The Subtle Art of Detachment

It’s no secret I’ve always been an ambitious person. I’m more than willing to put in the work needed to achieve what I want. I set clear goals and constantly look for ways to get better at what I do.

However, I’ve noticed that sometimes I get too attached to a specific outcome. I want to make a particular sale, win a specific contest, or reach a certain level of recognition. When that over-attachment sets in and I obsess about it, the success often eludes me.

The truth is, no matter how much I work, I can never truly control specific day-to-day outcomes. 

Outcomes are dependent on the whims of other people. It is up to other people whether I ‘succeed’ in a particular situation or not.

As I have accepted this reality, I have noticed that some people have a particular mindset that helps them to move ahead faster in life.

That mindset is a subtle sense of detachment.

When I first observed this trait in others, it didn’t make sense. How can you be motivated towards a goal and also detached from the outcome?

Logically it seems like the two mindsets are counter-productive.

Yet, the more I have practiced them both simultaneously, I can see how they work together harmoniously.

You can control the work you do, your consistency and your mindset. 
But no matter what you do, you can’t control the specific outcomes in a situation.

Sometimes things will not work out, and it has nothing to do with how much effort you put in. Sometimes they work out when you don’t really expect them to. Sometimes they work out exactly like you planned and worked for. There is no system behind the outcomes, and accepting that makes it easier to focus on what you can control.

I’ve noticed that those who work consistently and persistently at their craft and treat others well tend to accrue the wins needed to achieve their ultimate goals.

When you stay detached from a specific outcome, you also don’t get as swayed by the highs of achievement, or the lows of failures. In fact, you don’t even worry about what happens, and instead, you enjoy the journey of developing yourself.

This subtle art of detachment is still new to me. I need to constantly remind myself that day-to-day outcomes are outside my control. The more I make ambition and detachment a mantra, the more fun I have becoming the best I possibly can.


7 thoughts on “The Subtle Art of Detachment

  1. Never thought about outcomes or goals in this manner. I love the concept and will carry it into my life. It makes so much sense… leaves way more energy for focus on completing the work/projects each day. I would think this helps living more in the moment as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bhagavat Gita says the same thing, but you have said it in a way that I can relate to. Thank you. Swami chinmayananda calls it attachment in detachment.

    Liked by 1 person

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