Do You Need Goals?

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11 Jan 2018 21:10 #311880 by Goken
Goken replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?
I hear nuns have some really good habits.

B) ... :laugh: :cheer: :) :( :unsure: ... I'll leave now.
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12 Jan 2018 09:36 #311911 by Vusuki
Vusuki replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?

Luthien: What if making goals is the habit? Is that making habits out of habits? A habit habit?


maybe? Not sure if you're pulling my leg Luthien :) It sounds funny but maybe yeah you could make goals as a habit. More likely is that you would review your goals regularly, maybe adjust them and make that reviewing process a habit (rather than making/setting goals which implies more and more creation thereof). I imagine the reviewing process be constructive towards making progress, :p Perhaps this is semantics, where goals and habits mean different things to different people. :)
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12 Jan 2018 21:27 #311968 by Luthien
Luthien replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?

Vusuki wrote:

Luthien: What if making goals is the habit? Is that making habits out of habits? A habit habit?


maybe? Not sure if you're pulling my leg Luthien :) It sounds funny but maybe yeah you could make goals as a habit. More likely is that you would review your goals regularly, maybe adjust them and make that reviewing process a habit (rather than making/setting goals which implies more and more creation thereof). I imagine the reviewing process be constructive towards making progress, :p Perhaps this is semantics, where goals and habits mean different things to different people. :)


It was a little playful prodding at your logic, but I get what you're saying. People change out of either inspiration or desperation and what gets measured, gets done. The reason it's so important to write down goals is to have something to look at and to work on. Too many people focus on so many things at once that they barely get anything done. So, focusing on the few, not the many, will bring you success in what you are after.

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13 Jan 2018 21:03 #312047 by V-Tog
V-Tog replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?
I watched this TED talk yesterday (it's very short ;) ):




It seemed quite pertinent to some of the things we've discussed :)
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13 Jan 2018 23:14 #312058 by Goken
Goken replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?
Thank you V. That was awesome. I particularly like the phrase "The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not."
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14 Jan 2018 00:51 #312064 by Proteus
Proteus replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?

V-Tog wrote: Thank you for engaging with this discussion, everyone...I'm really genuinely very curious at the moment as to how people feel about this, so I'm very grateful. :)

It seems we're in agreement that goals are much more complex and nuanced than the stereotypical 'I want to earn lots of money and buy a big house' sort of thing.

When I asked the question, I was indeed thinking of all manner of goals, big and small - from 'I want to finish this spreadsheet at work today' to 'over the course of my life I'd like to think I'll fall in love, get married, have kids, and then grandkids'. I'm counting as goals both highly specific targets and also the kind of vague dreams that often form our overarching themes in our lives.

I think we have decided fairly conclusively that we can't literally abandon all goals, like the goals to eat, drink, sleep, and so on.

But I guess there's a difference between goals that keep us alive in the very basic sense and the ones that give us something...extra, and are therefore arguably unnecessary.

Personally I'm kind of particularly interested in this element:

Johno wrote: The only thing that keeps me going are principles and goals. They are like the compass and rudder in my life.


Like, do we need the kind of drive and general forward-motion that goals provide in order to be able to be passionate about life - about actually living it?

I've just thought, also - something like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - can we raise ourselves above the bottom level without deliberate, conscious goals (although, y'know, in the spirit of Mr Watts et al I'm going to pretend to ignore the 'Ego' level :laugh: :blush:)



Or, y'know, please do carry on as you were if I'm now derailing things :D I'm very happy to read and ponder whatever angles come along!


Let's look at this through an author's view of a character the author is writing, which is very similar to how the reader would expect to view the character. In a really good story, what does the character do? How does the character develop? What kind of points does the plot have which contributes to the meaning and value of the character? I find myself seeing this as synonymous with things like life goals and principles. You are an author who is writing themselves as a character in a life that involves points of events. And part of your character development I think does require at least some drive toward something you believe in, or else, you stop writing your story. We as humans love stories so much because we require the same elements in our own lives that make up a story in order to thrive and make the most of the time we spend during our living days... so a goal tends to be a pretty important factor to accomplishing this inherent need.

