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A zen performance philosophy

Last week, I posted on the idea of entitlement.  This struck a chord with many readers and raised many questions. In this week’s post, I offer some ideas in what else you could do.

Key points:

  • Endeavour, Earning and entitlement are three different ways to live your life
  • Each of these ways requires a different focus in what you do, and what you get back
  • They also massively change the way you impact others.

The large dissatisfaction that seems to be present in the world can be reframed when we consider the 3 ‘E’s of expectancy – Entitlement, earning and endeavour.  What we expect changes when we understand the nature of our expectation.  There is a mot that can be learned from Zen philosophy that can change the way we live our lives, remove distress and create more value.

These three frames describe different ways to approach achievement.

The first, endeavouring, puts the achievement in the future. It is through purposeful striving that you seek to reach a distant or difficult destination, and the benefits are accrued in the journey. Endeavour speaks to working with purpose, to striving without regard for payback. For doing what is right without regard for what you deserve.

  • What are you endeavouring to achieve right now?
  • And what will that give you?

The second, earning, suggests a transactional approach. You reduce things to a trade off, to a competition, to fixed value. In this model you exist in the past – the effort that earns you your reward is complete, it happened before. What you have denotes the past effort, and others that don’t have must not have made the same effort, right? (Except the playing field is never level and luck always sits at the table).

The reward is separated from the actions, and you only act as a way of getting. The meaning is in the reward, rather than in the outcomes that emerge.

  • What do you believe you have earned, and be bestowed upon you?
  • How did you earn it and who decides?

The third, entitlement, suggests that no effort is required and no endeavour is needed. By virtue of some static quality, you have a right to the reward. It might be due to your race, your gender, your income level, your social status. Mostly, it is due to luck. As you demand your right, you ignore those who don’t have these same things that you do. You ignore that some people may have earned what you demand, and some people endeavour to achieve it. Your entitlements disenfranchise others.

  • What are you entitled to?
  • What makes you entitled?

When you shift your view to purposeful endeavours, the world changes. What would you strive for, that provides its own outcomes simply in the process of acting, rather than being somehow earned or entitled? Value is created through endeavour. It is traded through earning and taken through entitlement.

If you were entitled to nothing, what would you strive for?

If there was no strict reward for your effort, for what would you strive?

If luck is always at the table, how can you acknowledge this and pass it forward to others? How can you share your good fortune to help empower others, so that as they strive, they can create things of value in their lives?

If you are looking to change the approach you take to performance and create true and lasting value, contact me now for coaching, consulting or presentations customised to help you find your better way.

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