You Need to Immediately Take on the Project That Excites You the Most

Neil StraussAdvice

It’s been a busy week here preparing for The HAVE.

I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. One of my goals for this Year of Deep Inner Game is for The HAVE to become a regularly recurring resource for all those who need to deal with and resolve their issues. (Which is basically everyone.)

I know that each person who goes through it, or something similar, will become a better (and more emotionally, socially, and psychologically) smart person. And with each improved person, the world is improved.

If you missed your opportunity for this HAVE, we will re-open enrollment for the January HAVE afterward. I will report on how it goes. Thanks to you all for making this possible.

But this is not why I’m writing today.

I’m writing with an important and useful message. It may not make sense at first, but follow my logic.

The message is:

Your result, in anything you do, is not the result.

Your outcome (at the end of every project or semester or date or task etc) is not the outcome.


In other words, we are trained to be goal oriented. We have an objective in so much of what we do.

We want that big passion project we are working on to be a success.

We want that big date to end in a physical or romantic relationship.

We want that teacher to give us a good grade.

We even have outcomes we expect from our tiny daily activities: We hope to find a parking place or get to an appointment on time or get a response to that email/text we sent.

And when we don’t get the outcome we want or expect, what happens?

Many of us get unhappy or disappointed or frustrated or even spiral into shame.

Our responses range from thinking that something is wrong with us if someone we like isn’t interested; or getting angry and bitter about an imagined “unfairness” if a big project doesn’t succeed. Or just getting annoyed at not finding a parking place; or inordinately stressed about being late.

Some people will even go so far as to think that “God” or “the universe” hates them.

We take any of these little things, and we act as if our whole self-esteem or even our whole life is at stake in the result.

And because of that, especially when it comes to the projects related to our biggest dreams and goals in life, many people have a literal fear reaction: They fight or flee or freeze.

Procrastination is one form of this, sometimes so severe that the project is never even started. Or you may work on it, but with so much stress and anxiety that you take years off your life. Or you may become so precious about every little thing in a project that you are a nightmare to work with. Or you may abandon it (always with a great plausible excuse) just before the finish line.

All this can also play havoc with our happiness and positivity, not to mention our relationships with others and ourselves.

So this blog post is to tell you, in whatever category you fall into:

It’s all an illusion.

Not in a cosmic spiritual way (though this is true), but in a very real and practical sense.

The result of any project is not an endpoint to your life (unless you are actually going to die at the end).

The outcome of a project or life event opens up a new door, path, or change.

And whether the project succeeds or fails by your standards doesn’t actually matter. It still leads you to the next event in your life.

And while it is true that each outcome leads somewhere different, you don’t actually know whether the success or failure door is the better one to go through.

Each result in your life is just a fork on a path that is endlessly forking. And it is impossible to predict where it is leading.

You can make the best choice in the world that leads to a huge fortune and a private plane, and then the plane can crash with no survivors the very first time you fly in it.

You can make the worst decision of your life and end up in jail, but have experiences there that allow you to transform, write a book, start a movement, and change the world for the better when you get out.

You just don’t know.

And the reason I’m writing this to you today is because you need to immediately take on the project that excites you the most, with no procrastination. And some of you need to stop stewing in past imagined failures that prevent you from taking action in the present.

I am relieving you of any anxiety you may have about whether you have the capabilities or not, whether it succeeds or fails, and whatever the outcome is.

There is only one outcome you can control: And that’s doing your best job at any particular project, given who you are today, and completing it to the best of your abilities.

That is the new definition of success.

The rest is not only out of your control, but you don’t even know whether failure or success will be better for you in the long run.

So become performance-centric and outcome-agnostic.

The Parable of the Horse and the Farmer

I’m going to leave you with a famous Taoist parable, which I’m completely paraphrasing from memory and some my own words:

Once there was a poor, hard-working farmer, and one day his horse—the only horse he owned—ran away.

His neighbors consoled him, “Such bad luck, I’m so sorry.”

“Maybe,” the farmer replied. “Who knows whether it’s bad or good.”

The next day, the horse returned, and it brought with it three wild horses.

“Wow,” the farmer’s neighbors exclaimed. “You’re so lucky.”

“Maybe,” the farmer replied. “Who knows.”

The next day, the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses, and he was thrown off and broke his leg.

“That’s a shame,” the farmer’s neighbors said. “I’m sorry for your misfortune.”

“Maybe it’s misfortune, maybe it isn’t,” the farmer replied. “Who knows.”

The next day, war broke out, and there was a draft. The authorities came to the house to enlist the farmer’s son. But when they saw that his leg was broken and he couldn’t walk, they let him stay at home and he didn’t have to go fight in the bloody war.

“Wow, you really got lucky there,” the neighbors told the farmer. “You must be so glad that horse threw your son.”

“Maybe,” the farmer said. “Who knows…”

This story could go on forever.

And the point is…

The outcome is not the outcome.

The result is not the result.

So treat bad fortune with the same equanimity as you treat good fortune.

And go do something big. Focus. Work hard. Aim for an outcome, if you want. But know that it’s just a tool to use to motivate yourself, not something that will make or break your life. There will be plenty more projects and outcomes afterward.

One more thing…

Due to a student who hasn’t claimed his reservation, there is actually a space that’s now open in The HAVE VIP Experience, which is only for those who want a very deep transformation.

It’s The HAVE plus two bonus days immediately afterward in a small group with me (and one of my favorite inner-game experts from The Truth).

We will be working very personally and specifically on any lingering core or personal issues afterward, as well as identifying other problem areas that you are likely not even aware of but which are holding you back from your full potential. It will be very intimate, experiential, and transformative.

We’ll all know each other afterward on a deeper level than our closest friends and family. And most importantly, you’ll know yourself better than you ever have.

If you’re interested, DM me on Instagram (or contact me here) with your details and let me know as soon as possible.

Make sure the dates work before contacting me so we don’t have any empty seats. August 10-14 in Los Angeles.

See you soon.