In his recent article on savoring practices, Barry Bryce, editor of mindful.org, suggests that we could savour our achievements and associated rewards to develop our mindfulness.
So often we move from one form of achievement to another – we might be writing, developing, creating, encouraging, inspiring or contributing on an ongoing basis. These achievements can be in any arena of our lives – work, home or community. We become so busy “doing” that we fail to savor the moment and the achievement involved.
According to the living Oxford Dictionary, an achievement is:
A thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.
So an achievement is no mean feat – it is something requiring effort, skill and/or courage that has a successful outcome. It is interesting that many people when asked to share an achievement have difficulty identifying one. However, when helped to explore their work and life, they are sometimes able to list a number of achievements. This indicates that personal achievements are not “top of mind” and are rarely savored.
Savoring your achievements
Part of the problem is that people often think that acknowledging and/or sharing achievements is boasting – a term that has many negative connotations and a very strong association with stereotypes. While this perspective may prevent you from sharing your achievements publicly, it should not stop you from savoring them privately.
Savoring an achievement develops appreciation and gratitude for the gifts, skills, opportunities, resources and support that we so often take for granted. It can build self-confidence and self-efficacy (the belief in our capacity to successfully undertake a specific task). It enables us to grow in mindfulness as we increase our awareness in-the-moment of how we have used our skills, effort and/or courage to accomplish some outcome. If the intent of savoring the achievement is to express appreciation and gratitude, this deepens our mindful practice.
Savoring our own achievements builds a positive perspective, reduces the possibility of envy and helps us to acknowledge and appreciate the achievements of others.
Savoring your rewards
We can savor the rewards associated with our achievements by firstly identifying them and then appreciating them. Rewards may take the form of intrinsic satisfaction, external recognition, a sense of purpose and contribution, physical or monetary outcomes, positive emotions, or increased connection with other people and/or our community.
Rewards are reinforcing – they strengthen our self-belief, encourage us to further achievements and increase the likelihood that we will be successful again. Savoring rewards keeps these outcomes at the forefront of our minds and provides motivation for further achievement.
A personal reflection on savoring
In reflecting on what I have written above, I suddenly realised that I have been savoring achievement in one area of my life for many years – in playing tennis. During a game of tennis, I try to remember at least one shot that I executed very well and achieved what I set out to achieve. I now have a video archive in my head of numerous shots that I value as achievements – they involved the successful exercise of effort and skill, and sometimes, courage. I learnt early on in playing tennis that part of the mental game of tennis is to focus on what you do right, not what you do wrong. For me, one of the consistent rewards of these achievements, that I truly savor, is the sense of competence that I experience. Another reward that I savor is reinforcement of my ability to execute a specific shot very well, e.g. a half-volley, a topspin lob or a drive volley.
If you practice savoring your achievements and the associated rewards, you will grow in mindfulness and increase your ability to be fully present in the moment. The development of mindfulness brings its own rewards of calm, clarity, creativity and consideration of others.
By Ron Passfield – Copyright (Creative Commons license, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives)
Image source: courtesy of Pezibear on Pixabay