To Be Free Use The Exclude – Include Discipline

Do you go with the flow or do you follow structure?
What do you include and what do you exclude?

Depending on the nature and focus of your endeavor, a different discipline may be required.

Take an honest look at your life: what would help you increase effectiveness and creativity? Do you need more structure? Do you need greater freedom?
To run the 100 meter dash at the Olympics, or to play Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto in Carnegie Hall, you have to have total concentration. Concentration is focusing on what you do to the exclusion of all else. Your ability to exclude everything else is essential in certain roles, functions and situations. In fact, your ability to progress and succeed depends on your ability to concentrate – to exclude all other things.

There are other situations and functions where your ability to include and to facilitate engagement and cooperation of all parts is what wins the day. When organizing a family gathering, managing a complex project or producing a large event – your capacity to include all aspects and details and engage every person is the recipe to success.

You may have seen Usain Bolt doing his “dance” before his wins in the 100 and 200 hundred meters at the Beijing Olympics. There were complaints that his behavior was disrespectful. Some thought it was showmanship. Others felt he was just a little strange. Here is what we think – he was keeping himself free, fully present in the moment, deflecting all the nerves and noise, defying the rules, maintaining complete and total relaxation inside. His dance was the act of excluding all else, to be in the moment, in touch with his inner rhythm.

Freedom and structure come together. Chris Rock and Jon Stewart are examples of the complete spontaneity of an in-the-moment comedian. What provides them such freedom? They are able to be free, in the moment, because of their practice and form, an inner structure, a template and cadence they know. To be free you have to have a form, a structure that can contain and support your being in the moment.

In your life and in your work too, you can find a golden point, where what you exclude provides you freedom to include a great many things; where the structure and practice of form gives way to the freedom of spontaneous emergence.

Reflect on these questions:
1. What helps you concentrate and exclude all else?
2. In what aspects of your life and work do you need to bring greater structure? Where do you need to work on your form?
3. In what situations are you able to “go with the flow” and be highly productive? What can you learn from these situations?

To be free, more productive and creative, discover the exclude and include disciplines.

© Aviv Shahar

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