As I work my way through The Seeker’s Guide, I naturally want to know more about Mitch Horowitz. I found an interview with him on The Creative Independent website that was published in October 2022. He seems like an interesting character with interesting things to say that resonate with my way of thinking.
On the question of distraction, Mitch had this to say:
Not when I’m passionate. If I’m dedicated to a project that I love, I just move forward with the velocity of a bullet and I don’t experience any distractions whatsoever. I encourage people to watch for those areas in life where they don’t experience distractions, there can be a very important message there.
This has been true in my experience as well. The times I don’t get distracted are when I’m deep in the creative process, whether that’s editing a blog post or editing a podcast or video. The intense concentration sends me into a flow state. The rest of the world ceases to exist. There is only me and the object of my focus.
Mitch attributes it too the interplay between emotions and thoughts.
This interplay comes together when you are truly passionate about something. You bring a level of enthusiasm with you that captures your attention. And if you can bring this level of enthusiasm to more areas of your life the less distracted you’ll be. One of Mitch’s spiritual teachers told him he should do everything with heart. It’s like what Don Juan said to Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan:
Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.The Teachings of Don Juan
You do best that which you do all the time. Passion is great, but if you don’t put in the work, nothing happens. You have to put in the sweat equity. The simple fact is, as Mitch says:
you get better at what you do frequently, which is another facet of why it’s so important to have a definite chief aim. So if you’re a dancer or a programmer or a martial artist, or a writer, or a cabinet maker, or whatever it is that you do in life, your excellence in that area will yield to time. And the impulse, the passion in itself is insufficient. It’s an ignition point, but we all know that to build a fire requires a very meticulous process. And those of us who have been camping know how haste will extinguish a bonfire quicker than anything else. It requires building, There’s a lattice work that’s there. So, passion is obviously a vital ingredient. If you’re cold and you need to build a fire, you’re not going to have any divided impulses about the task at hand. But in order to succeed at the task in hand, a great deal of meticulousness is necessary.
The last thing I want to highlight from this article is Mitch’s reframing of manifestation to what he calls selection. So there is this idea that we create our own reality. And this reality is created through what we focus on. Manifestation encourages you to focus on what you want in order to manifest it into reality. The problem Mitch says is that:
We all think that we know what we want in life. We’re very conditioned by repetition, by peer orientation to think that we know what we want, but we also engage in a great deal of internalized inhibition and conformity, and sometimes we repeat things to ourselves so frequently by rote about what we want in terms of relationships or career or creative output that we’re apt to regard those things without verification.
The results of this is that we get “something” but often times it’s not quite what we wanted. And we can become disheartened by this because we feel like we put in the effort, asked the Universe for what we wanted, only to receive something that still leaves us dissatisfied.
The reason for this Mitch suggests is that we have spent adequate time with the question “What do I want in life?” We haven’t moved past the surface thoughts. We haven’t gone deep. What Mitch suggests is this:
I encourage the individual in an atmosphere of total privacy, just within the confines of his or her psyche, to really ask with complete unembarrassed intimacy, “What do I want in life?” Not conditioning it, not subjecting it to things that have been repeated to us so long that they sound like innate truths of life and not to feel that we need anyone else’s approbation, whether that anyone else might be peers or might be some personal conception of god or some other greater force. I ask the individual to really get down into the guts of things and place themselves naked in front of the question, “What do I really want?” That clarified wish by itself can be extremely powerful.
I mentioned chief aim earlier. I want to touch on that briefly before we finish. Having a chief aim is a concept borrowed from Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich. He says that we should have one chief aim in life. Hill believed that having a clear purpose in life was essential for success. He argued that having a chief aim – a single, long-term goal – was essential to focus one’s time and energy. Hill believed that this one goal should be pursued with relentless determination.
Focused concentration creates force.