Hey there everyone!!
Once again, I’ve found myself in the darkest moments of my life. All the personal development over the years has been sustaining me with the core message of asking myself “What do I really want?”
And it has worked. It makes sense in many situations. It’s goal-setting at it is foundation. Dr. Stephen Covey framed it as “Begin with the end in mind” while Landmark Forum talks about “creating a new possibility from nothing.”
So I got a lot of things I wanted (and of course, some things I didn’t). But the new low had me answering the question “What do I want?” in disempowering ways… I don’t want anything anymore. I want not to exist. I just want to die.
Once again, serendipitously, a Facebook friend shared with me an article I had never seen before on goals and purpose. This one came from a very different perspective, which challenges the typical tangible goals promoted in most personal development programs consistently. In fact, it flips the paradigm of goals upside down. In the letter of April 22, 1958, Hunter S. Thompson wrote:
“A man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES … He has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important … ”
To transcend my depression, I understand that “getting what I want” is leading to a hedonistic lifestyle that is (although fun) not how I want to live my life.
It’s not what happens to us, it’s how we handle it that makes our life work. From this viewpoint, it’s not a particular outcome we should be after, but rather a particular way of being we’re committed to.
When I shifted from “What do I want?” to “How do I want to live my life?” magic happened. I realized I was committed to living my life in a positive way, free from cynicism, skepticism, disempowering attitudes, and as far away from depression as possible.
I may not know how to get all the things I want all the time, but I can choose to behave in a certain way all the time.
“Beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life.”
(Read the full letter from Hunter S. Thompson here.)
Maybe S.M.A.R.T. goals aren’t so smart after all. Andrei Losinski, Coach and partner in Ordinary Words, has always had a motto I loved which transcended the SMART Goal paradigm. His motto is, “Make love your goal.”
How do you want to live your life?
Let’s love the world together…
[)anish /|hmed, blind visionary