As for the discussions about taking goals seriously, I have learned to step lightly regarding goals. Goals are a concept of time, contrasting the present moment with the future. Think of a painting with a background color and a foreground color. If we focus so much on only the foreground, we lose ability to understand it in the context it is in (the background). If we focus so much on only the background, we lose ability to understand what it is there to contain (the thing in the foreground). In terms of our goals, I think we would find the same thing. The only thing that gives value to a future goal is what we are paying attention to in the present, just as the presence of the future goal gives value to the present. The only way to understand and make the most of either of them is to keep yourself zoomed out onto the bigger picture that contains both the present and the future. It seems it would require a level of un-attachment, just enough to not get caught in the trap of taking it very seriously, but instead enough to develop sincerity regarding it.

"It seems that I know that I know.
What I would like to see is the 'I' that knows me when I know that I know that I know."
- Alan Watts
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14 Jan 2018 22:34 - 14 Jan 2018 23:11 #312123 by OB1Shinobi
OB1Shinobi replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?
I think its important to understand that goals dont have to be formally organized or articulated. They dont have to be deliberately chosen or fully conscious. In reality its quite common for people to act out on their impulses without consciously analyzing what theyre really trying to accomplish....but theyre still trying to accomplish something; they have a goal. Every behavior has a motive, so, every behavior is a movement towards some goal, even if we arent aware of what it is.

Why did you log on today, and why are you reading this right now? Its not just happening to you, youre doing it. Why? You can say its just a habit lol, and thats probably true, but youre still after something when you come here. This very moment that youre reading this sentence youre in pursuit of some goal. Maybe you want to see if your point was understood, or maybe you have another point that you want to make. Maybe you enjoy these kinds of conversations and you hope to find something new or interesting in the perspectives of others. Maybe you just want to interact with people in some way that you feel comfortable with. Whatever it is, there is a goal behind each one of our behaviors right now, this very instant.

What ARE Habits?
Habits are the routines of behavior that we develop as we consistently strive for a recurring goal/s. It may be a relatively small goal, like socializing online for a couple of hours. Or catching the next Netflix episode of "Wasting my Valuable Life on Dumb Shit". It may be a larger goal like writing a novel. It may be a maladaptive goal like getting drunk so that we dont have to feel so uncomfortable around other people or feel stuck in the unhappiness of our depression. But whatever our habits are, we build them by pursuing the same goal/s over and over.

When we achieve the goal we not only get whatever it is that we (think we) want, (the outcome itself is a reward) but we also feel a sense of accomplishment (or empowerment) at the fact that we got something we set out for (even if it wasnt good for us). Thats important: achieving a goal (getting what we want) produces a psychological sense of empowerment. Theres even a chemical response in the brain (iirc its release of dopamine).

These are the "rewards" of our behavior. Every "reward" helps to reinforce the behavior and behavior that is reinforced tends to be repeated. Any behavior that has been repeated enough to become so comfortable or familiar that it would be psychologcally difficult to do something different under the same conditions, is a habit.

In the example of 300 words a day resulting in a habit that produces a novel, the habit was built upon the goal of writing 300 words a day. The more you achieved that goal, the more likely you were to achieve it again. In this way it became a habit but the goal had to exist before the habit could be built around it. Many of the routines of our lives are things we could think of as ongoing goals, (like going to work and getting there more or less on time, or having clean clothes), but probably DONT, because they are mundane and weve already got them.

We tend to think the word "goals" is reserved for becoming an astronaut or composing a symphony. So wedont see "doing laundry" as a goal, but it is. And once weve achieved something its no longer one of the goals that we're most consciously focused on (cause we dont need to be). But we can prove they are goals by this: if your access to these mundane things were thwarted in some way then you would (probably) immediately see them as goals again. Youd say "i need to find another job" and "i HAVE to have clean clothes".

