Mind Like Water

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Looking for business partner to create extraordinary results? Look for someone with low expectations.


This was another joke, amongst many, that Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet entertained an audience of 40,000 with in the annual gathering of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in Omaha in May, 2015. This was my first time at the legendary event. However, the story is not about Buffett, it’s about managing expectations, or more accurately, mind like water.

We all know that our inner world, for example, our mindset, belief system and emotional state, is what defines our external “reality”. Meaning, our inner world is always followed by the outer world (things we can easily measure). And those of us who are fortunate enough to have this awareness are keen to invest in self-development, improve on our weaknesses, become more effective and so on. Logically, a massive industry of self-development has been created to accommodate and make money from this demand for personal and spiritual growth. And it’s also true that the vast majority of our society lives at a certain level of awareness. Naturally, most of the self-development content is focused on getting those people from point A to point B. Point A is the victim level of awareness (external environment dictates outcomes in my life – I don’t have opportunities, economy and government are bad, my parents fucked me up, etc) and point B is the achiever level of awareness (trust nobody but myself, I have to outwork everybody to get ahead in life, everything depends on me etc.).

The challenge which is created in this process of personal growth is the belief that transformational results in life can only be achieved by controlling the outer world / external reality. This implies setting expectations about how to achieve certain results, setting very specific plans on how to reach objectives, taking ownership of everything that is happening around and working very hard on become more effective at doing all the above. This is a position that many business people are in. They are mastering their skills, getting more qualifications, working longer hours, checking more emails all with the premise in mind that being in a perceived control of the path to results is the only/best way to achieve them – because that worked well to get many people from victim to achiever.

The trick is that in order to get extraordinary results (achiever being above the average while extraordinary means more like one in a million) you cannot keep controlling the external environment. This is because by nature extraordinary goals involve much more uncertainty. Hence the ability to control your inner world, as opposed to getting in charge of your outer world becomes essential. Or, in other words, having a mind like water. Whatever shit comes, I will deal with it because I am in a resourceful state. This way the energy that is spent trying to control the external factors in life is instead channeled into maintaining your internal emotional climate.

So for 2016 I wish all the high achievers who read this post to have a mind like water. Don’t expect shit to go like you want but have a deep sense that you will get super ambitious results you want by being in charge of your mindset, emotional state, resourcefulness, while the external world will follow your internal world and hence take care of itself.

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