Are you TOO attached to the OUTCOME?

I often discuss methods to get what you want when dealing with difficult people. Generally, that is the correct path. Other times, the benefits you obtain might not be worth the expense – i.e., loss of time, energy, etc.In some instances, the dilemma is nothing more than prohibitive conditions or a well-meaning person not having the skill level necessary to help. In this case, it may be best just to allow things to be what they are without making yourself upset. In other words, detach yourself from the…well, “attachment” to *having* to get what you want. This goes both for dealing with people, and for “life situations” as well.

Example: Arriving at a diner with just enough time to eat quickly (sorry Mom) on my way to the airport, I ordered a salad with blue cheese dressing and an omelet. Strange combination, I know, but for some reason I had a *craving* for blue cheese that just wouldn’t quit. 🙂 I asked the waiter if I could get the salad right away as I didn’t have much time. Being a very nice young man, he said, “Of course, I’ll have it right out for you.”

Engrossed in my reading, I didn’t realize that a full 10 minutes had passed when the waiter came back with just the omelet. He had forgotten the salad. This meant the “window of blue cheese opportunity” was gone. As soon as he put the plate down, he realized his mistake and immediately began apologizing: “I’m so sorry, I forgot all about the salad and now you won’t have time to enjoy your meal – I’m so sorry.”

I told him it was okay; that I didn’t really want the salad anyway; that the omelet itself was fine (yes, sometimes fibbing IS okay; in this case it was to spare someone shame and embarrassment).

But, I still had a teensy, tiny little problem…I WANTED THAT SALAD! Yet, it wasn’t going to happen. Not this time around, anyway.

Pause for quick thought: You might be thinking, “Bob, so what! A salad with blue cheese dressing is no big deal.” And, you would be absolutely, positively correct…except for one little thing. I WANTED THAT SALAD! 🙂 Of course, we could be talking about practically anything we want and just can’t have – the ice cream sundae while on a diet, our favorite team to win or – to take another angle – maybe it’s being stuck in heavy traffic while on the way to an important meeting that we are now sure to miss.

The question is, how do we handle situations such as these? Believe it or not, only a few years ago, this would have absolutely ruined my dining experience. I’d have stewed about it, thought about it and resented – not the waiter; that was just an honest mistake, but – the entire situation.

Instead, I’ve learned to practice the art of positive detachment and suggest you may want to consider doing the same. In one of my favorite books, “The Handbook to Higher Consciousness,” Ken Keyes, Jr. defines an “addiction” (aka – attachment) as any desire that makes you upset or unhappy if it is not satisfied. This upset feeling includes, but is not limited to, anger, worry, jealousy, fear, etc.” Of course, even if you do get what you want right now, if you are addicted/attached to the result, the pattern will repeat itself the very next time you want it and cannot have it.

In his book, “Rudy’s Insights for Winning in Life,” the author, Rudy Ruettiger, relates Hall of Fame quarterback, Joe Montana, then with the University of Notre Dame, explaining to him that the key to performing well under pressure (i.e., not “choking in the clutch”) is “when you care…but not that much.”

I believe that’s an excellent explanation of positive detachment. It doesn’t mean you don’t want the salad, the sundae, your team to win, to beat the traffic or whatever else you’re looking to attain. It doesn’t in any way mean you don’t care. It just means you’ve “decided” *not* to attach your sense of happiness and well-being to the outcome.

This attitude makes life so much easier and less stressful. It means you can relax, calm down and take the pressure off yourself to *have to have* something. You can know that now is simply the time when life doesn’t allow you to have that sundae. Today your team didn’t win. And, instead of fuming about the traffic, you’re going to plug in a motivational or learning tape and make the most of the extra time.

When it comes to dealing with others, sometimes we must allow for those (hopefully) very rare times when we’re not going to get the satisfaction we desire. It’s the same with life in general. And, you know what? That’s okay. After all, I had an omelet without the salad. (Even though I really WANTED that blue cheese dressing)!

Bob Burg

Bob Burg is author of “Winning Without Intimidation” and “Endless referrals.”

Share this...Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.