There’s a popular quote that’s been floating around for a long time:
“Never get too attached to someone, because attachments lead to expectations and expectations lead to disappointments.” –author unknown
In this case, let’s replace the word someone with something or the outcome. The point is that being too attached is only going to lead to disappointment.
For example, let’s say you’re a coach and have just brought on a new coaching client. Someone who is full of potential, has amazing ideas, is a go getter and you can’t wait to help them move their business forward and to the next level. You know she will succeed with your coaching, guidance and step-by-step action plan.
Instead she ends up sabotaging herself. She finds excuse after excuse why she can’t follow the action plan you’ve not only suggested, but proven over and over from testimonials of other clients that it works. She ended up letting her business stay stagnant and wasn’t willing to step out of her comfort zone to move to the next level.
What happened? Did you end up taking it personally that she didn’t succeed? Did you end up feeling like a failure as a coach? More than likely the answer is yes and that’s because you were too attached to the outcome.
In order to get through failure and disappointment it’s essential that we learn how to not be too attached to an outcome. It’s not easy. But it can be achieved. The question is how? Here are some things you can do to work on not becoming too attached to something or an outcome:
Acceptance – accepting that things are okay the way they are is a great place to start. Learn to accept the way a situation turned out is how it was meant to turn out and forget how you thought things should go.
Be present – don’t dwell in the past or think about the future, instead focus on being present and enjoying the moment. Make the most of what you’re doing. When you dwell on what you could have done in the past or what you could do in the future to change something, you’re still too attached to that outcome. By practicing being present in the moment and making the most of it, you’re practicing detachment from an outcome.
Gratitude – practice being grateful of everything around you, even if something isn’t going as you had planned. For example, who likes getting bills in the mail? Nobody. But instead of focusing on how if you had gotten that dream job you interviewed for (too attached to the outcome) paying the bills would be a breeze, instead be grateful that you have a job and can pay those bills.
Question yourself – this one is an important tip. When you find that you’re attached to an outcome question yourself why. For example, have you fell into believing an illusion that if you had gotten that dream job life would be easier and you would finally be happy? Dig deep and figure out why you’re thinking the way you are.
Life is short; don’t spend it wasting your precious energy on something you probably have no control over anyway – the outcome of something. Sure, sometimes you can control it but most of the time you can’t. Keep practicing and eventually you’ll be able to let go of attachment to outcomes and find yourself being content, experiencing less disappointments and feeling happier.