What goes up, must come down. What's seen as fitness one month will be seen as 'losing fitness' another month. What's deemed success will be seen as anything but the year later. How do we remain content when goal posts are constantly moving and uncontrollables are often thrown in our way?
We, as humans, have a terrible habit of not only struggling to retain contentment but actually find it in the first place. We think we know the secret to discovering it, but are proven wrong when we reach a chosen destination but our wandering eyes set sail somewhere else immediately. Or we find ourselves riding the wave of momentum, onboard what we think is the contentment train (one way ticket to fulfilment please), only to be de-railed by a sudden problem or injury. We're disheartened, struggle to find the station again and often decide to give up. Until, that is, we set our sights on the next lofty goal. 100% sure that this time, it will lead us to contentment.
I think we are getting it wrong. In particular, I am.
Goals are great. I have discussed, talked and written a lot about the power of having goals and working consistently towards them. A focused mind is a forgiving mind. However, to retain contentment in this life (no matter what goal you are working towards) the secret could simply be in choosing 'attitude over outcome'.
Attitude over outcome.
Externals are not in our control. Our attitude always is. This isn't just referring to our ability to handle the world when shit hits the fan. It's about knowing your life rules. Preferences that become our individual truths. Being crystal clear on what decisions and behaviour give us contentment, and then letting go of the rest.
Recently, my sciatica problem returned meaning my plans and goals were well and truly messed up. No riding and no end of season racing. The emotional journey began of frustration, anger and sadness. Struggling to deal with being out of my control and the plans I thought would lead to contentment were broken.
A few days later, my mind became more open and understanding. Adapting quickly and wonderfully the way humans always do. I sat with the concept of being focused on 'attitude not outcome' and realised a life truth of mine is 'find progression'. Instead of being overwhelmed by the backwards progression of racing, I focused on the upwards progression of back rehab. What initially felt pointless became purposeful - stretching daily, walking daily and reaching out to a specialist. I found my progression, just in a different way.
'Contentment' isn't judgemental. It doesn't wait for external factors to be aligned or certain goals to be achieved. It's an emotion that favours the flexible and the forgiving. So find your truths - those preferences that no matter what happens, you can stay true to - and say yes to the daunting and inevitable concept of external change. No matter which road you take, it turns out contentment is just like coffee. Consistently there for you, no matter what.