Our lives are built upon the goals that we pursue most regularly. You might say its our habits that are the foundations of our lives but again, without the initial behavior the habit would never form. And the behavior was done in pursuit of a goal. So as i keep saying lol, we all have goals. We cant NOT have them. We are perpetually moving from one goal to the next, every moment of our lives. You can ask yourself at any time of the day "what am i doing right now, and what is the goal behind it?" There will always be one. In fact, there will often be several, and sometimes they might even seem contradictory, because we are weird lol. And if your answer is ever "nothing" then be careful: youre acting out on urges that you dont understand. Even when they are shallow goals that offer nothing more rewarding than momentary comfort or entertainment, providing no positive benefits to our futures, we cant NOT have goals. What we CAN do, is fail to appreciate that we are motivated organisms, (meaning we are goal-oriented) and fail to take conscious responsibility for which goals we spend our lives in pursuit of.

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."
G.K. Chesterton
Last Edit: 14 Jan 2018 23:11 by OB1Shinobi.

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14 Jan 2018 22:46 - 14 Jan 2018 23:02 #312125 by OB1Shinobi
OB1Shinobi replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?

Goken wrote: Thank you V. That was awesome. I particularly like the phrase "The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not."


Yes exactly! And (unless we die sooner) so are the next 30 years. That time will pass no matter what, its wise to spend it so that after 30 years of doing it you will be enhanced in some way.
And its easy to say "i dont want to miss the moment by worrying about the future" but like, Mozart didnt "miss the moment" by spending endless hours perfecting his craft. He reached the fullness of his musical potential and we know his name even today because he was manically devoted to his musical goals. That wouldnt have happened if he had chosen to sit around enjoying cheetos telling himself how "present" he was, and laughing at/feeling superior to all the "unenlightened" people who were actually doing something with themselves.

"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed."
G.K. Chesterton
Last Edit: 14 Jan 2018 23:02 by OB1Shinobi.
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14 Jan 2018 22:57 #312126 by Kyrin Wyldstar
Kyrin Wyldstar replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?

OB1Shinobi wrote:

Goken wrote: Thank you V. That was awesome. I particularly like the phrase "The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not."


Yes exactly! And (unless we die sooner) so are the next 30 years. That time will pass no matter what, its wise to spend it so that after 30 years of doing it you will be enhanced in some way.
And its easy to say "i dont want to miss the moment by worrying about the future" but like, Mozart didnt "miss the moment" by spending endless hours perfecting his craft. He reached the fullness of his musical potential and we know his name even today because he was manically devoted to his music. That wouldnt have happened if he had chosen to sit around enjoying cheetos telling himself how "present" he was, and lauging at all the "unenlightened" people who were actually doing something with themselves.



This gets a double thank you!!!

This guns for hire, even if we're just dancing in the dark.

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14 Jan 2018 23:21 #312135 by JLSpinner
JLSpinner replied the topic: Do You Need Goals?

OB1Shinobi wrote:

Goken wrote: Thank you V. That was awesome. I particularly like the phrase "The next 30 days are going to pass whether you like it or not."


Yes exactly! And (unless we die sooner) so are the next 30 years. That time will pass no matter what, its wise to spend it so that after 30 years of doing it you will be enhanced in some way.
And its easy to say "i dont want to miss the moment by worrying about the future" but like, Mozart didnt "miss the moment" by spending endless hours perfecting his craft. He reached the fullness of his musical potential and we know his name even today because he was manically devoted to his musical goals. That wouldnt have happened if he had chosen to sit around enjoying cheetos telling himself how "present" he was, and laughing at/feeling superior to all the "unenlightened" people who were actually doing something with themselves.


I see and agree with your point. I would caution against generalizing though. Being present isn't disregarding the future. The work to that future is the present.


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