You may be thinking:
“Wow! That’s quite a thing to say, isn’t it? I’ve had plenty of problems achieving goals so how can he say that?…”
Our Universe is ordered. Certain “laws” prevail and we rely on those laws acting without our intervention but, as far as we know, it is not possible to “break” those laws even if we wanted to.
At every level of “Creation” or “The Universe” (whatever you choose to call it) there are laws that govern action right down to the smallest particles. Does that include human behavior?
We are creatures of those laws and their patterns go through and through every bit of our behavior.
We are pattern-oriented creatures, who have the ability to create patterns for ourselves. And that’s where the trouble starts.
The ability to think in the abstract, and use language, create philosophies and systems allows us to do all sorts of interesting stuff but it also gets us in hot water at times.
One “feature” of our ability to think, is that we give more credence to precedence (what came before in our experience) than to logic.
Basically, our thinking skill creates coherent and consistent maps that allows us to create individual maps, whose only criteria for carrying forward is “are you still alive?”.
We pretend that our thinking is real thinking when for all of us, more often than not, we are attempting to re-make the whole Universe’s reality fit our expectations and ideas of what we have thought, felt and experienced before.
When we come to goals, the boundaries of our experience, and how we have mapped what we think is reality and what is possible, define how we will deal with ANY new possibility appearing before us. In other worlds, our world will only be as big as we have imagined it, based on our previous experience.
Does that mean that there is no reality outside? No, I didn’t say that. What I said is that you will only respond to the world on to the basis of how you have viewed it previously.
Therefore, the title of this article.
In over 30 years I have only heard of ONE person wanting to work on what they called a goal, which could not be explained as a purposive and progressive path of action in pursuit of a specific result.
Just one. Everyone else I’ve worked with had a goal capable of being pursued (with more or less thinking, sweat and effort).
The one person? She was an actress?
What was her “goal”?
To win an Academy Award.
Now, you may know that the Oscar is not a project anyone can work towards – it is rigged sham of industry insiders, created and promoted simply as a marketing tool for Hollywood.
You can make films, you can act in films, you can live in Los Angeles, you can sleep with producers, you can find an agent, you can audition for roles on TV or in films or for the stage.
There are thousands of things you can do. But none of those things can be put in an organized step-by-step sequence and called a realistic plan for winning an Oscar.
There are too many variables controlled by other people, too many possibilities for things not turning out as you thought, no way to establish a timetable, etc.
…winning an academy award is not a goal but it does have other names: a hope or a wish.
Hopes and wishes are honorable things. Beautiful things, even. They are part of the poetry of our lives. I am saying nothing bad about wishes.
But goals and projects and tasks have structures and characteristics that are different than daydreams, wishes, fantasies, hopes, hallucinations…or psychotic episodes, for that matter.
Every time I’ve helped a client solve a problem bout a goal; the problem has always been the way in which the client was thinking or acting with regards to the goal.
The major “crime” against goals is: imposing unnecessary or imaginary limitations on what is possible without researching to discover knowledge.
Hundreds of times, people have told me about what they want being impossible only to discover that what they wanted was possible, under certain conditions, and with a “price attached” (there’s NEVER a free lunch, isn’t there?)
You see, the conditions that have to be met before any specific goal is attained may mean change, may mean adaptation, may mean upheaval (perhaps the whole apple cart needs to go over if the goal is to be reached)
– but if your map of the world is impoverished, or you have “holes in your bucket” that you haven’t plugged, things might seem to be much harder or much less possible than they really are.
Here is your task: when anything seems difficult or challenging over the next few days, as soon as you feel frustrated or challenged, ask yourself the following questions:
- “What do I want instead?”
- “What conditions have to be changed or met for this to happen?”
- “What do I have to do differently?”
- “What do I have to give up or trade to make it so?”
Although this applies to challenges, we are also speaking about goals large and small.