Why it’s bad to be result oriented

To be “goal oriented” is something you can see a lot e.g. in job advertisements. “We’re looking for a goal oriented person ….” etc. I think it’s basically the same thing as being result oriented. Goal oriented = result oriented. You set the goal, you see it in your eyes and you work towards it until you get it.

The whole mainstream narrative is full of this. “Get this, get that, you need this, this and this, then you’ve made it”.

But wait, this sounds great. How can this be a bad thing?

Let’s look at one example, so I can illustrate my point (which comes later). Imagine you’re going to hiking. It’s a trail which has point A (start) and point B (finish). The goal is to get to the finish, right? Well, yes and no.

Being goal or result oriented would mean that the important part is to get to the finish. However, being process oriented means that this is not the point. The process itself is the important part.

Sure, I guess there might be some things in life and work where being goal oriented is better but I’d say being process oriented is a better way to go about in life.

In this hiking example, it would mean enjoying the hike itself. Being aware of every footstep and not caring about obstacles and inconveniences. It’s about taking it in and enjoying the present moment. You strain your ankle and can’t finish the hike? Who cares! Even having the painful ankle is awesome.

Look, how cool is it to actually even be alive? To breathe? To feel pain and joy? We don’t appreciate it enough and always try to get to the future. To the next thing, then to the next and next without really taking in the moment we have. Which, by the way is the only real moment there is. As Eckhart Tolle has pointed out: past is present moments that don’t exist any more and future is simply an illusion which also doesn’t exist. Besides, how many times has your brain been accurate in predicting the future?

Let’s take photography. Let’s say you become super into taking pictures, get your first camera and after taking pictures for a couple of months, you then decide to set yourself a goal to become a professional photographer or a Magnum photographer or blow up your Instagram and have thousands of followers.

Couple of things wrong with the “picture” above.

First, it will never be guaranteed that you achieve these goals. Never. It’s simply out of your control. You could have awesome skills and be well-known and all that, but if Magnum doesn’t want you, you’re not gonna get in. You might eventually after trying and trying over and over again, but then again, you might not. You can’t control that.

Second, it’s simply not possible to enjoy the thing you’re doing if you’re fixated on some goal. If you don’t enjoy the process of taking crappy photos and learning from the mistakes and instead constantly stress over your “goal”, then you’re not going to last very long.

Some of the greatest things in life come as a by-product. Happiness! We all pursue it. It’s a goal to many. The truth is, you’ll never become happy if it’s your goal. It comes as a by-product of doing what you want, having your path and purpose in life. Doing the things you want, not what your mom wants or what you’re supposed to do.

Does this mean not having goals in life? Of course not. Having goals is important. Just not fixating on them. Set the goal, work on your thing relentlessly and give all you have, because you want to, not because you need to get to the end.

It’s a subtle difference, but I thought making a distinction is important.

Agree or not agree,

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and get better not bitter.


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Stop this bad habit

Leonardo Da Vinci started his day by writing down the things he wanted to learn that day.

Most people start their day by checking their phones for notifications and updates. This is not just a time consuming habit but also bad for your mental health. Here’s why.

Let’s take news. I’ve come to realize that not watching or reading any news is one of the best habits I’ve integrated to my life. News are generally negative. You can read about political fights, bombings, killings, disasters and all kinds of “bad” things.

Naturally reading about all that has an effect. If you start your day by reading about negative stuff, you tend to think more about negative stuff. The news paint a distorted picture of the world. They pick and choose the events. And newspapers usually pick the news that bring them the most money (clicks).

Let’s take Instagram or Facebook. Right in the morning you see what cool stuff other people are doing, where they’re travelling, partying etc. It’s hard to not compare ourselves with others. It’s possible to become inspired but it’s also easy to become bitter. Either way it takes mental energy.

E-mail and all the instant messaging apps. Same Spiel. Unless you know you’re waiting for a very important e-mail, there’s no need to check it in the morning.

I like how Simon Sinek put it (I think it was him, I might be wrong though). Basically he said that if you’re impulsively checking your phone, you give up your sovereignty. It’s true if you think about it, it’s the phone that’s in control, not you.

Therefore, it’s not a good way to start the day by draining ourselves right in the morning. Check your phone after breakfast the earliest.

If you’re curious how smart-phones and impulsively using the Internet affects your brain, check out books like The Shallows by Nicholas Carr and Deep Work by Cal Newport.

As always, let’s get better not bitter


On congruency

What is congruency?

It’s when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. It basically means being yourself. You’re not pretending to be anyone you’re not.

It means not having a front. Having a front takes mental energy as you have to constantly monitor your behaviour, what you say, what words you use, is this cool, is this not cool, does this fit with my front etc. Everything you do or say has to go through a filter.

If you have an interaction with someone who has this front you can feel it’s awkward. That something is off. It’s because there’s a misalignment with what the person is doing and what the person is feeling. E.g. when you feel down and everybody is in a fun mood, then pretending to be in a fun mood is not congruent.

When we first want to get good at something, we suck at it. In the beginning. Most of us. We do the thing but because it’s not natural for us, we’re being incongruent.

That’s a paradox. We need to be congruent but also incongruent before we become congruent.

Asking strangers on the street if you can make a photo of them might be incongruent if you’ve never done it or if it’s not natural to you (it’s not for most people by the way).

Be incongruent until you become congruent. That’s the goal.