Food for Thought: Don't Pursue Goals; Let Them Ensue

I really enjoy the blog from Deuce Gym.  I thought this post from their head coach, Logan, was worth sharing.

Having goals is a natural phenomenon. Some would argue that specifically setting aside time to make them and a plan to attack them is a critical key to success. I’ve got some goals myself. Accomplishing them is a finicky practice, though.

Another practical joke on humanity, in fact, is that (like happiness) we can’t achieve our goals by pursuing the goals themselves. In past articles, we’ve talked about pursuing the desire to laugh, never leads to real laughter. That’s not how comedy works. It, of course, comes as a result of some other (hilarious) stimuli. When you have a goal or a desired result in mind, great! Write it down, even. Making it happen, however, requires a shift in focus away from the goal and to the process it takes to accomplish it.

There’s nothing about wanting to be a famous movie actor, for example, that in and of itself is useful in getting a role in a major motion picture. People that want this outcome must shift gears to new desires like wanting to practice acting and wanting to learn to be resilient in rejection in order to achieve it. They displace their desire for he outcome and learn to desire the process it takes to achieve it.

Arguably one of the most prolific thinkers on the human life is Viktor Frankl. After surviving seven Nazi death camps, he just so happens to be a real life survivor at the highest level. His text, Man’s Search for Meaning, is one of the world’s most read contemporary works. He reminds us of this lesson I’m giving you when he said, “Don’t aim at success — the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue… as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a source greater than oneself.”

Let your goals ensue.