Here's a very short (less than 7 minutes) Michael Neill podcast which I listened to quite a few days ago and which has really stuck in my mind. It asked me to think about what I'm an expert at -- where is my expertise?
Developing expertise requires time and attention. So if I ask myself what I want to be expert at, I'm also asking myself what I want to spend my time and my attention on.
What is it that I'm really well-versed in? And: do I feel great about my expertise?
Or have I become an expert at making my life a mess or stressing myself out or discouraging myself?
Do I want to be an expert about my problems? About what's wrong with my life? About what's wrong with other people? About what's wrong with the world? Well then, I should keep right on devoting most of my time and attention right there.
Or has that focus just been a default pattern. . . a habit.
And would I rather spend more of my time and attention on what really interests me? Now? So I can become an expert in that?
Well then: what am I really interested in? What would I really like to be an expert in? What's worth taking an interest in and what isn't?
Michael Neill suggests we make two lists . . . over several days.
The first list is headed, "I am no longer interested in" . . . ruminating over all my old grievances from decades ago, and scaring myself. I'm not very interested in drama or permitting my mind to be consumed by those 60,000 to 100,000 random thoughts that flow through it every day.
The second list is headed, "I am more interested than ever in" . . . . feeling calm, treating myself with kindness and compassion, living in the present moment. Seeing the rare red crossbill sitting in the top of a spruce tree and really listening to its voice.
There is no rush to prepare these lists, and I haven't been in any hurry. But I've certainly been thinking about them since I first heard the podcast. The list-making is a work in progress. Yeah, me too.
But there is no huge disciplined stern efforting needed to compel myself to break that bad habit of focusing on the problems and the bad stuff and making myself stop doing that and . . . on and on and on.
I don't have to persuade myself to be interested in the new stuff. I really AM interested in the new stuff.
And as I focus my time and attention on calm and compassion, I can confidently expect to develop greater expertise: right there, where I want it. The good feelings.
So: what are you no longer interested in?
And: what are you more interested than ever in?