We live in a world where acquisition and achievement have become all important.
A whole movement, which studied the psychology of success over the past 40 years, has taught us that the only way to “success,” is to set clearly defined goals.
But the truth is – not only is the outcome not guaranteed, but the very process could be ruining our lives.
That’s according to Sarah Alexander, an expert in intuition and the author of “Spiritual Intelligence; The Eight Pillars of 21st Century Business Success”.
“There is no doubt that the human mind is hugely powerful and if you consistently focus your mind on a chosen result, there is a possibility that you will achieve a certain outcome. For a few, this approach has brought material success and financial gain, but for most it has led to disappointment, frustration and misery as intended goal after goal has not materialised.” says Sarah.
So why is this? Why is goal setting able to ruin your life?
1) Goals are most often set in the hope that life will be better with the attainment of a certain goal. They are set in the hope that with this achievement or acquisition, there will be greater happiness and fulfilment.
Yet the realisation soon comes that even with their chosen acquisition or achievement, they are no happier or fulfilled.
From here the solution seems to be to set another, bigger goal. In time, goal setting creates an almost never ending cycle of desire all in the search for a seemingly elusive thing.
2) Another problem with using goals to try to make us feel better inside is that we often create for ourselves things that are not really right for us as an individual and that are not really in alignment with who we inherently are as a person.
The “success” can actually become a burden on us rather than a pleasure, and impose some considerable strain on us on many levels.
3) In addition to this, many people set goals that are a result of what they think they should want or should have. They set goals based on what their peers have or what their peers are doing, or based on what they are being “encouraged” to do by others. It takes quite a lot of singularity of mind not to get caught up in this subtle peer pressure, or indeed the family pressure, that says you should have a certain thing by a certain age or be a certain way.
4) What often happens when we are intent on creating a specific outcome is we miss that very thing that really is for us to have, that really would make us happy. With the strength of our focus we fail to see the opportunity that is right in front of us because it is not what we have chosen to look for.
5) Furthermore, our logical, rational approach to our goals leaves no room for intuition, inspiration and creativity. This approach, based purely on what appears to be the logical steps to take to achieve something, can lead us to be very driven, very manipulative and often very unaware of the effect we are having on those around us.
With this self focused approach, at no time do we stop and ask what are the consequences for our families, our marriages or relationships, our friendships and also the consequences for our health of all this pushing to “make life happen”?
“For many people that I have worked with as a coach, they have lost much that they hold dear as a result of this desire to be successful – as defined by their goal setting and the material world. They have lost marriages, relationships with their children and friendships all in the name of goal achievement and success.” explains Sarah.
6) However, the biggest problem with goal setting is what happens to the many people who, despite doing all the right things, do not achieve their goals. The disappointment and disillusionment this causes is hugely detrimental. It leads us to be very self denigrating, self critical and self undermining.
It makes us see ourselves and our life through a very negative lens that effectively states “life is not fair.”
This endless comparison erodes our levels of self appreciation so that we often feel a failure. Stress and depression are moving towards epidemic proportions these days and, for many, goal setting and the failure to achieve is at the root of this.
So what is the solution to all of this? Should we just to give up on our goals and give up all hope?
Within all of us is a sense of inner wisdom that can be used to guide us in every aspect of our life. It can guide us to achieve all that is for us to achieve; it can inspire us with new ideas and options that we had perhaps not considered and it can be used to guide us in the creation of our dreams.
What gets in our way of following this natural course of events is our desire to control our life and what happens within it.
“My advice is to stop setting goals and stop striving to achieve those goals and let your instincts guide you in the right direction. You will feel happier, less stressed, and certainly more fulfilled.” concludes Sarah.