Take a breath. Look up from whatever device you’re reading on and give yourself a moment to revel in the pause. What do you feel?
If you’re like me, you feel “binding” restrictive feelings mapped all over your body—the byproduct of too many commitments, unfinished projects, missed deadlines and an ever-growing to-do list. Shackled in the complexity of your own making…
…That is, if you even took the moment to pause. Like many of us, you probably feel like you don’t have time to pause and take a breath, so you just read on. Or maybe you paused briefly and felt the mental “tumble” of cluttering thoughts falling out of the ever-swirling circular pattern of your mind.
Lately I’ve had a real fixation on what I call “white space.” As an aspiring creative writer, I find that purposeful pauses between my ever-running series of thoughts and activities, is a necessary component of my process. Time is hard to come by, and I find that if I’m not deliberate, vigilant and committed to creating and observing these pauses, they don’t happen. Life never just hands me “white space.”
So it was with keen interest that I picked up Barbara Zerfoss’ book The Power of Nothing—it promised to open up possibilities and facilitate breakthroughs. At just over 100 large-font and highly illustrated pages, The Power of Nothing is brief and simple. It’s like a wonderfully reductive and palatable version of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now—one that can be consumed in a mere 30 minutes.
The beauty of this book is that it presents ideas that resonate as something you already knew, but which you’ve very critically forgotten. Zerfoss challenges you to consider your relationship to your own past, present and future and how those relationships serve you in achieving your goals—both personally and professionally.
What if you could wipe the slate clear of all your past mistakes, of the old patterns that bind you, of the accumulation of “baggage” you carry into each new day? What if you could create the future you imagine for yourself? What if you could slow time and live in a calm state of abundance, feeling fulfilled in your daily accomplishments? According to Barbara Zerfoss, mother of two, corporate powerhouse turned entrepreneur, and author of The Power of Nothing, you can.
Her approach is simple. Pretend the past doesn’t exist (because it doesn’t). Allow yourself to absorb the impact of the fact the future doesn’t exist either (not yet), and thus you have a near limitless possibility today—right now, in fact—to begin the building of a future you desire.
Throw out what you think you know about your limitations, the problems and barriers that lay in your future, and start having relevant conversations with yourself and those around you, about the powerful and innovative future you envision. Work backward from that envisioned future to make sure you are taking the right steps today to arrive there.
Does it seem too simple? Too optimistic or unrealistic? Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s simply the influence of your nonexistent past or limited notions of the future telling you so. 😉 At the very least, Zerfoss’ ideas are worth consideration.
In a clean, streamlined compilation of anecdotes, liberating ideas, emblematic core values, and a simple three-part strategy, The Power of Nothing guides you in finding the “nothing” in your life. It is more than an assertion of possibility. It offers a method for recalibrating your sense of choice. It takes possibility out of the realm of future hope and brings it to the level of today’s action.
I’ve been engaged in the process of personal development long enough to understand that there are no quick fixes, no one-size-fits-all solutions, no all-encompassing ideologies. So, I’m not saying The Power of Nothing is going to turn it all around, fix your time-management struggle or be THE solution to achieving your personal highest and best. But I do think this book is one of the most concise exhortations to live in the present and live your purpose that I’ve found in the self-help aisle.
A perusal of this book at the start of your workday or at least your workweek, may serve to remind you to disencumber yourself from the unimportant and unreal distractions that we all face in our wildly overcomplicated lives. It may spurn you past dreaming or ruminating and into action. It may help you create the “white space” you need in order to deliberately build the future you desire.
For my part, I’m going to try incorporating the “pause” of a read-through of The Power of Nothing into my weekly routine, to remind myself I don’t have to be bound by busyness, self-limiting interpretations of my past, or perceived barriers to my future.
To the (slightly more transparent) possibility of endless becoming…Happy reading!
About the Author of The Power of Nothing:
Barbara Zerfoss served for twelve years as a senior marketing executive for a multibillion-dollar global corporation. Ever the seeker of new possibilities to fulfill her purpose and transform lives, Zerfoss chose to leave the past behind and invented a new future that uses her marketing, writing, and strategic thinking talents. Today, she is president of the Zerfoss Group and leads strategic visioning seminars with CEOs and their executive teams.
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