Friday, January 18, 2008

Goals that work along the way

It's January. Whether you call them gifts, goals or resolutions, you've probably been thinking about what you want. Some of what you want is stuff: it's relatively easy to acquire stuff and easy to know when you have it. Some of what you want is position: the path to position is seldom as straightforward as the path to stuff but it's generally been traveled before. You know what you need to do in order to get what you want, and you know when you have it. Then there's the other stuff you want.

The other stuff includes the person you want to be, the people you want to be with, and the qualities of the life that you want to have. The other stuff includes the sense that you are moving through life with purpose and direction. The other stuff doesn't seem to be acquired by walking a particular path in a particular way. Strategy doesn't work well to get this stuff, although we all try lots of different strategies. Strategy requires knowing what you want so that you recognize it when you have it. We're not always sure whether or not we have the other stuff.

Still, we want it. We want meaning. We want purpose. We want love. We want integrity. We want a life well-lived.

The other stuff is really big: it includes the great goals.

They are great goals for the obvious reasons: the big question goals that drive the progress of individuals and of human kind. They are great goals for a less obvious reason: they change who we are when we set them. When we get them, when we notice we have them, we enjoy them. Yet getting them is almost not the point. Seeking them is the point.

When we actively pursue great goals, we let those goals seep into our being and change the way we perceive the world, the way we act and react, the way we make decisions. We let those goals shape who we are as we seek so that we will recognize ourselves in the moments we achieve them. We recognize ourselves as people capable of seeking great goals, and that changes everything else.

What are you seeking now and how is it shaping you?

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