Being unmoved by outcomes has many applications

When a rugby match is being televised between two teams you don’t know or care about, it’s just a sports event playing on a screen in the corner. When it’s a cup final involving your favourite team and their arch-rivals, suddenly you’re involved as though your life depends on it. It’s the same physical reality, so why the heart attack in one instance and not the other? Because of the meaning you’ve created around your team winning.

Next time it’s your team, take a step back – even for a few seconds – and look at what’s going on. Take it a step further: see if you can have an interest in the outcome of the game without getting emotionally attached, without losing yourself. This is a good exercise for a valuable life skill: the ability to detach from outcomes.

If you can detach you can hold your centre in any situation

This may sound schizophrenic, but it’s possible to be completely committed to a goal, and completely detached at the same time. Basically, it’s having a strong preference for something to happen, and being unmoved if it doesn’t – not just for some things, but for everything.

How would having this skill benefit you? Firstly, you’d be able to take actions you wouldn’t take otherwise (because you’d be less afraid of losing). Secondly, you’d be able to hold your centre, your sense of self, no matter who walks in the room or what good or bad news you hear.