Is it time to rethink your goals?
If you keep going in the route you are heading, where will you end up? “I don’t know” may not be the destination you are seeking.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where–” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat. “–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation. “Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” — Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland
Each moment of now is an opportunity to consciously decide where to direct our mental and physical energy. Are we going to direct it in the same ways we always have or can we consciously choose to direct towards our intentions and desires?
The above exchange between Alice and the Cat sums up the importance of being aware of the direction we are wanting to go in life. That desired direction determines where we will apply our gift of mental focus.
Where we apply our mental focus determines where we will apply our physical actions. Where we spend a lot of our physical and mental energy will result in a tangible outcomes.
As we reside in healthier states of mind and the body, we have much more energy to propel us in the direction we choose to go. If we do not have a direction in mind, we spend our days focusing on whatever arises. Thus we feel as if we are having to constantly react to life. We feel disempowered. When we have a vision and goals, we become empowered as we take a more proactive role in our lives.
“If a man does not know what port he is steering for, no wind is favorable to him.” — Seneca
Deciding on our “why” is the prerequisite that drives the goals we set and the vision that we choose to hold about our lives. But many of our goals are based on limiting beliefs. Traditional goal-setting often stems from cultural stories of what we “should” want rather than from within our hearts.
In his book “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind,” Vishen Lakhiani proposes an alternate model of goal setting that goes beyond the goals that most of our society outlines. Vishen suggests that in setting goals, we may consider asking ourselves the following:
“What beautiful human experiences do you want to have?
What will help you grow and become the man/woman you want to be?
In what ways can you contribute to others and the world as a whole?”
SHIFT YOUR THINKING FROM LACK TO EXCITEMENT
All of is a menu. Our thoughts, words, and actions become like the orders that declare what we would like to have more of. In our personal lives, as well as a global community, however, we often use the power of those three to order more of what we do not want. There comes a point when we awaken to the fact that this is not getting us to where we say we want to go.
As we encounter those experiences that do not resonate with our hearts, we can use them as tools. By knowing what we do not want, we naturally realize what we do want. We then have the opportunity to decide to focus on that which we want, rather than getting upset when we get what we do not want. In placing our energy on what we did not want, we have spent the currency of our focus to order it.
Instead, we should be spending this currency on the items on the menu that we like and that we want more of.
When we think of our desires in terms of wanting something we do not have, we focus our mental energy on lack. When we can be grateful for what we already have and excited about what we can learn and create in our lives, we are focusing our energy in a much more effective manner.
When we do not have a clear idea of what we want, the most natural order of events is that we will keep placing our energy on what we have always known. We then say to life: “I didn’t order this,” not being fully conscious of the mental and physical energy that we spent to re-affirm that same, known reality.
Through this lens, all experiences in life can be seen as a blessing. Even the negative situations or people can become a piece of the puzzle we are looking for as we piece together our own vision of our ideal lives.
If we keep seeing the same menu every day, we are limiting the possibilities of what items we can choose from in life. Exposing ourselves to similar experiences day in and day out leaves many opportunities unexplored. We can only grow when we go beyond what we have known. If we want lives unlike anything we have ever experienced, we must seek out menus that present items that our minds have never been exposed to. We can then select these new items as goals that we can work towards achieving. The importance of novelty and fresh perspectives goes beyond just replacing limiting beliefs. It also helps us realize what lies beyond our ideas of what is possible.
RE-DRAW THE LINE OF POSSIBILITY
“Your limits are defined by the agreement you’ve made about what’s possible. Change that agreement and you can dissolve all limits.” — Wayne Dyer
Why do we so often leave opportunities on the table? Why do we not go after what we say that we desire? Often, it is because we do not believe that it possible. We do not believe that the mental and physical focus we put forth will result in a desired outcome. Or we may not be willing to invest that focus as we instinctively shy away from uncertainty. After all, we know that what we have been doing up until now has resulted in us being alive. Our brain whispers that if we keep doing what we’re doing we are likely remain alive. But if we go after something unknown, who knows what could happen? What if things turn out far better than we have imagined?
When our imagination is limited or our conditioning has been to focus on what is “realistic,” we are unlikely to ever invest our time and effort into something new. We don’t even make the attempt to reach a certain destination. Why expend our energy to do so if we don’t even believe it’s possible?
But what if we change our perspective on what is possible? What if we stretch our minds beyond our comfort zones? What if we embrace our strengths and throw in a dash of patience in the hope that just maybe, we can achieve what we set our minds to?
There are concepts and ideas in the world that our minds have not yet been exposed to. Certain things lie even beyond our wildest imagination and will not appear to us as being in the realm of possibilities. Only once we hear about, read about, or see those things happening, will we accept them as potential probabilities for our own lives.
One person can literally expand the possibilities for many others by doing what may appear to be impossible. This has been called the Bannister effect. In 1954, Roger Bannister was the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. That was a feat that was thought to have been physically impossible without significant damage to the runner’s health. But within the next three years, something incredible happened. Ten other runners broke the four-minute mile as well. How did that happen? There were not any mysterious leaps in human evolution during that time. The introduction of the new possibility enabled others to try something that their minds could not conceive of before. Imagine how many limits we could surpass as humanity if we all started breaking past our individual limits?
If I decide that I want to run a marathon, for example, I must first believe that running a marathon is possible. Have others been able to do it? Do those others possess some superhuman trait that I do not? Is my health good enough to where I can following a training plan to build my endurance? If the answers are no and I dismiss a marathon as outside the reach of my own possibilities, I will not set that goal for myself. If however, I think there is a possibility that I could, with enough effort, run 42km, I can then set it as a goal. I can start doing the research to figure out how I can best train my body to prepare and then take the necessary actions.
This can be applied to any goal — whether physical or mental. If I want to be a more compassionate and positive human being, I must first believe that it is possible. I have seen many wonderful people that exhibit such qualities on a consistent basis to know that it is. Thus I can set that as a goal and start learning from those that exhibit these qualities.
The information we are exposed to inevitably shapes our beliefs about what is possible.
Expose yourself to inspiration and you will train yourself to believe in what you previously thought was impossible. Then you can take steps towards doing what you didn’t think could be done. And we all know that the steps add up. If your WHY is strong enough, you will take as many steps as it takes to get to the destination of seeing your dream become a reality.
If you have a reason, you’ll find a way. If the reason is not something you believe in, you will find an excuse.” — Jim Rohn