I honestly double checked that.
Does the translation of the Dutch saying;
“Good wine doesn’t need a crown.”
Really translate to:
“Good wine needs no bush”?
That would make some title!
I couldn’t believe my luck.
But apparently it does, that is the correct translation.
And I will leave it up to you to make any assumption you like about my pubic hair. Because what I’m talking about is this;
That for such a long time I have been convinced that my writing, my life, my business, that which I do every day, is only one hundred percent aligned IF it matches a single criterium:
Would I still do it if no one would appreciate it?
If there were no money, no acclaim, no likes on Facebook?
No retweets, no readers, no “bush” waiting as a reward?
Or – taking it even further – would I still do that, choose that, live like that, write like that, if it would actually cost me something?
More time, money, credibility, clients?
The list could be endless.
And I confess that in my own head, I do make it a challenge that the list should be endless!
Down to the point where I am considering;
Would I still do this, if it would cost me MY LIFE?
And then I’m deeply disappointed if I conclude that I would back down even a tiny bit before the ultimate sacrifice.
Seeing that as a sign that I still have so much inner growth to do. So many expectations to let go off.
The conclusion that, apparently, I am still not fully aligned with something that is so important that I will stand for it.
No matter what I lose, or unleash, or suffer.
That I have such a long way to go.
But yesterday something happened which made me realize two things.
1; Yes. I was right.
I do still have expectations to ditch and risks to take, to free myself fully and deliver the message, books, and blogs that come from the deepest layers of my soul. Without me filtering it. So I do want to liberate myself and I was right about that.
2. That this path of liberation of all expectations, including oneselves, is a personal path. It is what will bring me the highest satisfaction. Give me the feeling of a life well-lived.
But not others.
Not unless we share a crucial part of our personality- something I will tell you about in a minute.
But the general truth is that although my biggest epiphanies over the last few years, have always been around letting go of expectations – and because the results were so profound and even intoxicating and addictive in their effect – that this does not give any guarantees that this experience or knowledge is transferable onto others.
Even if I would succeed in convincing others to live only from the heart, devoid of need to be accepted by others, it would not give any guarantees they would get the same “outcome” of feeling relieved, released, and high on their own accomplishments.
Unless, like I said, we share a character trait.
This is how to find out if we do;
In 2015 Gretchen Rubin published a book called “Better than Before”, where she gives over thirty strategies to improve your habits. To determine if a strategy is suitable for you, she gives you a framework called The Four Tendencies.
In 2017 she published a book, about those Four Tendencies alone.
And as a result YouTube will give you numerous long seminars on “Gretchen Rubin, Four Tendencies” because she used this framework on two promotional tours, for both books.
The Four Tendencies are about managing, and responding, to expectations. And although Gretchen states in about every lecture she gives that “most people” recognize themselves immediately, and only some really need the test;
I suggest you take the test.
I was clueless, my hunches were wrong, so I was happy I took the test.
And I ll explain, what The Four Tendencies are.
First, there’s the Questioners.
Questioners are able to commit to any new habit, willing to meet any expectation, and follow any rule – both self imposed as well as outer imposed – once they’ve asked enough questions and are convinced it makes sense to act accordingly.
I took the quiz with a Questioner, and she told me how being allowed to ask questions, without being judged as someone in resistance, or stalling, was vital for her in order to function. And I know for a fact her performance is excellent. But before she can deliver that value she needs to know exactly what’s going on. And why.
If you work with a Questioner, answering his or her questions is the price you have to pay, in exchange for their allegiance.
And if you are a questioner yourself, knowing exactly why you want to commit to a new habit, or knowing exactly why you do something, is vital in order for your own internal commitment.
Next up are Obligers.
Although I have to say, Gretchen, seriously? Obligers? I think this unappealing title doesn’t do justice to something else Gretchen says; that there are no right and wrong tendencies.
That it’s all about knowing yourself, and turning your limitations into an advantage.
So I beforehand excuse myself for the label “Obligers”. I don’t think it’s particularly inspirational. Maybe we can think of a new term.
For Obligers, the primary motive is outer accountability and appreciation. This means that any goal they set for themselves where they create outer accountability, will get done.
Any task they connect to the well-being of their family, the responsibility towards their children, their loyalty towards their boss or co-workers?
It shall be done.
The hack can be as simple as installing an app to log your progress – but bottom line is that successful habits in Obligers come from creating outer accountability. And to quit beating yourself up for example because “you should be able to do that for yourself.”
Accept, hack, and thrive.
And that goes for all the tendencies.
Next are Upholders.
If you’re familiar with Harry Potter; Hermoine Granger is an Upholder. Upholders want to, and will, succeed in anything they set their minds to. Up to the point that they simply cannot stop on a certain path, even when they realize it has started to limit them, and is not bringing the results they had expected.
