There’s a very well known Zen saying which goes like this:
“How you do the little things is how you do everything”
“How you do one thing is the way you do everything”
this is much more profound and life changing that what might look at first glance.
Although not using the same words (or by knowing it was a Zen saying at all!), Fabricio told me something along the same lines many years ago.
I was cooking for us one time and I was – admittedly – not doing a good job at it. I was never a chef nor had I studied the “culinary arts” at all, I just knew how to do a few dishes.
Either way, the goal was simply to have some light snack. Not to have a grand dinner, so I wasn’t putting in much of an effort or giving it much attention.
So I was cooking and doing a few other things at the same time: I had the TV on, I was cleaning up the dishes, I was talking on the phone… multitasking at its best.
This is when Fabricio told me:
“If you’re going to do something, do it right. It doesn’t matter if it’s cooking a snack, cleaning or an important project, but give it the best of your attention. Once you start do it on the little things, you carry this to the most important ones”
I instantly knew he was right.
My habit of doing multiple things at the same time was not just in these house chores, it was everywhere.
And I had a problem of often skipping corners and completing tasks with mistakes on it due to lack of attention. It didn’t matter the area of my life, the pattern was the same everywhere.
Now I understand that mental habits are something you cultivate on your day to day life – on the little things like cleaning, cooking, driving… on all of these everyday habits.
You don’t just turn on a switch for the important things and disconnect for the rest.
Establishing a mental habit with all the small things, will make your mind trained to work in a certain way.
Then you won’t need to “turn on any switch” when you have an important activity happening. Your mind is already working at that desired mental state.
Remember that your mind is “trainable”.
But to actually train it is not about just a couple of 20m exercises a day – as important as they may be.
The more you establish the mental habits you want to have on all the small things of your life, the easier you will change on the larger and important things.
You won’t be more focused just because you do a concentration exercise 10m a day and remain distracted the whole 23h50m of your day.
No! You need to carry the attention you generate on that 10m exercise to the rest of your day and do your best to establish this focus on all the things you do during your day – both small and big.
That’s how you truly change and train your mind.
This is something we go through extensively on the 10 Steps to Inner Power. In fact, many of the exercises are done in your own day to day life precisely to establish these correct mental habits. Whether in your private life or in external relationships.