Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Passionate Detachment: A Paradox Worth Practicing

This paradoxical idea of “passionate detachment” was introduced to me years ago in my readings of Carlson’s “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff”. I call it paradoxical because I had been raised to understand that being passionate required being overwrought and stressed out as a sign of caring. I am so glad to be rescued from this approach. With time and consistent practice at cultivating this approach, I have learned to be driven with less (dis)stress, and to be committed without being bound or feeling put upon.

In a nutshell, passionate detachment is an approach to life, indeed work, which focuses on “right execution” of the process more than the outcome. One learns to enjoy the journey confident that the journey, pursued with the right spirit, will get us to the right destination, even when that destination is different than what we had originally envisioned at the outset.

I find that in this “state of grace”, I have more energy for coming up with creative solutions as less of it is tied up in negative emotions and speculations. I find that even when I do not get the outcome I envisioned (which is never guaranteed), I am more aware of the learnings the experience yields and I can take solace in a process well executed. Either outcome, these learnings make for continuous improvement and self-development, less of a negative emotional, psychological and relational toll on myself and those I lead.

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