Once they commit, they can’t quit.
Another example of Upholders is that I ve taken the test with two Upholders and both of them murmered when it came to the question on their discipline:
“Well, I guess other people will think I m disciplined.”
Clearly indicating that as far as they could see, it wasn’t that they were particularly special or good at something. But that their excellence was merely based on others being weak, when it came to matters of discipline!
An Upholder will remember exactly when they missed a day of work, a workout, or that time in their lives when they feasted on ice cream.
“Well, I guess others will think I m disciplined.”
Clear sign of an Upholder.
Finally, last in line (literally, because they don’t want to be part of the group) are Rebels.
Rebels resist both outer and inner expectations alike. Donald Trump is a Rebel, and Gretchen confesses that when he didn’t show his tax returns, even after he had said he would? She almost died in disbelief. This was not possible! If you said you would do something, you have to do it!
You know what?
One thing I ve always admired about Donald Trump, as well as about rebellious right wing politicians we have here in the Netherlands, is that they brutally expose how dependent “sane”, “good”, “honest” politicians are on the idea that everybody should be playing by a certain set rules.
And that they’re toast if you refuse to do that.
Don’t get me wrong; my vote always goes to the most extreme left wing party I can find. But I do have admiration for those right wing “bullies”.
Because my line of thinking is this;
“If you cannot tackle that? If you get frustrated with him? Then your strategy has got holes. Big ones!”
The fact that Donald Trump could become President of America (without getting the most votes even), exposes the loop holes in the Democratic Party, in the Republican Party, the election system, as well as in the severe limitations of the debating skills of the opponents, the moment somebody refuses to play by the rules.
As much as I dislike Donald Trump, I can’t suppress the feeling that he was just a sign of the times. That if you think the problem is “Donald Trump”, that you don’t see the bigger picture. Which is: “How do we fix that hole?”
That it was America’s, or the Democrat’s or any sane person’s expectation that anyone in politics should be following the rules. That getting the right guy in place had gotten so dependent on everybody playing by the rules, that no one was agile enough to counter Donald Trump. And with his complete lack of tact, his loudness, his money, and his career, you cannot say you didn’t see him coming.
Just that you didn’t bother to fix your net.
So that’s me as well.
I m a Rebel.
I expose holes in the net.
I am (was!) on a mission to prove that expectations and rules are the devil. That they slow us down and distract us. They make us waste precious time thinking about what should.
Instead of about what is.
Trump and me are just using an opportunity, a weakness, that you knew existed a long time ago. You just refused to do something about it. And now you’re disappointed. You thought you could expect a certain behavior from us.
And we proved you wrong.
I did two yoga teacher trainings;
At the first they said that although it was a four year training, they encouraged you to take longer in order to let all the knowledge sink in. To get a deeper understanding of what the training was about.
As a result? I finished it in the shortest time possible. As the only one of my year.
In the second training they asked my written commitment on day one which I refused to give; and for me to do yoga daily, and keep a log.
Which I did, but then I started resenting the training so much I wanted to quit.
They “saved” me, and hauled me back in. And I was, and am, grateful for that. But I was still angry that they tried to control the amount of yoga I did at home. That they had saved me from quitting, didn’t change that.
I felt really bad about that – I knew I owed them a diploma that was worth €2000. But nevertheless, I felt that they deserved my contempt for manipulating me into home practice.
Being a Rebel I had delivered the exact opposite of what they wanted in the first teacher training. And in the second I did deliver what they wanted, but I was so disgusted because the only way I could do that was by meeting their expectations, that I felt that diploma came at way too high a cost.
And I didn’t practice yoga for four months after.
All those memories came back after taking Gretchen Rubin’s test to the Four Tendencies.
But also: something else.
A deep insight that my opinion that rules and especially the expectations we hold are the devil – is such a deeply personal one.
That it is rooted in my rebel heart.
Where I really do belief that if you make yourself dependent on the approval of others, you nearly “deserve” to be disappointed, by an election result, by money not coming in, by not receiving any likes on Facebook, and no subscriptions to your blog.
Your disappointment is a lesson to only do the work for the work.
And not for the result.
That it really is only about, and should only be about, the journey.
After reading Gretchen Rubin’s work, I know, all that is not true. All those paragraphs about doing your own work, and being soul aligned? Very likely- not true. Not for most of us, anyway.
Because most of us, will feel warm and loved and a sense of belonging and a life well lived if we are surrounded by people who love us for what we do or who we are.
It’s just some. A few.
THEY are the ones who will feel liberated and free and as if they are living the life God intended for them, once they have cut the ties with all expectations. Including their own.
Who will, for example, crawl behind their computer every single day, even on a Friday night right before midnight, to write a post.
Without ANY expectations.
Need no bush.
An Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living
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