten, my muscles tense up, and nerves vibrate throughout my entire body like an engine running on overdrive.

I had a huge list of shit to do sitting just to my left. Some of it I wanted to do. Some of it was nothing more than a pain in the ass but it had to get done. And some it was stuff that I needed to knock out to reach my goals.

7801007C-7892-4EE1-85B3-C903B06C5ADC-w800-h600I couldn’t wait to get it all done so I could just hit those fucking goals. Every obstacle that got between me and the goals agitated the shit outta me. And there were a lot of obstacles.

The urge to get to the other side of the to-dos was overwhelming.

I felt like I was racing against the clock. A clock that always seemed to be winning.

I envied my friends who were blessed with Type B personalities. I bet they wouldn’t understand the obsessive compulsive madness that consumed me. The undying need to get things done that always seemed to get the best of me. The low-grade panic attacks I brought to each task.

The need to accomplish. To get shit done. To get to the greener grass on the other side. To control.

After all, I don’t get paid by the hour. I get paid for done.

I have probably felt the exact way I just described over 10,000 times.

It was my operating mode. My default setting—factory installed.

And it did help me get a lotta shit done.

But it also caused me a lot of unnecessary suffering while I did it. And I didn’t do things nearly as well as I could have.

I would tell myself it’s just the curse of being a Type A personality.

Or that it’s because we’re living in a world that’s going too fast for its own good.

Or that it comes with the job description of being an entrepreneur. Ya gotta hustle, right?

70115677-1781-4BCB-8F92-4AA413972780-w800-h600Well, not exactly. Not unless you wanna sacrifice your life—your very existence—for the great pursuit of more.

The truth is—with time—I’ve learned that being is actually much more important than doing.

Sure, you gotta get shit done. And yes, having goals and dreams and things to work towards is important. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for accomplishing stuff… especially great big stuff where you’re tested, tried, get to overcome a bunch of challenges; and get to learn about yourself and grow.

And who doesn’t love the feeling of accomplishment. Knowing that you fucking did what you set out to do.

But the energy—the state of being—that one brings to the doing is much more important than the things that get done.

The “things” are actually pretty trivial. Even if you’re out there changing the world.

The good news is, one doesn’t have to “do” anything to get better at being. Because you already fucking are. The fact that you exist means the being part’s been handled.

Problem is, it’s actually so simple most of us overlook it most of the time.

AD2AEFA2-3A21-4629-B66E-EF25B7970920-w800-h600It’s only our minds that complicate it, not the outside world. It’s not the tasks or the goals that cause the stress—that rushed feeling of having to get things done—it’s our thinking that puts the piss in the lemonade…

Thinking that we “need” to do this and “gotta” do that…

Thinking that there’s not enough time…

… And thinking that we can somehow control the outcomes of what we do… attaching ourselves to the results of our actions.

When actually, we don’t need to do shit, we choose to. There’s plenty of time. And once we do what we do we have no control of outcomes… zero, zilch, nada. Once you’ve thrown the ball, that fucker’s gonna land where it’s gonna land and no amount of mental Olympics is gonna change that.

A better way to live—and do—is to bring 100% of your attention to the thing you’re doing right now. And bring that attention from the place of your being.

It’s not about thinking what you gotta do next, or how things are gonna turn out. It’s just you and the thing you’re doing.

It’s about becoming fucking one with it.

Life is meant to be a quality thing. Not a quantity thing.

The funny thing is, the more I’ve slowed down—bringing the ease of being into what I do—the more I get done and I the better I do it.

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 5.14.16 PM-w800-h600It’s kinda like when I used to ride motocross… back before I lifted a bunch of weights, ate a bunch of food and turned myself into a man-child too big to have any business riding a damn dirt bike.

But back when I used to ride, there were times when it was like my body wasn’t separate from the bike or the track. It’s like the bike and even the dirt I rode it on were all one and the same. I was me, the bike and the track. Kinda hard to explain, but I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar doing something you love.

Those were the times when I rode the best and enjoyed it the most.

Call it the “zone,” the “flow,” being present, bringing awareness into what you do, living the Tao, chopping wood and carrying water (a popular Zen saying), or just slowing the fuck down.

It’s not as easy to get into the zone when doing something like checking email—probably my least favorite thing in the world to do—as compared to when you’re doing something you love… like painting, writing, running, working out, or playing sports or whatever.

now-w800-h600But there is a level of presence that can be brought into everything.

Being present with what you do makes life about fifty three thousand times more enjoyable, puts the kibosh down on stress, makes you more productive when it’s time to produce, brings more creativity to what you do, and gets a better end result. But only 100% of the time.

At least that’s been my experience.

It’s the balance—the sweet spot—between both kicking back and kicking ass, at the exact same time.

Grandma was probably more to the point when she laid it out for you… saying something like “It’s about the journey, not the destination”

God, I wish I could be as direct as Grandma sometimes. Oh well…

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Talk soon,

Big Chris

P.S. If you’d like be more present in your life, probably the best book on it is The Power of Now. I’ve gone through that thing more times than I can count over the last 13 years. Powerful stuff and to the point.

