I was watching “The Last Samurai” the other night on AMC with the movie notes (love that) and a scene stood out to me. At one point, Tom Cruise is getting his butt handed to him by a high-ranking Samurai and his host stops the sparring long enough to tell him:
Nobutada: Please forgive, too many mind.
Nathan Algren: Too many mind?
Nobutada: Hai. Mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind the enemy, too many mind… [pause] No mind.
Being present is the whole game. Existing right now, right here – with no other distractions is how excellence is born.
How are you going to make ends meet? What about the check engine light in your car? What are you going to do for dinner tonight? Relatives are coming in town and you haven’t cleaned the house – what are they going to think? Are these pants too tight? Is this shirt too big? Am I eating enough vegetables?
Live here and now. Open your eyes. Quiet your mind. Too many minds, too much trouble, too little excellence.
My wife does this with our kids – she’s always present with them fully in her mind. Getting them ready to go, teaching them right from wrong, helping them – she’s always focused on them and nothing else. I admire that level of focus and dedication. Lord knows I have it when deep into a spreadsheet build, or when I’m working on this blog, or cooking – but not often when I’m with the kids.
We can focus on anything we want, regardless of how exciting or mundane it may seem. Folding laundry puts me in a deep zen state where all the swirling turmoil of life just dissipates into vapor. Laundry does that. I want it to be perfect, and beautiful and efficient. It’s not something I want to get over with, but something I want to master.
What part of your gig would be made better by eliminating some of your “mind” – losing the burden of worry that’s not serving you?
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