Letting Go of Goals

Designed to help you find focus and tackle “the prob­lems we face as we try to live and cre­ate in a world of over­whelm­ing dis­trac­tions” is focus : a sim­pli­city mani­festo in the age of dis­trac­tion.

This is Leo Babauta’s latest book and he is pro­du­cing it iter­at­ively online. One issue I have is that if there are two cur­rent trends that I’m unde­cided about and feel have been blow out of pro­por­tion it’s the min­im­al­ist life­style and the notion that mod­ern life is dis­tract­ing.

Regard­less, I enjoyed the fol­low­ing from the chapter let­ting go of goals, describ­ing why we should do exactly that:

They are arti­fi­cial — you aren’t work­ing because you love it, you’re work­ing because you’ve set goals.

They’re con­strain­ing — what if you want to work on some­thing not in line with your goals? Should­n’t we have that free­dom?

They put pres­sure on us to achieve, to get cer­tain things done. Pres­sure is stress­ful, and not always in a good way.

When we fail (and we always do), it’s dis­cour­aging.

But most of all, here’s the thing with goals: you’re nev­er sat­is­fied. Goals are a way of say­ing, “When I’ve accom­plished this goal (or all these goals), I will be happy then. I’m not happy now, because I haven’t achieved my goals.” This is nev­er said out loud, but it’s what goals really mean. The prob­lem is, when we achieve the goals, we don’t achieve hap­pi­ness. We set new goals, strive for some­thing new.