Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Are Goals a Thing of the Past?

Are Goals a Thing of the Past?

One of my favorite bloggers and writer, +Leo Babauta, wrote recently on his blog a surprising post about the end of our need for goals. In a brilliant and as always, simple manner, Mr. Babauta explains that he now prefers "to wander in a goal-less path," focusing instead on four principles which includes being engaged in what he loves, connected with the people in his world, helping others and particularly, being curious about what happens in the world around him.

And as much as this may seem at first like an unrealistic proposal, whoa! – What a refreshing idea! In a world saturated with the pressure of deadlines and expectations for better, more, longer and bigger, it is invigorating to hear someone muster the courage, the insight and the rhetoric to stand up and trumpet such a message of simplicity and acceptance.

I thought about Mr. Babauta's post quite seriously for a number of days and still continue to believe in his bottom line message – let us stop being so over-consumed with achievement and growth and let us be more in tune with life as it develops moment by moment. And I couldn't agree more. However, I would like to be a bit more cautious and take a more balanced approach on how to handle progress in our lives.

In a world obsessed with goals and achievement, we have already seen a backlash for such extreme approach. Today, it is sad to see so many lives being wasted because of a lack of direction. Without goals, a sense of purpose or a set of personal challenges, so many people are now already "wandering in a goal-less path", wasting away their gifts and precious contributions, consciously or unconsciously resigning from the demands of our times. For many people today, it seems better to quit or not even try, then jump into this insane, fast-paced, demanding world.

While I would never endorse or give excuses for quitters, I do think their behavior can also be a warning sign to us all. So, rather than embracing either extreme lifestyle, I would like propose 4 different and perhaps more moderate set of principals.

1. Know what makes you tick!
This is the essence of any success in any aspect of life. Going "goal-less" without being grounded on a set of principles and purpose is a recipe for disaster. You got to know what you are made of and what you are all about. You got to be clear of your purpose, your passions – call it whatever you want to call it – you got to be anchored on the essence of your life and on what you want to make up of your time on this planet. Even if you just want to live and let loose – no commitments, be a hermit in a cave, at least this is what you consciously choose for yourself. And if that is where you want to invest your energy on – go for it! Live it fully with all my blessings... What is extremely sad and wasteful is to go about the days roaming around like a robot without direction. Perhaps even faithfully performing all the duties and following all the rules, but still not fully engaged to live and the possibilities you were given.

2. Hold your goals loosely
Once you got a sense of direction, I don't think it is unwise to create a set of parameters to help you navigate it through. We all need some strategy to maneuver through life. And those, contrary to Mr. Babauta, I call goals. They are markers, tangible ideas and tools to give you a structure to move around. I actually think them to be essential. However, having goals does not mean narrowing your horizons and holding them so tightly that you lose perspective. Have your set of stepping-stones but understand that life happens at every moment – understand that life is normally unpredictable. There is stuff going on all the time, all around us and it would be foolish to be so fixated on a single strategy, completely dismissing new information and possibilities being offered to us. This doesn't mean change course at every new idea that shows up in front of you. If you are grounded on your purpose, it will be much easier to identify the superfluous and non-essentials. Like a solid tree in the midst of a storm, you need to know how to accommodate without being broken or uprooted.

3. Do the best with what you get
Nothing is perfect! We all say this, but we all still keep waiting and expecting perfection. On the path of your life, know that limitations are a given. The trick here is, no matter the situation; make the best out of it. Stop waiting for the best condition, for all to be resolved and all to be correct, fair and just. Stop waiting for what could have been or what should be the right way. It is not! And it will most likely never be. What you can't stop doing is stop living – always waiting for something to happen so you can move forward. Learn how to "make hay while the sun shines" and if it's a rainy day, go ahead and find something else to focus your attention on. Whatever the conditions, make the best of it.

4. Learn to embrace whatever the outcome
And just like everything else in life, the outcome may be (and most likely will be) something completely different than what you had in mind when you first started. I'm old enough now to have the blessing of looking back and be flabbergasted at how my story came to be. Not in a million years I would have guessed then, where I am right now. We like to think we are in control of our lives, and some control is important, but we need to be humble enough to understand that life is unpredictable – and that is actually part of the fun! Things are not going to happen the way you want it to happen. It rarely does! Learn how to accept and love what is right now.

In any case, no matter how you want to call your "goals", know that the life you have right now is a gift. You are beautiful and so very precious. There is so much you can accomplish and contribute to. Let's not get obsessed with accomplishments, but let's not relinquish into a life of resignation and self-pity either. Be kind and compassionate with yourself. But also be strong, hopeful and keep moving – keep living – keep being. This moment right now will never come back again. Savor it and live it fully!

Do You Have Goals?
Do you think goals are important? Do you strive to have a clear set of goals in your life or business? I would love to hear your comments. Leave your stories, comments and questions below or go to my Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook page to post your ideas there. You can also leave a voice message at my direct line at 732.419.2566. And of course, you can always e-mail me at HERE.

Many thanks to all who sent me private messages, voice messages, wrote on my twitter, facebook or LinkedIn groups. I read all comments and try to respond to them accordingly. It is always wonderful to hear from you and I look forward to learning more from your experience.

Next Week: Go Take a Nap!
Do you take naps? What do you think are the benefits or setbacks of taking naps on a daily basis? Do we have time for naps? Next week I will be talking about Naps and how it may be the secret to having a productive day.

Let me know what you think about this "forgotten art" we keep neglecting to pay attention to. You can post your comments on this page below or go to my twitter or Facebook page to post your ideas there. You can also leave a voice message at my direct line at 732.419.2566. And of course, you can always e-mail me at elias@eliasscultori.com.

Looking forward to receiving your comments.

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