Does the pursuit of goals kill our joy of living?
You will know it when you see it – this type of person we call “a man of action”. They rush to make their move, even when it may raise an eyebrow or two. But when this action is coupled with a clear objective, it can lead to remarkable success.
Many years ago…
When Niki was in high school he had a classmate who was quite the black sheep. Like most teenagers, he didn’t like to study but excelled in being the master of mischief. The boy was single-minded and stubborn as well as quick to act on any opportunity to ruin a class or play a prank.
It all ended in junior year when he changed almost overnight.
A sudden turn of events
Something had forced him to completely reverse his attitude and start using his strong sides for new and better purposes.
He was still stubborn, but in a good way – working to make something out of himself.
There were no more problems with his behavior and he significantly improved his grades. But there was much more. He began talking about his goals in life – starting his own business and being of value to others and not just himself.
We will meet again in 20 years
Fast forward to the 20th reunion and Niki who had lost contact with him met a totally new person. The unruly prankster has grown up to be a man of charm, positivity, and success.
And by success, we don’t mean only the big house and a fancy car. It is something else that impressed us.
A man of action
It turned out that this kid with the mind and heart for business hasn’t had wasted his time. Driven by the idea of creating something meaningful and useful to others, he has worked hard for the past 20 years.
Apparently, he didn’t spend much time planning or doubting himself. He had started several businesses which were doing very well. He created many jobs and was contributing to society in more than one way.
It was no accident
It was a rough ride for him and he did not get everything done but no crisis or a challenge was left unanswered. Everything was a result of his strong conviction that he has to stick to his idea and always actively work on it.
That same day, Niki was very surprised to see how some of the most promising classmates of his were still waiting for the perfect moment to do something with their lives.
Today we will look at how varied our deeds could be in regard to goals and how dissimilar their impact might be. And therefore the question, “What can we (or should we) do about our dreams?”
As always, we are not passing judgment, but trying to bring the distinctions to your attention. And after that you can decide for yourself how, if necessary, to change your mind on the issue.
Level # 1
“I love my dreams. But I think going after them kills the pleasure of life. Taking on our big aspirations requires a great deal of sweat and sacrifices.”
This is typical of many. At first, it definitely looks like a very attractive option.
A life that’s out of touch with reality
You might be living in a world of your own, built around your fantasies. You wouldn’t get into almost anything that might cause you strain or effort.
So, you are free-wheeling and simply coasting. Strife and confrontation are entirely missing from your everyday life.
Sure, it may seem nice and somewhat easy to live in a fantasy world. But it comes at a price.
What becomes of the dreamers
Sooner or later, however, reality catches up with them and they end up being worse off.
They expect only good things from life. And yet, it doesn’t always oblige. In the end, they still fail to do anything about it.
They start instinctively sense that they have no control whatsoever. They are like a rudderless boat left at the mercy of winds and waves of the high sea. This could be very depressing and even dangerously desperate state.
The reason and the solution?
There is a hidden limiting belief at play here. Namely, that working on a goal could be so demanding to the point of being impossible.
And the solution is in the better and deeper understanding of what’s going on.
Level # 2
“Only the lucky ones get their dreams fulfilled. The everyday life is quite busy and doesn’t leave much time for anything else, let alone pursuing higher aspiration. However, I do have dreams. And if I want something very much, I think I can do it.”
This is the first manifestation how someone learns that if they truly want something they’d better start pushing into that direction.
Knowing your strength
There are situations that can force us to go further than we would under normal circumstances.
In such extraordinary cases, we learn that we have some hidden potential and once the incentive is strong enough, nothing can stop us.
But life rarely challenges us like that. That’s why when it comes to the pursuit of our dreams, we have to find the best reason that can drive us as much.
A step forward
People know some situations can push us beyond the impossible to find a solution.
Despite being convinced that success is mostly predetermined by fortunate circumstances, they are still willing to work towards their bigger objectives. They acknowledge that one can change things for the better.
The best part is that their first victory makes them ask, “How can I do it again?”
This shows that they are ready to get to the next state.
Level # 3
“I know that dreams open us for many new opportunities. I know that chance plays a significant role, but more often than not it is I who can make all the difference. Hard work and dedication are the way.”
