Learn to Appreciate the Journey  

I wasn’t initially sure as to whether I should even write about this, and not just because the title is uber-cliché. Anywhere you turn online within personal development pages you find an overwhelming amount of recycled, rehashed, and plain stolen material on this very subject. Present-mindedness, as some call it, is a tenet of the GTD and pseudo-Zen mentality so pervasive across the net nowadays, so I don’t really anticipate that I’ll be adding a lot of new content to the pool. I will, however, keep it free-flowing and in my own perspective. This might interest some of you out there who are frustrated by the depth of difficulty in this outwardly simple concept.

It should be no surprise that my personal manifesto on living in the moment is heavily influenced by my goals. Which is particularly tricky if you think about it, since the perception of goals is typically more of an end result, about arriving at the destination. This is certainly true if you take the term at face value or look it up in the dictionary. But goals speak to me of something so much more than the sole element of achievement, as that would be nearly impossible without focus.

Focus is really the ultimate form of present-mindedness, even if you don’t realize it at the time. As hardened as your mind may be on the finish line, you must (though often unwittingly) focus your awareness and action into the now before inching closer to crossing it. This is true regardless of the goal, save a few fortunate circumstances; a.k.a. being a lucky bastard. You can certainly sit atop a hill and meditate on being right here, right now (potentially worthwhile if you are Jesus Jones), but the odds of fortune smiling down upon you with the rays of instant gratification are very — nay, extremely unlikely. In the majority of goal achievers and dream stealers are those who worked for it, who time after time handed the present moment its own ass to get where they are today.

So do those who get everything they wanted out of life ever look back on it and wallow in regret? Very doubtful, because inherent to their achievements is something even bigger than a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. They see the past in such a fond manner not only in terms of where they ended up, but also what it was that got them there. Hard work, determination, focus, and yes, maybe even a little luck. Regardless, these are all tools of the present moment. Of course they can be misdirected or overworked like any device of human potential, but that doesn’t make them less in the moment.

It’s up to each of us to create our own goals, or simply recognize those which seem to find us along the way. Some of them are fleeting and will fall by the wayside as you learn and grow, possibly realizing that the goal itself served to facilitate a shift in direction towards something even greater. No matter what you decide upon, be sure to give yourself credit for the focus — the present-mindedness — it takes to not only find your destination, but also make the journey worthwhile.

Bookmark and Share

3 Reasons to Live

  • Em  
    August 27, 2008 at 8:10 PM

    It's been a long time since I've had goals... other than the goal to make it through the day without killing anyone... now I have a few. It feels good. focus... focus... focus...

  • The Grunt  
    August 27, 2008 at 11:21 PM

    When I realized that my life had gotten away from being goal directed I started out small. I did simple things like making goals to drink "X" glasses of water a day. To brush my teeth a certain amount of times. Walk up stairs a certain amount a day. These are all pretty boneheaded goals, but the point was programming myself towards goal oriented behaviors. It worked.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go masturbate 7¾ times while reciting Oliver Twist.

  • Chris  
    August 28, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    The only goal I'm focusing on right now is to set goals.

    Oh, and leave this comment.

    And as I write this, my bowel is telling me I have yet another goal.

    Man this goal thing is fun.

Post a Comment