May 31, 2010 by


I love that word.  Effortless.  It kinda just drips off your tongue slithering away kinda like what it sounds.  Effortless.  And that’s what I’ve been trying to do for the past little while.  Become effortless in my doing, my being, my awareness.

Writing is about being effortless: When the muse takes over, and you close your eyes, and the words just come and you can’t stop them it’s effortless. Human relationships are about being effortless: When you’re with that specific person and the rest of your environment fades away and it’s only you and them, it’s effortless.  Even business can be effortless: When you are crafting new ideas from thin air, it’s effortless.

I love that state, the state of effortlessness.  Daniel Pink’s book Drive talks about a state called flow which comes from the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as outlined in his book flow. And Mihaly essentially states that people are the most happy when they are in a state of flow.  Or in my terms, I’m happy when things are effortless.

I certainly don’t like having to do things that are effort-full.  Effort-full means that you are getting very little progress for a very large amount of energy.  Effort-full is not fun, not happy … basically just not.

Now I understand that (as Geneen Roth states in Women Food and God) that it takes a great deal of effort to become effortless at anything.  And that real change happens bit-by-bit.  I think there is a path to becoming effortless without killing yourself with effort to get there.

It happens through being aware of how you act, what you pay attention to, how you grow.  It happens through seeing where your effort is going and then getting out of your own way.

So here’s my question: “When was the last time you did something and stopped trying to do it and just started feeling effortless?”  I experimented with this a the gym this morning.  Happened for a moment (only a brief moment, but a moment).  If you can start to look out for those effortless moments and then see what they smell, feel, taste like, then maybe you’ll capture more effortlessness.

See you on the wire

— Steven Cardinale

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