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Why Holding on Holds You Back

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  • Feb 21, 2022
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Two monks, Tanzan and Ekido, were traveling together down an extremely muddy road after heavy rains. Near a village, they came upon a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. He was furious. He could no longer restrain himself.

“We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”“I put the girl down hours ago,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

Are you living like Ekido?

Many of us are just like Ekido. We carry the burden of our resentments, disappointments and failures around with us, feeding them for hours on end with obsessive thoughts. Whether it was something that happened yesterday or thirty years ago, our human tendency is to perpetuate old emotions and continually relive our emotional pain.

You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the old one.

During one of our recent client WIPs, we noticed a number of our clients were wasting precious effort and energy being frustrated by situations which didn’t go the way they hoped. One had missed out on winning a contract, while another was frustrated by something his wife had said the day before. One client was fuming about the actions of an employee who’d been causing issues for months.

It’s not just business grievances we hold on to. We hold onto embarrassing moments from our teens, childhood traumas, or throw-away comments made by our parents, grandparents, friends and teachers.

To understand why this is a problem, let’s revisit Tanzan and Ekido.

When Tanzan carried the woman to the other side of the road, he was in the present moment and was able to take decisive action. He wasn’t hampered by thoughts about whether he should help her, whose fault it was that there wasn’t a bridge for her to walk over, or what was she doing out on the road on her own. Nor was he burdened afterwards by wondering what others would think, or whether he had made the right decision.

Ekido on the other hand had spent hours reliving the moment and feeding the outrage in his head. Imagine if the two monks hadn’t been able to stay at the lodging temple that night because they’d arrived too late. Or they were able to stay but couldn’t eat because they’d arrived so late. Could you imagine how Ekido might have reacted? Would he have been calm and composed? Unlikely. Maybe he’d blame Tanzan for stopping to help the woman which made them late. Maybe he’d blame the woman, saying she shouldn’t have been out when the roads were so muddy. Maybe he’d curse the weather which caused their journey to take such a long time.

We can all think of how Ekido would have reacted because we’ve all been there.

We’ve shouted at our kids because we were running late for work.

We’ve overreacted at work because we let lots of little annoyances go unchecked.

We’ve started arguments with our significant others over seemingly insignificant slights because we’re stressed about what’s happening in the business.

When we hold on to how things should be and denounce the events happening around us, we lose our ability to see clearly and act decisively in the present moment.

Let Go Of The Past But Keep The Lessons It Taught You.

As business coaches, we frequently find ourselves explaining to our clients that you’ll keep repeating the mistakes until you learn the lessons. In complete transparency, the vast majority of us will never learn all the lessons, so this is continuous work. It’s work myself and my partner/business partner, Rob, have been doing on ourselves for over thirty years.

The challenges and successes you experience help you become the best you can be. Rob and I have been to hell and back in business. We’ve experienced things so seemingly horrendous you wouldn’t even wish them on your worst enemies. But, as I frequently say – and genuinely mean – I’m grateful for every one of those experiences because they’ve allowed us to become the best business coaches we could be and live to our highest life priorities.

In life, we rarely reflect on our lives when things are going the way we want them to. It seems to be the human condition that we only find our limiting beliefs and behaviours when life butts up against them and forces us to see what’s really going on.

Fortunately, Ekido had Tanzan to help him see how his behaviour was impacting on him. “I put the girl down hours ago,” he stated, “are you still carrying her?”

In my experience, having a mentor is the only way to shift your perspective quickly and dramatically. Someone with an experienced perspective of the path you’re travelling down is invaluable in ensuring you’re making decisions based on the reality of your situation. If you’re looking for support in achieving the life and business you deserve and letting go from what is holding you back, get in touch with us at Kaibizzen today! As experienced business coaches in Brisbane and business owners ourselves, we’d love to help you get the business and the life you deserve.

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