Adaptation & Disappointment
One year ago, I started my first business. When I received my very first $10 and $20 orders, I was enthralled. Someone had liked my first products enough to spend their hard-earned cash on them. That felt good. I was a novice and my expectations were extremely low. I was humble. As a result, I was pleased by the results.
365 days and thousands of customers later, I’m extremely grateful and feel proud that my first attempt at making a business has exceeded all of my expectations. But sometimes I find myself getting greedy. I’ll have a single slow day and start to wonder if the house of cards is crashing down, even though it’s actually not and the whole operation does indeed have a strong foundation. Ironically, my anxiety, should I choose to indulge it, is stronger with success than without it.
This is where I find my Zen practice so important. I’m not a billionaire. I’m a kid, basically. I’m excited about creating things and growing them and learning. I’m excited about working on myself and my projects. But this excitement only makes my life better when it is balanced out by the cultivation of a lack of expectations that led me to find my first taste of success to begin with.
We all start from a place of what Zen masters call “beginner’s mind”. We’re fresh and unprejudiced. We lack expectations and preferences and therefore are open to an infinitude of possibilities. But as we develop rote thinking patterns and acquire new methodologies and skills, these paths narrow. We begin to limit ourselves. A certain degree of specialization is of course required, but most of us get stuck in patterns that don’t necessarily help our cause.
Meditation helps us develop the tools needed to recognize the constant divergence and convergence of paths and to choose wisely. It helps us keep our diligence high and expectations low. It enables us to create a great future and wonderful success not by focusing on future results, but by perfecting the present process that eventually culminates in those results. I’m grateful for my practice because it helps me curb my ego, expect less, and feel less pride. With humility, simplicity, and discipline comes proper daily living.