Goals and Jails
Goal-setting is a very conscientious issue. Mainly because it is the bedrock of the entire self-help industry, an industry that thrives on insecurity, doubt and stress. Regardless, whether you do it sub-consciously or not, everyone sets themselves goals. For a lot of good reasons, goal-setting is a very positive and healthy activity.
Today I want to ask a different question, however:
Are those goals actually jail cells?
Sometimes when we set goals for ourselves, responding in what we think are our best interests, we can typecast ourself in a certain way - that acts as a mental jail cell. It's very tempting to sit back and plan our ideal life 5-10 years from now, but the reality is that life moves much quicker than that and things change much more dramatically than we could ever predict. So by setting goals far into the future, we can sometimes close our eyes to opportunities presenting themselves now because they don't fit into our long term 'vision'.
Thus, jailing our minds. Our potential.
For example, "I just need to make lots of money and that will give me the opportunity to do what I have always wanted. Then I will be happy."
With a goal (jail cell) such as that, we predicate our happiness on the idea that it's existence is dependent on money. When we create that mental barrier, the scary consequence that unravels is that we cannot enjoy anything in the present, because we don't yet have the money that would give us this happiness. So we trudge on and on, often hating what we are doing in the now, in search of this magical net worth which will one day bring us relief.
Do you hear how backwards that sounds? It's almost laughable! But the truth is, so many of us think this way - because we have jailed our minds with our goals. We have narrowed our focus, closed our eyes and lost the ability to appreciate what happens in the present. We have lost the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, shifting perspectives and indeed personal growth!
Don't let your goals shut your eyes to what is going on right now in your life. Look around you. Appreciate what you have, where you are, what you are experiencing. Don't let a long term vision dictate to you and have you chasing this impossible 'perfect life' that always lies in the distance.
Step back from your personal mission statement. Right now.
Are those bullet points on there: goals, or jail cells?