Practicing is critical to proficiency in any skill set. It is no less valid when applied to the ability to effectively cope with life’s obstacles whether manifested by circumstance or by others.
If one could think of responding to significant moments with flow, courage, elegance, strength, and perhaps generosity (ie: Grace), it is possible to understand that such response must be prepared for over time. The basics of GRACE must be thoroughly understood and practiced on the most mundane circumstance.
Gaining control over one’s individual reflexes does not come simply with understanding. One must build the essential “muscles” for consistency by addressing ever increasingly difficult situations with a kind of fluid dependency on the correct ingredients.
Like the bullfighter or the ballerina, responding to life until it is done with GRACE is a long journey. First, a person must dedicate himself/herself to the learning process. Secondly, the person must identify the teachers who embody the outcome the individual desires. These teachers must also understand the process of achieving GRACE through developing the correct muscles in the correct order. Anything less is like practicing tennis without understanding the importance of holding the racket properly.
Grace is a way of being, but it is created by mastering one’s reflexes when confronted with fear, insecurity, uncertainty, challenge or crisis. That mastery exists only in the context of reality, not in a laboratory or classroom setting. The only way to attain Grace is to learn it and repeat it no matter how difficult the circumstance.
Why do it? Why does one decide to be an extraordinary golfer or athlete? Why do some people become true experts at the game of chess, football, tennis, or other? They do so because they are consumed with being the best they can be. They choose to continually evolve because it gives them purpose, passion, vitality.
Practicing Grace in life is but another form of mastery. The reward of Grace is Grace and a growing sense of wonder at one’s own strength in responding to LIFE. There are many levels of Grace just as there are so many variations on the really talented athlete. Many aspire without achieving true mastery, but are they not enhanced by whatever level they attain?
So what are the elements of attaining Grace over time? An oversimplification, but certainly a starting point is the mastering of FEAR, CONFUSION, and ARROGANCE. One must understand not only how to manage these elements for self, but also in others. The ongoing evolution toward GRACE includes a growing understanding and acceptance of complex situations with uncertain outcomes.
Break Your Reactions Into Their Fundamental Elements and Study Them!
If you really want to improve your responses to people and circumstance one of the most important things you can do is to focus on managing each of the individual elements of each and every reaction. They are listed here with the potential errors next to them.
1. Critical Moment: Every moment is critical to your journey. Often people miss the really important ones because they are immersed in their reactions to circumstance. Any emotional response to a situation is an indication of an important moment loaded with Opportunity.
2. Vision: We automatically create a vision to circumstances in our lives. Most visions however are created subconsciously and represent our greatest fears. Example: Your spouse is late. You start imagining worst case scenarios. Those imaginings are your VISION of what will occur. As a result, when he/she does walk in the door your reaction is likely to be less than Graceful.
3. Assessment: We reflexively and mechanically assess every situation. We are unlikely to do it with any discipline. For example, if we are operating from our worst case scenario vision, we look for data to support that reality. We are not disciplined about seeking all the facts, but instead absorb only those that support our sense of what might be happening.
4. Engagement: At some point in this fluid and invisible cycle, we decide what we are going to do. Again, this decision is often made based on our fears.
5. Execution: We now execute on our decision based on partial facts and our worst fears. Often that simply creates more emotional responses to a situation now beginning to escalate.
Each of the above steps occur whether you consciously manage them or not. If you slow down and become deliberate about recognizing emotional moments as opportunities to practice graceful response, you immediately begin to take more control over directing your life in a positive direction.
If you decide to create positive visions and then consciously do your assessing and deciding based on a broader set of data, your decisions will be of higher quality and upon execution, will likely yield better and more harmonious outcomes.
Practicing Grace is a life long journey and when accompanied by knowledge and structure, can create a more powerful personality and a more flowing and pleasurable life.