How often do you hear people complain: ‘There is something missing in my life. If you only knew what it was, could you do something about it? You may have those kinds of thoughts yourself. As a life coach, I certainly meet him regularly when new clients approach me, searching for a way forward in a life that has somehow become boring and meaningless to them.
The usual reflex response is to buy expensive new toys and experiment with increasingly extreme new experiences. This pattern of behavior follows the reasoning that the more you try it, the more likely you are to find something special that will make a difference. But does the reasoning really make sense? In most cases, I don’t think that’s the case.
My reasoning is as follows … If you feel that something is missing in your life, you have probably lost part (or all) of your connection to the activities, values and people that give meaning to your life. These significant elements of your life are part of you, they are deep within you. So trying to reconnect with them by experimenting with an ever-increasing number of new experiences, each one staying for less and less time because they don’t offer what you’re looking for, is a pretty daunting waste of time and effort. .
So instead of trying harder and harder to find that elusive je ne sais quoi, what you really need to do is slow down, calm down, and allow yourself to breathe. Know that what is missing cannot be found by external effort or search.
My favorite quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s book The invitation is this: “It is not being, not even doing that exhausts. It is trying.” In this world where self-made success is so strongly defended, we are constantly being encouraged to try harder. And yes, of course, there are times when it is absolutely okay to try new things and strive for new achievements. Those right times are when you feel energized by your efforts.
But when you feel exhausted and when you try too hard because you don’t know what else to do, it’s time to stop trying. By stopping, you’ll be more likely to hear the calm voice of your creativity suggesting a way forward. You may need to rest for a while before it is heard, but by giving it space, you will get back on the right track.
Likewise, instead of gathering new possessions, why not try ordering something? Remove all the old elements blocking your space and you will feel lighter, liberated, with a sense of space and opportunity. The reality is that the more you try to find something that is missing, the harder it will become to reach. But if you clear the space, it will be revealed voluntarily.
Paradoxically, when something is missing, it is most likely not something else you are looking for. You are probably not looking to fill a space but to create one.
- Do you know (or suspect) that you are trying too hard at something?
- Are you ready to stop trying, go with the flow, and see where it takes you?
- What can you order, creating space for your well-being and success to flourish?