We too are painfully familiar with this line of thinking. The limiting (or perhaps inspiring?) belief that goals require a great deal of drive and ambition gets switched on and off from time to time. Here’s why.
The Winners’ Zone
That’s the attitude of those who accomplished a lot in many areas. They have advanced but at the expense of their health and relationships. Therefore, they view it all as a cause for chronic stress, sleepless nights, not enough time for anything except work.
Some of the leading professionals in personal development aren’t helping in that respect. Their advice is that some things are simply out of our reach and we should stay away from such lost causes. Many would listen and eventually get persuaded that some goals can make us miserable. But this is linear thinking that doesn’t reflect well the reality.
What is it that they don’t tell us?
Usually, the reason behind this is that we tend to behave in a very ad-hoc manner if no systematic approach is employed.
When working outside the boundaries of a good methodology it is likely that you will find yourself pulled into too many things which are not a priority. Not managing your time and other resources wisely may quickly get you to the state of being burnt out.
Here’s what’s going on under the surface.
The ups and downs
We have all witnessed it. First, it’s a flying start. Things are happening with ease and results are great. And it doesn’t matter what it might be – the gym, a new diet or an exciting project at work.
Eventually, though, we hit a wall. Or, we reach a plateau, one of our current abilities that is. The so-called Winners don’t give up. They try to rise and shine which is never an easy thing to do.
“The unbearable lightness of being”
Here is how a belief takes root. We become convinced that the bigger the objective, the greater our effort must be. Instead of joy and satisfaction from the work done it is anxiety and doubt that makes us miserable and disappointed.
But this is not the end of the road for the Winners. They stay focused and persistent until they made it to the other side. But they remain with the bitter aftertaste of doubt. They start asking themselves if it was worth their toil.
And the answer is closer than they may suspect.
Level # 4
“I think that I have to work towards making a dream come true. Of course, I can get help but I am the one ultimately responsible for it. My confidence depends on my work and with time and more experience I can make it all the way.”
That’s what we call the realm of the Inspired. They achieve with such elegance and ease that it seems almost effortless.
What is the difference
These are the people who “have been there, done that”. They understand the inevitability of difficult times and are ready to face them. This wisdom is what sets them apart.
For them, any problems along the way are a necessity which once resolved only make them better and stronger in dealing with adversity.
There are no failures here but only lessons to be learned.
In other words, Inspired people are capable of getting more courage and confidence from each small step forward. They never stop learning their lessons from even the smallest setback.
There is more here.
They have a system
They already learned that it is a marathon rather than a sprint.
They organize and plan for the long-term using a systematic approach. That allows them to maintain a constant and reasonable speed in this race. And that makes for a good and positive experience.
The first thing for them is a clear vision. Then it is the time to carefully develop and implement the strategies. There is also the mechanism of support, aka their Goal Buddy. But that’s not all. They have the answer to the most important question:
How come they have the time for everything?
The answer is in the long-term vision for every relevant aspect of their lives. And acting on these spares them the sensation of time passing.
They have years at their disposal and thus can go on with less anxiety and worry. They register progress on a regular basis with the help of the quarterly strategies which are put into effect through the weekly goals.
For them, “here and now” is not a priority. They are confident that the accumulative effect of the incremental progress will bring in the desired result. So, the feeling of growing and moving in the right direction is always with them. That ensures confidence, satisfaction, and excellent motivation.
“Nobody is born wise”
Both groups of people, the last two levels, get what they want. The distinction is in the price they pay.
We can’t avoid difficult moments. Sometimes we do the right thing and rise to the occasion. Some other times, however, we all make mistakes and get in trouble.
It’s normal to go through separate periods and each time we see and appreciate life in a different way. Besides, we are all very much the product of our environment. Starting with childhood and all the way throughout our lives we evolve under the influence of our family, friends, and social environment in general.
Still, nothing is predetermined and we strive to change the course of our lives.
We want you to work within a system that helps you to move towards your objectives with ease, confidence and do it at a reasonable pace. We want you to utilize your vision in such a way that time works for and not against you. We also wish you that it is a wonderful experience for you and the results are lasting. We all will be living in a better world when more like you realize their potential and reach their greatest dreams.