Today, we're turning the Dojo into a gym. A gym designed to work on two super specific, super complementary muscles: gratitude and desire.
The inevitable scene that follows:
You, our awesome reader: "Complementary? But gratitude is appreciating what we have. Desire is wanting more."
The Dojo: "Yes, amigo. But they aren't mutually exclusive. They're actually inextricably intertwined if we're committed to maxing out our highest potential (and staying sane along the way)."
You, our awesome reader: "But —"
The Dojo: "Patience, dear grasshopper."
(Superb performance, by the way.)
It's true. These two muscles don't typically strike us as natural bedfellows. But as Dojo actors, we see things differently. As the ambitious, empowered souls we are, we recognise both have their place. Sitting in the rarified 1%, we adopt the "Grateful for this and excited for more" mentality (hat tip to our mentor Bonnie Gillespie for this awesome line).
If we truly want to thrive — both on the actor's path and in "life" life — we need to get pumping this iron.
Our gratitude muscle
Hitting this workout can elicit an interesting self-discovery — the majority of us will find one muscle to be significantly stronger than the other. Which doesn't kill us, but causes unnecessary struggle. If we think of ourselves as a bird (hello acting class flashbacks!), it's akin to having one wing larger than the other. We can still fly, but it ain't as effortless and straightforward as it could be.
Homies with stronger desire muscles never feel satisfied, even in the face of wild success. For folks in this camp, we'll need to momentarily focus on getting our gratitude muscle up to speed.
Aspiration is awesome. Aspiration spurs growth. But aspiration alone gets old and unenjoyable fast. To quote from A Course in Miracles, "You have to be satisfied with what-is while you're reaching for more".
Sound familiar? Here's our workout:
Reflect. Chances are, we've already come some way on our journey. Perhaps we got into drama school, were cast in a fringe theatre production, or booked a speaking role on a major TV series. Yet, these small (or big) wins are easy to forget if we're constantly striving for the next. So, draw a road on a piece of paper with us in the middle. Behind our little cartoon self, add signposts to represent goals already kicked. Yes, there's still road ahead, but let's take a hot second to appreciate the journey so far.
Take notes. Gratitude journals may be so 2012, but they're still powerful tools. If writing isn't our vibe, we can build a library of voice memos, or start a group chat with a handful of like-minded legends. For those with especially buff desire guns, lean hard into appreciating the past and present. Appreciating future moments is an absolutely valid practice (otherwise known as manifesting), but if we already tend towards a future focus, balancing our perspective will be key.
Language it. Now to really seal the deal, make the exclamations "Wow!" and "Thank you!" standard — even if only exclaimed to ourselves. As with the exercises above, there's no place for qualifying how "big" or "small" an event or occurrence is. In fact, the "smaller", the better. Arrived at an audition early? "THANK YOU!" Received a reply from that casting director? "WOW!" Frequency of reps is king here.
Our desire muscle
Compadres with stronger gratitude muscles hold themselves back, even if we secretly harbour Ambitious-Ass Goals. For folks in this camp, we'll need to double down on our desire muscle.
Being thankful is a kind of magic. Being thankful is honestly one of the most attractive qualities we can possess. But just being thankful prevents us from stepping into the fullest version of ourselves. From Mr Napoleon Hill: "The starting point of all achievement is desire".
This us? Here's our workout:
Get clear. What is it we truly desire? Deep down, we all know what this is, but it can take some serious courage to put a name to it. Do the hard thing and put our most compelling (i.e. only ONE) goal on paper. And physically write this down — studies have shown the likelihood of attainment is increased by 42% when we do.
Get sensual. Now that we have our goal in black and white, we want to engage our senses. What would kicking this goal look like, feel like, sound like, taste like, smell like? The more vividly we can experience this now, the better. Vision boards, stream-of-consciousness journaling, or spitballing into a voice memo are all great ways to facilitate this exploration.
Believe. Possibly the hardest step for those of us who really identify with our gratitude muscle. We have to believe that a) our dream can become reality, and b) IT'S FREAKING OKAY FOR IT TO! Cut the doubt and guilt-tripping (this is just as much for us as anyone else). The Universe wants to send some love and abundance our way. Let it.
When, like a badass albatross, we have two powerful wings instead of one, soaring becomes inevitable — our natural state. We look forward to joining you in the sky!
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Thoughts / feedback / challenges? We'd genuinely love to hear.
While we can't always reply to every message, we honestly do read each one.