Goal Oriented Life – No Thanks !

Over the years I have worked with thousands of people – from the least known to the celebrities,  from the poor to the wealthy, from the all cultures, beliefs and persuasions…One thing that unites them all is the desire to be happy.

One thing that is extremely common in people who are struggling, is that they use what popular culture calls a “Goal Oriented” strategy.

This pop culture / pop psychology approach to living is to set goals such as ;

  1. Have a happy marriage
  2. Find financial stability
  3. Have a healthy relationship with the kids
  4. Develop a career in {insert choice}

At this point people get angry with me and say “these are honorable goals why shouldn’t we set them ?”

Well here’s why, and here’s why they are so much of a problem in terms of finding happiness and flow…

  1. They are all focused on outcomes
  2. They are focused on situations ( home / job / family )
  3. They define success or failure on achieving the list – even if we tell ourselves they are just goals

What I teach my students is that peace and happiness and flow don’t come from goals, it comes from challenges.. and that we must never have achieved a goal, we must always be challenged so as soon as anything like a goal approaches, we must set the bar higher..

In other words we must always be seeking that which takes us outside of the zone of what we’d like and takes us into where we need to go in order to grow.

My stepson is a gamer.. a very accomplished one.  In any game he seeks to “beat the game”.. getting the best weapons, the super upgrades and kicking the ass of his friends.. I often play some of the same games but I play single player and I challenge myself by trying to get through without the large super-weapon.. I just take the pistol.. I see if its possible… He goes through games like wildfire and gets very frustrated, I get a couple of games a year and I challenge myself more every time, never just wanting to achieve the end of the game.

Pop psychology would likely say this could be down to age difference or what it calls “personality” but it would be wrong.. I have been him, many years ago but I was him.. impatient, needing to conquer, needing more, bigger, better, louder, faster and only buzzing off the conquest…

What changed was not age, because there are many people still working in that mode, but it was a fundamental part of my spiritual development – as it is with everyone’s – to learn to enjoy the activity not just the goal. Anyone who watched NCIS remembers Gibbs building boats in his basement.. and as soon as one was finished he would build another.. It is about being able to live in the moment and savor every step, to be outside the comfort zone, to be in the challenge that keeps us flowing and finds happiness.

What many call happiness is satiation, abundance, possession, a list of achievements.. but that’s not it, that’s hollow..

The artisan finds joy in the challenge of sanding a piece of wood flat.. sure in the knowledge s/he can never achieve the perfection but always welcoming the challenge to take it further, to improve, to strive..  It is in the simplicity of the person’s relationship to the piece of wood and in the presence of life in the now.. not in the goal.

Spiritual development is not about knowing anything, not about having loads of books, its about abdication of the need for those.. Watch a dog play with a ball, watch the joy from the simple act.. watch a young child play.. same thing. Spiritual evolution is coming closer and closer and closer to getting joy from the simplest acts in life, thriving on challenges, needing less and less.. life is already abundant.

As for the goal oriented stuff? well life has a habit of already having set them for us, and if we are in flow we will walk that path – but life’s goals aren’t about situations or places, remember your universe is an energy being.. her goals may well be flow, harmony, compassion, objectivity, altruism, empowerment..

Why can’t we do that so easily ?

One of the main reasons is that we become indoctrinated into being goal, subject or situation oriented… we lose that connection with the simple joys…

If there is one these to all of my work, it is showing people what is keeping them from once again achieving that state of simple happiness…and teaching them how to regain it

In this case the only goals are 1. Flow 2. Flow and 3. Flow

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