Goals that (don’t) drain our energy

You have certainly noticed that not all of our goals are achieved with the same ease. For some goals we invest a lot of time and energy, that we ask ourselves in the end was the result worth all of the effort. I think it is good from time to time to question our goals and the motives behind their realization, because it is here that the answer to the question “Why isn’t this bringing me any satisfaction, but only draining my energy?” can be found.

Ambition as the purpose

When we would ask people about their purpose, most of them would tell us about what they want to accomplish, they will list their goals and the ways they are going to achieve them. A lot of books about self-help support this kind of thinking. Write down your goals, set certain deadlines and ways you are going to achieve them, do your visualizations, hustle for them, achieve them and you will be happy. But you won’t! Ok, you might be happy for a few minutes, hours or days and then you will disappointedly  ask yourself: “Ok, I now have a Ferrari and everyday I can sleep in an another city. But, that is boring. I can do anything that I can think of and still I am not satisfied. Something is wrong with this life!”

Goals that come from the ego

Almost ten years I have studied “psychology of success.” I had goals, put up pictures all over my home, had a burning desire to make them come true, but still something was missing. The breakthrough moment of my self-development happened when I asked myself if the goals that I had were really my own. When I dug beneath the surface and asked why I want to achieve these goals and is this something I really want. For the first time in my life I admitted to myself that I don’t know something. For the first time I forgot about my pride and started searching for answers. Now when someone tells me: “I want to be a manager in my own company or the best water polo player in my team”, I would ask them: “Why?”.

Most people want to feel successful so that they can prove to themselves their worth, that they are capable, so that they can prove that to others, so that they could hide their vulnerability with the feeling of power, so that they would feel useful and irreplaceable. This kind of motivation stems from our ego. Ambition is our fuel. Very often the accomplishment of these kinds of goals is taxing and stressful and with it’s accomplishment we don’t obtain the feeling of true satisfaction. Ego is the one that is teaching us that we must do something for us to be happy.

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Photography: Vladimir Tomić

Our accomplishments are not the ones that matter, but the feeling that they bring are

Is it really important for me to be a manager in my company? Or do I want to feel that others value me, that they level themselves to me, that I influence other people’s behavior, that I am contributing to a system greater than me, that I am getting the confirmation and praise from my superiors and that my subordinates respect me. What does it mean to me that I stay in the most expensive hotels? A bed is a bed, and a meal is a meal. Of course, the quality isn’t the same, but our main needs can be satisfied on a much lesser level. What hotels sell is a service, an impression. With every gesture the hotel employees send a message to the guest that says: “We care about your satisfaction, for you to feel appreciated and respected, to see that we care about fulfilling not only your needs, but your wishes and whims. Apart from that, it brings us a social prestige, that isn’t anything but a feeling that tell us : “I’m worthy because I have”. My question is then: “But will you still be worthy even when you don’t have all of that anymore?”

What is preventing us NOW from experiencing the feelings we believe we will have when we accomplish our goals?

When we want to achieve something, but in the present moment we feel the lack of it, the signal that we send to the Universe is an energy of lack, not an energy of enthusiasm. We are only fooling ourselves, if we believe that we can obtain self-respect with a high position in society or with a huge amount of money. We can write down all the possible goals, draw them out and visualize them, but achieving them will go hard and it will take away more energy that it will bring us joy. We can make the path to our goals much easier if we first ask ourselves: What is preventing us NOW from experiencing the feelings that we believe we will have when we accomplish our goals?

When we acquire the feelings that we need, without tying them to some certain accomplishment, some goals will become silly to us because we will come to know that they are only the product of our insatiable ego. Some goals we will dismiss as someone else’s – most likely our parents or as the generally acceptable thinking of society in which we grew up. While some new goals will stay the same, but the motives for its realization can drastically change. Maybe I will still want to be a great pianist, but not to impress my parents or for the applause that it brings, but to give myself and others the joy that every key played gives. By cleaning up our motives, the vibration of our wishes becomes a lot higher and we become more aligned with it, which make our achievements much easier to realize.

The need for control is what is keeping us away from reaching our goals

It is important to have goals. They are the flag posts on the road map of our life. However, our goals need to be specific enough to lead and inspire us, but flexible enough to leave room for what is best for us to happen, no matter if that is what fits our wishes and plans or not. A lot of books give us advice like: “For every goal put a deadline. Specify the way you want to reach your goals.” For more reasons I would not agree with this. For example, my goal is to work for the company “Siemens” – because I have heard that it is great there and that they are a leader in the market and to get married by the age of 30.

The first question I need to ask myself is, “Do I know myself enough, my abilities and my talents to know that working in that company will make me feel fulfilled?” The second question is “Do I know the company well enough, to know that I am the right person for the job.” Also, I can get married by the age of 30, but what if the circumstances are that way that the person that fits me more appears when I am 32 years old.

People have an unbelievable need for control. We try to control our goals, our lives, other people. In this case this can only disrupt us. In the work sense, it is simply enough to focus on the work that will give us the biggest fulfillment, or on a partner with characteristics and values that are important to us. And then all we need is to keep our eyes wide open. The part of letting it go is extremely important. It is needed for us to follow all the chances that are presented to us and to learn to recognize the signs and synchronicities that are “working for us”. It is then that we have to free our goals from control, pressure, expectations, dissatisfaction. If we keep constantly looking at the closed door, we won’t see the windows that have opened for us. And the thing that we needed the most (BUT NOT NECESSARILY WHAT WE WANTED AND PLANNED) can be found right there.

Author: Ana