Do you pride yourself on being a multitasker? Do you find yourself always going and doing and rushing around?
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be productive and get a lot done, but doing too much at one time can be
counterproductive, especially when it comes to your search for love.
I have a client who we’ll call Olive for anonymity’s sake. She is one of those super high-energy women who literally can’t
sit still. When I am doing my group Zoom Meeting calls for my private 12-week love coaching program, Emotionally
Naked Dating, I can see Olive fidgeting in her little box on the screen. She is up and down the entire time. Olive has
bragged to me about how she’s a “doer.” When I spoke to her during our one-on-one coaching calls, she told me she was
excited about the transformation, she was experiencing through my course. But each time we talked, she would also tell
me about some other weekend class or lecture she signed up for in addition to my course. When I asked her why she
was putting all of these other things on her plate, she said that working with me had made her realize how much work
she has to do on herself and she is just trying to get it all done.
“I love your passion, Olive,” I said, “but have you ever thought about just focusing on the work we’re doing? I’m actually
giving you a lot of material, and it would be more productive if you were to focus on getting the most out of our work
before starting something new.”
Like Olive, when you try to learn too many new things at once it becomes a law of diminishing returns because you don’t
give yourself enough time to assimilate what you’ve learned before going on to the next thing. Just because you hear
information and understand it, that doesn’t mean you’ve learned it. Have you noticed that you can read books or watch
endless Youtube videos about how to find love and, still, nothing changes? Shifting old, unwanted behaviors isn’t as
easy or as automatic as you might think because your patterns can be deeply ingrained from as far back as childhood.
The only way to truly integrate a new approach to life is by putting that theory into practice until it becomes a new
behavior. More often than not, it takes time and conscious effort to replace our old behaviors with more positive,
Integrate One New Concept at a Time
I can understand why the idea of doing one thing at a time was foreign to Olive because I was once like her. But I’ve
since learned that when we focus on integrating one new theory rather than many, we actually move forward much
faster. It isn’t necessary to waste more time gathering hundreds of tools. It is more effective to perfect the ones the
ones we already have.
If you truly want to simplify your search for love, the best way to do that is by choosing one path or program and learning
to do it well… and quitting isn’t an option.
Stay With What You Don’t Know
It’s human nature to get easily frustrated, tell yourself “this isn’t working,” and then quit when you don’t get instant
results. But as you stay the course and attempt to master that one new behavior, no matter how challenging or boring it might seem, you will grow in ways you never could have imagined.
A true master will tell you that mastery does not come when you expect it to. It comes as a result of sticking through
those boring or difficult times, for that’s when you’re actually growing, even if you don’t think you are.
One of the highlights of my spiritual journey was when I studied with Don Miguel Ruiz. He’s written some wildly popular
self-help books, including The Four Agreements. Eighteen years ago, when I realized I didn’t need a million tools to
work with, I decided to use the ones I already had. Because of my work with Don Miguel, the obvious choice for me was
to apply The Four Agreements to my search for true love. In case you don’t know them, The Four Agreements are:
Be Impeccable in Your Word
Don’t Take Anything Personally
Don’t Make Any Assumptions
Always Do Your Best
At face value, these agreements might sound simple, but I assure you mastering them is not.
I committed to practicing each agreement for 3 months for a total of a year. I started with “Don’t Take Anything
Personally.” It’s the second agreement, but I chose to work with that one first because that had always been my greatest
challenge in life. In my younger years, I was extremely defensive and took everything personally.
For three months I looked at my dating life through the lens of not taking anything personally. I suggest you try this too.
When something disturbed or upset me, I would ask myself, “How am I personalizing this?” “What is this triggering
inside of me?” “Is this touching on an old wound?” “What do I need to look at here?”
Keep Going Deeper
To deepen my understanding of what it means to not take things personally, I read and reread the notes I’d taken in the
lectures I’d attended with Don Miguel. Each time I read over them, I found new and deeper meanings. My
understanding of what I thought I’d heard the first time grew as I became more skilled and less defensive.Three months
later, I added “Don’t Make Any Assumptions” to my practice. You’ll want to also give this a try. When I looked at my
dating life through this lens, I began to see all of the many assumptions I was making about men, what they were
thinking, who they are, what motivates them, and what they wanted from me as a woman. I realized that so much of what
I thought about the opposite sex was based on the theories and stories my girlfriends had told me and not on any my
own experience with men.
As I let go of my assumptions, I began to open up to a whole different understanding and way of relating to men. This
proved to be a definitive turning point in my search for my life partner. I stopped being afraid of men and started to have
compassion for them. I saw that they are people too with just as many unique fears and desires as we have, and I began
to search for and find the sweet balance between us.
After this, I explored Being Impeccable in Your Word and then Always Do Your Best. Instead of skimming the surface, I
delved deep into each agreement, allowing them to inform and shape the way I dated. Th impact of applying the four
agreements to my dating life was simple yet profound, and by the end of my first year of dating I was considerably
calmer, more emotionally open, and more comfortable with men than I was when I had first started.
Make Your Own Plan
It may seem that learning many things at once would be the fastest way to get to where you want to go. But scientists
say that multitasking isn’t even possible. The human brain can only focus on one thought or idea at a time.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to read endless books or have hundreds of tools in your toolbox. You need to
start applying the information and tools you already have. Try taking out your notes from that dating course you did last
year or open that book you read on understanding men while on your beach vacation. Review the parts you highlighted
and do the exercises you skimmed over. Make a step-by-step plan for how you will start to apply the things that stood
out to you to your dating journey.
The master doesn’t tell herself that she is a master. She knows that mastery is never-ending and there will always be
deeper layers of understanding to unfold and explore. If you read something new and think, “Oh, I get it!” you have only
achieved an intellectual understanding of that idea. To master it, you must put it into practice in your dating life over and
over again until it becomes integrated into your very being.
After I met my husband, I asked him why we have such a peaceful relationship and we almost never argue or fight. I was
pleased when he gave me his answer. He said, “It’s because you don’t take anything personally.” Then he laughed and
said, “I think you might do ‘Don’t Take Anything Personally’ better than Don Miguel.” Benjamin’s acknowledgment came
many years after I had set out to master this skill but I accepted it wholeheartedly, knowing I had earned it and that, for
the most part, it was true.