In life, there’s something called the law of reverse effort.
Reverse effort is why sand sits in your palm when it’s open and relaxed, but slips through your fingers when you grip it tightly. It’s why so many people find love when they “aren’t looking for it,” why effortlessness is an element of everything we find truly beautiful. It is why we are told that “easy does it,” and that to let go is to allow good things to blossom in our lives.
Unfortunately, all of this is in direct opposition to what we’re taught about success.
We imagine that we could achieve higher states of being by exerting more force. We think that we can manipulate ourselves into physical perfection, our surroundings into showroom-level beauty, our relationships into idealized versions of what they really are.
And we think this because, to a degree, we find it to be true.
It is true that we must first pick up the sand to hold it, that we must be open to finding love to find it at all, that we must show up and take action to create our lives.
Our behavior is, without question, directly responsible for the outcomes of our lives.
But there is a difference between what we show up and do our best at, and what we show up and try to manipulate into what it was never supposed to be.
That is where so many people get stuck.
Trying to make your life perfect is preventing it from being good enough.
When we are intent on trying to manipulate outcomes into what they were never intended to become, we end up inching toward our idea of perfection while at the same time feeling as though we are farther and farther behind.
This mindset leads us to stay in relationships that aren’t right for us, remain attached to people who aren’t meant to be part of our future, try to fix small things that don’t need to be fixed in the first place, adjust small details that were fine the first time around.
It’s this mindset that leads us to ignore timing and override our instincts.
It’s this mindset that keeps us walking in circles, our eyes down on the ground, never feeling like any progress is enough.
It’s this mindset that leaves us feeling like a shell of the people we were meant to be, because when we chase perfection, we are trying to create an image.
When we chase “good enough,” we are trying to create a feeling.
Good enough is not giving up. It is not settling. It is not throwing your hands up once you’ve gotten far enough that you can relax. Good enough is a state of mind in which every step, and every day, has goodness within it. Good enough means that we do not wait until we arrive somewhere new to start enjoying our lives.
It means that we can see clearly and act with integrity.
It means that as often as we rise up and control what we can, we also release and let go of what we can’t.
It means that we are not in “correct” mode all of the time, rather, we gear ourselves to appreciate. It’s when we allow our eyes to gravitate toward what is already good, and what might be better.
It means that we move with a love for life, and ourselves. It means that we acknowledge the imperfect beauty of everything around us.
But more than anything, it is when we recognize that anything that flows out of us naturally, any relationship that coheres effortlessly, any art that erupts from us like a second nature… is far better than anything we have to force to be good.
Nothing has to be perfect to be enough.
Because it never will be perfect, and it always can be enough.
The choice, in the end, is ours.