This is a revision (slight) of a blog I published at the end of 2010. It’s interesting that my outlook hasn’t changed. It may explain while I’ll never be wildly successful, but it also explains why life is so interesting to me.
It’s difficult for me to admit this because it goes against the grain of our culture. In our business and personal lives, we are encouraged or even required to set firm goals and steer toward them in all of our actions. And to help us do this, the web is filled with helpful articles and ideas. Same for the bookstores and magazine racks. Everyone is trying to be inspirational and helpful, but I find them all to be a downer. I’m also just a little bit tired of other people trying to make a living by telling me how to manage my living.
I like staying continually open to new possibilities. I’ve needed that quality to weather the ups and downs in my life and career. Sometimes the mean voice in my head says that this is just lazy. “If you don’t have goals, how do you know if you’ve ‘won’?”
When faced with a new opportunity or with discontent and the need to make a change, I believe I can listen to my heart and my experience. I felt a lot better about this when I recently read a post by Leo Babuta, who writes a blog called zen habits, one of the top 25 blogs in the world. This post is entitled “the best goal is no goal.” He makes a good case against goal setting and explains why it’s NOT lazy.
These days, however, I live without goals, for the most part. It’s absolutely liberating, and contrary to what you might have been taught, it absolutely doesn’t mean you stop achieving things.
It means you stop letting yourself be limited by goals.
p.s. Although I don’t set goals, I am a rabid list-maker. I just think of my to-dos as reminders. And yes, I change them constantly.