“The perfect blossom is a rare thing. You could spend your life looking for one, and it would not be a wasted life.”
This is what Katsumoto says to Nathan Algren in a scene of “The Last Samurai”.
The quest for perfection.
This scene came up for me yesterday in a conversation with my friend and mentor, Sujith. We were reflecting on how many things that happened in our lives in the last weeks were perfectly timed. As if they were part of an invisible but perfectly crafted plan.
That image came to my mind when I realise that the quest for perfection is not an outward hunt. It is, instead, a practice through which we learn to see the perfection in everything.
When we become aware that everything is perfect, then everything becomes an opportunity. We unleash infinite creativity and abundance.
Perfection then, it’s not a characteristic of something but rather an inner state. An elusive and fleeting one, indeed.
That’s why the quest for perfection is a lifelong practice. But, as Katsumoto says, a worthy one.
At the end of the movie, when Katsumoto is dying, he looks a the cherry blossom floating around him, finally able to find that perfection.
“Perfect. They… are all… perfect…”
“First is an intention.
Then a behaviour.
Then a habit.
Then a practice.
Then second nature.
Then it is simply who you are.” – Brendon Burchard
I love this recipe for transformation. It is not even a recipe, to be honest. In my experience, this is how life works. How we grow, and we become who we are. The things we love and the one we don’t.
They all started with an intention. One that too often, we are not fully aware. And that intention triggers a behaviour that, through habit and repetition, becomes who we are. It’s a long and slow process, like a drop on a rock. When an apparently harmless and insignificant behaviour, becomes a habit, its power multiply and its effects compound.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is self-awareness. Having clarity of your intentions, observing your behaviours and deliberately choose the habits you want to cultivate. Creating the discipline to transform those habits into practices. The rest will be a natural outcome. And this is the beauty of this recipe for transformation. It’s not about making big things or incredibly disruptive actions. It’s about paying attention and being aware of the tiny things that count, and then let time do its magic.
In the last weeks, this virus that’s disrupting our lives is the topic in most conversations, directly or indirectly. On the news, on social media, plenty of experts are doing their best to explain what’s happening. And, most importantly, what is going to happen.
On this second aspect, I heard many different, often contradicting forecasts in a range that goes from “it’s nothing” to “we are doomed”.
Only a few openly say that they don’t know.
“The human brain is a prediction machine. The primary reason the brain remembers the past is to better predict what will work in the future.” – James Clear
But what if the past can’t give us any clues about what is going to happen? What if even the people who are supposed to know what’s next, don’t have answers?
We are so used to know what’s happening next that this uncertainty is frightening.
How can we make a decision today, if we don’t know what will be the scenario tomorrow?
It is a challenging time. Even more, a defining time at a global scale.
In this chaos and uncertainty, I’m reminded of a magic formula, taught to me by a dear friend a while back.
“I don’t know.”
A few days ago, I had an inspiring conversation that made me reflect on the risks of oversimplifying reality. I’m talking about that tendency to view every situation through a binary filter. Such as “right or wrong”, “us and them”, “good and bad”, “winners and losers” and so on.
In Being At Full Potential, we call this the State of Binary Awareness. A state of awareness from which everything is reduced to a duality.
Reducing things in life to a binary perspective, it’s a way to cope with its complexity that comes from our need to belong; my tribe and the rest of the world.
Though in this increasingly connected world, I feel that this simplification makes life even more complicated. It creates tensions, conflicts and divisions.
It is a kind of paradox.
Maybe, if we accept that life is complex and that there are infinite nuances in everything, we can relax all these tensions and free ourselves from the dividing walls we built.
Three weeks ago, my partner moved abroad for a project. She’s going to be away for a while, so we’re both dealing with the challenges that this experience brought in our lives.
Obviously, the biggest one is the distance, but there’s another one I wasn’t expecting; the loss of rhythm.
We’ve been apart before, but it was always for shorter periods. This time we’re talking months. And something happened in my head since the very first week.
My flow and productivity got disrupted like never before. Since day one, I’ve been struggling to keep my routines and habits.
It took me a while to realize what was happening.
I’ve lost my rhythm.
Over the years, we built our own unique rhythm. A rhythm on which I can improvise, create and follow the flow without getting lost. A rhythm that keeps me grounded.
I feel like I’m without my metronome.
And it is clearly affecting my energy and my flow.
Everyone is unique, but I’ve learned how important it is for me to have a basic rhythm in my life, on top of which I can improvise and move freely.
So, now my new challenge is to find a new way to keep the beat until she’s back.