To me setting goals to a large extent is a waste of time – total bollocks.
That’s been my experience anyway, more on why in a bit…
But it’s very trendy these days isn’t it?
Experts seem to coming out of the woodwork to provide advice to poor little you and me who can’t seem to make a reasonable attempt at life.
The internet is full of bullshit advice from people with fuck all life experience and even less ability to frame what they have in an original way that actually could help someone.
For me goal setting has been a largely counterproductive exercise. That’s not to say that I’ve not had benefit from the experience – I have.
But rather it is that the structured processes that most “experts” would have you and me follow that I found useless.
So I don’t set goals any more.
I should tell you that the greatest success I’ve had professionally and personally have come by not goal setting at all! Every major positive life changing event that occurred for me came all on it’s own without any conscious effort to make it happen.
What I’m trying to say is there can be enormous benefit (and usually is) from just doing shit for the sake of it – no agenda attached.
Tomorrow never comes
It’s an old saying and a very true one.
But how much do we actually think about the meaning?
Not too often me thinks.
The fast pace of modern living swallows us up. In all this striving for a future that never gets here we almost kill ourselves every day trying to reach it.
And we do, eventually, kill ourselves that is. But it’s what happens in between is what really matters.
Yes we’ve all heard it before… we sacrifice those things that are most important to us for the sake of some imaginary future, right?
Or if not a future, then some notion of right and wrong or sense of duty to someone or something like a job or a boss who really doesn’t give two fucks about us.
I can honestly say that I have (and still do to a lesser extent), put aside most things I care about including my family and friends for commercial gain.
Thankfully I figured things out before I reached the point where I couldn’t do anything about it. Made some changes.
Why Setting Goals Becomes A Problem
Or was it that circumstance forced me to change? I can’t decide which.
Either way the shit hit the fan in a big way and most things fell apart.
Luckily Fortunately my family and home life held together (just about).
Through all of that craziness which lasted 7 or 8 years I began to question the whole setting goals thing. You see working hard to get more stuff or success or whatever never really worked for me.
I had the greatest success when I just went for it – acted on impulse so to speak.
Money was never a problem in the early days, new business just came in. I was happy most of the time and things on reflection were going really well.
It was only when I started to set goals did things begin to fall asunder.
Now that scenario is not the same for everyone, I understand that. Plenty of people set goals and hit them all the time.
But I know I’m not on my own in this because people I’ve met and become good friends with have had the same experience that I’ve had.
This goal setting craic for which you’ll find endless material to “guide” you will for some of us be rendered useless and often do the exact opposite of what we intended.
You know on reflection, maybe it was other people’s goals I was setting…
Maybe I wasn’t moving from the right place, or attached too much value to material things.
Or maybe I was just pushing too hard.
Anyway, who fucking cares, those days are gone now thank God. However, as uncomfortable and all as they were I have to thank them for the the experience.
In a weird kind of way I’m glad things went down as they did.
Let’s Get A Bit Deeper Into This…
I’ve discussed the illusion of time here before, and I am in no doubt about it’s lack of reality. However, I still wonder how to reconcile setting goals and there being no future.
I know that “Tomorrow” or “The Future” is only an idea, a concept. It has no fundamental reality of it’s own, but I’m still a little bit tied to it.
How can I set goals given what I know now about reality?
In my part of the world we are taught the Newtonian notion of cause and effect – It’s buried deep into our psyche.
But what if that’s wrong?
What if we have it in reverse and the effects create the causes?
Look at it this way – when we look back to examine why a particular event took place, only then do we assign the cause. We analyse prior events and assign them to the effects.
We cast a critical eye over our experiences and cherry pick particular instances that serve our idea of why that key event occurred.
In truth there are an infinite number of micro and macro events all tied together leading up to every experience we have. There is no separation in any of it.
It’s why so many opinions exist as to why major worldwide historical events occur. Eventually, the ones with the deepest pockets and widest influence get to write the history book.
Take the scene of an accident for example…
Everyone who witnesses the accident has a slightly different notion of what and how things happened.
In hundreds of psychological studies such as Loftus (1995), phenomena known as proactive interference and retroactive interference have been seen to disrupt memory.
In other words, people form memories about events based on information received before and after an event, then offer completely false accounts unbeknownst to themselves.
In short, misleading postevent information can alter a person’s recollection in powerful ways, creating false memories of things that never existed.
Apparently, what we call the past is actually created in our minds now. And if you really stop to think about it, that’s not an outrageous idea.
How We Create The Future
Firstly, let’s agree – the future doesn’t exist. The human mind created time based around our idea that we live along a line from birth to death.
And it’s a false idea.
So why do we set goals?
I’ve no clue, I really don’t.
Sure we can desire to create things, and that’s all good. It’s just this notion that the thing we are trying to create exists somewhere in “the future” is something I really struggle with.
I believe we have the ability to create whatever we want, but it appears to me to be all happening now. Both so called past and future arrive in our experience now.
Rather than moving away from the past and into the future towards our goals, I prefer to think of past and future as moving towards us, us being stationary.
Consciousness to me is primary, stationary and expanding in 360 degrees all around. Stuff (goals materialised) comes to us – drawn to us you might say.
What do you think?
You’ve Got To Really Want It – Or Do You?
I have aspirations, things I want to materialise, sure I do. But I’ve less dependance on them now. I’m easier about all that and I don’t set goals any more, at least not the way I used to.
Where previously I was constantly concerned, worried, stressed about getting things right, now I just focus on where I am.
I try to give all my attention to what I’m doing.
If I’m at home I’m at home. If it’s work then that’s where I am. I try not to let other things distract me from what I’m doing.
Know what I mean?
I don’t always get it perfect and that’s fine. Besides, who would I want to impress?
I don’t know when I’ll get what I want and I’m not hung up on it. All I know is that everything is alright where I am.
Now, some might say that if you don’t want something bad enough then you can’t have it. But I think the contrary is true.
If we’re too needy and desperate for things to work out a particular way then they won’t, at least that’s been my experience.
Also published on Medium.