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Photo of guy meditating by vramak

Written by Chris McCombs

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Comments

  1. Amazing article, I really loved it. Thanks for all this wisdom Chris: I am quite certain that you don’t ever realize what an impact you make on other people’s life sometimes… So keep going!!

  2. Chris, this hits home for me. I have a problem focusing or enjoying now. Especially of late I’m consumed with what my future will bring and what direction I’m going in from a business point of view. This is the first time in my life where I don’t have everything figured out and it’s frustrating the shit out of me.

    I’m accustomed to having a master plan and going out there and getting it. But I’m in a transitional point in my life where I’m not really clear as to what to do yet and it’s just a weird place to be. But the few times I’ve finally relented, prayed on it and just let things be, God has a funny way of showing me little glimpses of what is to come and what I should do. But it’s almost like he’s testing me on calming the f down and letting things flow.

    It’s hard for a type a personality to do that because we’re not wired that way. But sometimes that exactly what we need to come back with a fresh perspective. And even aside from that to enjoy the moment of today. So thanks for writing this. It was like a reminder that I needed this week!

    Eddy

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      hey right on Eddy

      Eckhart’s Power of Now book helped me with this a TON

      I still listen to the audios all the time

      easy to forget

      even though it’s so fucking simple

  3. Love this Chris! Being present to the moment has done more for my happiness and productivity than anything else I’ve tried. The older I get the more time I spend in the NOW. In a way it feels like I’m slowing down the hands of time and enjoying the journey.

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      right on AJ

      you’re on one hell of an amazing journey my friend – and you’re helping a ton of people

  4. I swear dude sometimes it’s like you’re looking into my head, finding what’s frustrating me in my life and then writing something that points me in the right direction. Thanks again.

  5. Awesome. I seriously need to tell the inner clipboard lady with the to-do list to shut the hell up. Spent the evening trying hard to be “here” instead of “there.”

    PS hope you’re recovered, I am too! Kicked butt at the gym this week, surgery tape and all!

  6. …the rose that smiles today tomorrow will be dying…

  7. You have done it again, my friend. Another amazing post. I wouldn’t expect anything less. Don’t stop inspiring, the world could use more people like you.

  8. I find myself worrying about the future or what I should have done in the past this is a timely blog to stop wasting time and energy on those things I can’t possibly control or change .. Thank you for reminding me that all we have is right now and that’s what important

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      right on Steven

      if you haven’t, check out the book “The Power of Now”

      its better at laying this stuff out than anything ive found

  9. The 1st half of the blog describes me to a T. Question. Does this happen to you. When I do something I enjoy, I give it a 110%, I do it excessively or I don’t do it at all. At one time it was partying and riding motorcycles, another it was fishing, then it was running till I fucked up my knees. Last 4 years it’s been working out (crossfit). Problem is works picking up (I’m a small business owner) and I’m taking my kid to football practice 2-4 nights a week and I’m missing the gym more and more. The more I miss it the more I don’t want to go. It feels like I’m turning a corner that I don’t want to turn. I’m unable to train 4-5 times a week so I don’t want to do it at all, but yet I really want to train 4-5 times a week. Please advise.

    • Chris McCombs Chris McCombs says:

      hey mark, yeah that happens to me man – especially being an OCD addictive extreme type personality

      Just remember man, life is best is lived with balance, and 2 days at the gyms are 1,000,000 times better than none, and 4 or 4 days is really only about 50% better than 2

      Perspective is big, re-framing how you look at things can help a lot

      and meditation has helped me a TON in this area, a TON

  10. “Life is meant to be a quality thing. Not a quantity thing.”
    Amen, I hate hearing entrepreneurs brag about how many hours a week they work. I’d hate to hear how many of them have rough marriages/family life. I have too many other things I’m also passionate about aside from my business. Overall quality of life is way more important than just always doing. If you ask me, having work work more than 40 hours a week on a regular basis just means you are not efficient.

  11. I came to this realization a few months back. I found myself keeping a mental list of things that needed to be done (mow the lawn, fix the sink, etc) and would become stressed when I wasn’t doing those things. I found myself snapping at my kids, because in my mind they were keeping me from getting shit done. Now, when I feel that way I tell myself to knock that shit off. Sink works. Lawn is fine. I enjoy being with my kids much more now.

  12. Sounds like you’re becoming a yogi ;) yoga is not just about poses, it’s a way of living. I love The Power of Now, what an awesome book.

    I agree about the to-do list. sometimes I feel like it runs my life. Just being in the moment and doing the tasks without being attached is the key. I think that putting time limits on tasks and email and making it secondary to living life fully helps me.

  13. Grreat post as always – Chris!!

  14. Another excellent post Chris.

    I seem to have this weird Type “B” personality that can switch to “A” in an instant.

    I used to be a paramedic, day to day shit, like fixing something around the house, eh, it can wait.

    But put me in an emergency situation and I become an absolute dictator focused on getting shit done now and if I’m in command of the scene, you are in deep shit if you don’t do what I tell you to.

    After the emergency is done, back to my “bloodhound snoozing on the porch” personality.

    Weird.

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