Goals are AWESOME. And it’s great to have them. Admit it!
Used right, they are a set of highly effective tools for improving yourself, becoming better and achieving your dreams. For instance, I recently experimented an exercise with unreasonably high goals I set for myself for a week and discovered that they totally drive accomplishment. After the completion of this exercise, it made my any endeavor more exciting & too, strengthened my will power to do more things. On the ground level, they are like bacon: whatever you add them to, they’re going to make it feel better.
But here’s a catch. Your goal should not be gaining materialistic thing that’s gonna pull you forward. If it is, then something is seriously wrong. Let’s see why!
Paradox of Goals
A goal is generally defined as something that goes away once you hit it. Goals condemn one to go through a process where one has an unsatisfied desire, works to satisfy the desire and experiences pleasant but temporary feelings of desire-satisfaction as a byproduct when one reaches the goal. At times, it isn’t all.
What follows it, is a void:
“The inner paradox of goals — they are valuable when we try to accomplish them, but someday they will disappear as and when we achieve them.”
If you need goals just to feel like your existence has a purpose, you’ll get addicted to them, which you must avoid. Some philosophers even think that humans cannot withdraw away from the cycle of dissatisfaction → labor → goal-accomplishment and then decide, to stay happy.
I don’t believe that’s accurate, but in pointing to the emptiness of a goal-driven life, the argument relates to an important lesson. This is also famously known as the truth of Buddhism.
Not really There
“All Labels are Fake”, a famously passed on saying. It sounds catchy and incredibly liberating, but when someone asks me to give a definite answer, its hard for me to break it down into simple words. The fact indeed is meant to be experienced and not just read.
An example, when I was traveling from my hometown in the Delhi to Chandigarh (where I was supposed to speak at a seminar), something clicked. In a strange way, the meaning of ‘labels are fake’ sheds light on how we get wrong with the whole idea of goals.
What does “label” mean? In this context, a ‘label’ means an ‘evaluation’. Someone was ‘successful’ or ‘unsuccessful’, you did ‘well’ or you ‘screwed up’. You ‘made it’ or you ‘failed’. What does “fake” mean? (This is where it gets cool). In this context, ‘fake’ means not inherently existing. Such evaluations are not factual properties of states of affairs. They are not really there.
Small Problem with Goals
If “labels” don’t naturally exist, we can ask, ‘What put them there in the first place?’ The answer is ‘goals’. Goals put them there. Without a goal, you can’t fall short. Likewise, without a metric, you can’t be inadequate.
These benchmarks, moreover, are projections of our own mind.
They don’t really exist.
That, I think, is the truth in the Buddhist lesson that labels are illusory. The Buddha also accounts it in his learnings: because suffering comes from wanting, we should eradicate desire. As a conclusion, one should account that we could put an end to some pain if we would stop creating the possibility of failure, is apt.
OK. Don’t get confused, ideally, some struggles in life are worth it. Which further brings me to the deeper argument for why your motivation shouldn’t come from your goals.
The UN-Right Reason (the BIG Problem)
The first argument on why achieving goals shouldn’t be your core incentive is,
Goals aren’t the right cause for motivation
If thought from the core, there is nothing good about achieving goals. Ticking off objectives has no intrinsic value. It doesn’t matter how fast you move if it’s in a pointless direction and you are unaware of where it’ll lead you.
Many people spend too much on optimizing their plans & strategy, and not enough on analyzing whether there is a worthwhile aim or not, in the first place. If you require targets to bring in the energy & motivation you desire in your life, you’re probably doing something that’s not meaningful enough by itself.
What’s pulling you forward should be your recognition that what you’re trying to attain is worth it. Motivation should be a side effect of that, that’s it. The right reason for doing something is provided by facts about the thing that you’re trying to achieve, which makes it something that is worth achieving, accounting an IMPACT, both on your mindset & life.
Lastly, always account that making a goal out of something does not suddenly make it valuable or important. Many people have unimportant goals and they run after it all through life and in the end, account that they are nowhere.
MORAL: There’s a deep difference between achieving goals and achieving something of importance in your life. Don’t lose sight of that.
You may also like,