How to Have the Best Year or Your Life (without Setting a Single Goal)

Jeff Goins, Zen Habits, Jan 05, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

In education it seems that everyone's so outcome oriented. As though we need to have learning objectives and goals and the rest of it. I'm like that a little bit but mostly I'm not. It's not that I drift aimlessly, it's more that I'm more about discovering than getting things done. Jeff Goins writes, "resolutions are pipe dreams, and goals are a waste of time. They are designed to trick you into believing all you need to change your life is a plan." Sounds like most business strategies I know. But as he says, "most of it was completely unplanned. How did I do it? By creating new disciplines I actually liked doing. I wasn’t only fixated on the end results; I also enjoyed the process." I think there's a lot of that to my own work. I read daily. I write daily. I improve my software as my experience suggests. I force myself into challenges. I help others and offer my work as a service to the community. What - by contrast - would an objective look like to me? "Publish five papers?" "Become famous?" "Earn more money?" "Complete my taxes?" Well, OK, there's the last one. I really should get that done. But the objectives seem, when compared to my real existence, so trivial. So pointless. So - yeah, if you have to, set goals. But remember that excellence isn't a goal, it's a way of being. But I think it's better to cultivate good habits. The opportunities for service will arise, as they always do for any person of quality. (Image source)
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