Many people achieve the goals they've set for themselves, and yet they still do not feel fulfilled. Why is that?
I remember a couple of years ago my partner suggested we set goals for the following year (both personal and professional goals). I was amazed at how I even didn't want to think of setting goals, let alone actually set any. I remember I had this image of limiting myself and feeling pressured. So, instead of setting goals, I set this image, feelings and thoughts aside, stored the topic in my brain – for further observation and clarity...
…and something actually did come out of it.
Remember the Three Reasons Why People Are Resistant To Setting Personal Goals? Well, this one might be taken as a continuation to the latter, but I'd like to think of it rather as the foundation, the core... at least in terms of where I'm coming from in my reasoning and writing. Again, I don't claim to be right or wrong, nor am I trying to convince you of anything. My pure intention is just to share my observations and insights and to rationalise my own experience, so as to get to a deeper sense of awareness. Enjoy! :-)
In my life I've witnessed how people (let's call them the "Goal-Setters" for ease of reference), who – in their desire to achieve their specific, time-bound and measurable goals – actually fall into the trap of mis-interpreted intentions, disappointment and frustration. And in the end of the day, they do not feel happy, even though they have achieved their goals. How does that happen?
Well, in their utmost desire of getting there, one happens to miss out on the fun and joy that unfolds in the mere walking the path. They start perceiving reality only through the distorting mirror of the goal out there; through checklists and check-mists; by constantly comparing how far they've gone on achieving the goal, and by wanting to be there already! So, in the end of the day, what they get is the feeling of exhaustion out of the 'hard work', disappointment from unfulfilled self-expectations, and … many questions 'Why?' with no specific answer, or answers resonating to the sound of frustration. Goal-Setters live in the future that hasn't yet come and act from the place of the goals out there - rather than from the place of the Self in the here-and-now.
The Intentioners: A Different Perspective
If you ask a person what they truly want, and then follow up with questions to get to the root of it - to the real want and intention - you'd most certainly come to statements about their desired state of being. We, human beings naturally, deep in our core, want to be, rather than do. We want to be happy. We want to be seen. We want to be loved. Yet we often disguise these want's as in: I want more money; I want a better job; I want a bigger house; or I want to merry Mr.Right… Thus we externalise our want's and call them "goals". And then, quite naturally, it is the job, the money (or lack of), the bigger house or Mr. Right that we tend to hold accountable for our happiness or lack thereof.
What would be a different perspective then? And why was I so resistant to setting goals? What was I missing? Since it was bugging me, I changed the perspective to look into me and into how I myself 'operated'. Eventually these two words came out - intention and being - each with its own meaning, together opening up a whole new dimension.
A Different "Modus Operandi"
As soon as I changed the perspective, I realised that my "modus operandi" was somewhat different. I realised I don't set goals, instead I 'operate' on:
From Being to Being. From Intentions to Fulfillment.
So, what if we change the format of wanting and internalise our want's by asking ourselves: What are my true intentions? Getting to the core of our true intentions takes us half way to accomplishing the certain state of being we crave for. Because it’s not the goal, it’s the desired state of being that drives us! It's the intention inside of us that fuels us!
Our intentions are the invisible thread that urge us to move on! It's not the goal, it's the in-tention to be that drives us! The intention comes from within. It is the tension inside of us, which in-tensifies us to move on towards whatever we want to get at 'the end of the road' - the desired state of being. Hence we start out with being (our intention to be) and we end up being (our state of being). What goes around, comes around :-)
The clearer the intention, the more fulfilling the process. The stronger the intention, the more committed we are in the process. And as the scenery changes along the way, we enjoy it and make the best out of it. We learn, we grow, we listen to ourselves. We are present. We just ARE. And wherever we end up, we are grateful for the journey, because we have been creating ourselves, and along with it - the scenery around us.
Goals vs. Intentions
What about goals then? When I think of goals from this new perspective, especially when I think of "SMART goals"... Guess what, I can't help but see them as 'processed intentions'. Intentions - that have gone through processing, that have been 'cooked', so as to produce a 'specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely goal', that's ready to be consumed! Intentions that have been externalised.
Intentions are both the "container" and the "contents". The container - in which goals are set and actions are performed. The "contents" - the ingredients, from which goals are 'cooked'. Intentions are internal. Goals are externalised. Intentions are more of a being-thing. Goals are more of a doing-thing.
Good news is that goals, as we name them, can help us figure out what our true intentions are. But that's only if we intend to figure it out. And only if we ask ourselves the 'right questions'. And we'd better do so, unless we want to score a goal and then figure out it's own goal... Which, by the way, is perfectly fine as well :-)
What are you creating in your life?
What is it that you truly, deeply, passionately want?
Who do you want to be(come)?
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