Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Overachiever's Prayer

The following prayer (given in part) comes from Carol Osborne’s book ‘How would Confucius ask for a raise?’ It contains the essence of a Taoist approach to success or more particularly, the correct attitude to adopt when faced with the frustration and disappointment that arises when, despite our overly-anxious, pushing, striving best efforts, we fail.
Read it and feel your boiling temperature immediately descend to a simmer. Rinse and repeat. I used this prayer often and it helped me a lot. In fact Carol’s book, a gift from a colleague, is one of the most useful books I know to help you understand the principles of Taoism and how you can apply them to your career and daily life.

The Overachievers Anonymous Prayer

Help me to give up pushing, demanding, and desiring specific rewards from my work.
I trust that however confused and convoluted it feels at the time, I am always being led to my greater purpose the fastest, most direct way possible.
If it seems long and difficult at times, it is because I am a beginner and there is so much more to learn…
When I am disappointed along the way, without anger, self-hatred, or judgment, I simply make whatever corrections I can. If I can’t find anything to correct, or
if I have reached the point where to give more will sacrifice my overall vitality and well-being, I have the patience to wait.
I ask you to help me love myself, wherever I am in the process, trusting that given who I am, where I’ve come from, and the circumstances I face, I am always doing my best…

Notice that here again (my italics) we find the proviso of not letting competing priorities get in the way of health. Health comes first, before success, before career, before everything. We must remember there is no fortitude like patience.


susan said...

I tried to post earlier but cyberspace ate this comment.

I love this. I am a classic overachiever, and will use this along with the Serenity Prayer for my daily meditation.

Thank you!!!!
And for the shout out ! I returned the favor.

Alex said...

Hi Susan. You might also be interested in my posts 'Decrease' and 'Failure' which have something to say along the same lines. Thank you too!

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond