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.
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