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Set Ambitious Goals (But Learn to Accept What You Achieve)

Set Ambitious Goals (But Learn to Accept What You Achieve)

 

    The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?”
    Zhuangzi – 300 BC

    Success begins in the mind. You need to set your mind to do something if you want to achieve anything. You need to set a fish trap to catch fish.

    Modern motivational gurus tell us to dream big, and to have a “can do” attitude. In The Secret Rhonda Byrne tells us that everything is possible.

    We are told that we need to set ambitious long term goals, and clear short term targets. Just as the greyhound runs faster when chasing the mechanical rabbit, people are more motivated when pursuing identifiable targets.

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    If we achieve these goals we feel good about ourselves. Few things make us as happy as performing a difficult task well, and doing something useful.

    What is more, making up our minds to do something makes us healthier and happier, regardless of our age, according to Harvard psychologist Ellen J. Langer, in her recent interesting book Mindfulness.

    Langer warns about the dangers of limiting our opportunities by adhering to preconceived conceptions. She refers to the “destructive state of mindlessness.”

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    But reality has a habit of putting obstacles in the way of our dreams. We are not going to win every race. We may travel a long way down a road, only to find that we cannot quite achieve our original objective. If we only focus on the final goal, we can become uptight. Not only may this affect our chances of success, it makes us less likely to enjoy our journey.

    In fact relaxed mindlessness has its benefits. Familiar thoughts and habits help us cope with the new experiences that we face in life. It is not practical to judge every new situation from scratch. Preconceived ideas are comforting, and useful.

    Whether at work, or playing sports, or learning a language, we cannot constantly second-guess ourselves. We need to trust our “instincts”, which are mostly not instincts at all, but habits, the result of repetition and experience.

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    Life is not a short dog race, but a long journey with many detours. if we are too focused on chasing the mechanical rabbit and worried about short term outcomes, we may miss the enjoyment of every rich moment in our lives. If we relax, we are more likely to continue in our projects and acquire experience, knowledge and important life skills.

    We should not allow ourselves to become disappointed if our achievements do not match our dreams. We should seek to enjoy what we are experiencing and achieving. This does not mean overstating the level of our achievements in some kind of empty assertion of our own self-esteem. It just means being satisfied with what are and what we have.

    If need to combine the mindfulness of the motivational gurus with an effortless appreciation of life, every single day.

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    The Sage is occupied with the unspoken
    and acts without effort.
    Teaching without verbosity,
    producing without possessing,
    creating without regard to result,
    claiming nothing,
    the Sage has nothing to lose.

    Dao de jing – 600 BC

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    Last Updated on June 26, 2019

    Why Your Perception Is Your Reality

    Why Your Perception Is Your Reality

    Take a minute to scan your surroundings. Are you in a familiar place or somewhere new? Stop reading this, and just look around you.

    Pick out an object, maybe something you hadn’t noticed before, and focus your attention on it.

    If you really focus, it’ll get brighter and more “real” than it was when it was just an unnoticed piece of the background noise of your life.

    Now, try to view your surroundings from the point of the object. Some people can do this with no effort, and for others, it takes some concentration. Depending on how adept you are at focusing your concentration, you may notice a slight shift in your perception – a weird jump in realty, where you are suddenly viewing the world from a different perspective.

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    Did it work?

    Whether you noticed anything or not, your perception did change, albeit for an instant. It’s important to be conscious of your perception, because if you’re not, someone else will create it for you.

    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein

    Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

    Marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you to see them. Artists do too.

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    You may have seen Julian Beever’s amazing pavement drawings. He utilizes the Trompe l’oeil technique,[1] which means “trick the eye” in French. He uses his drawing stills to create a perception.

    Like an optical illusion, our mind attempts to fill in the details of something — it either thinks it already knows, or doesn’t quite understand. This works out fine, when that’s the intention – momentarily letting our world be shaped for fun.

    But wandering through life, letting others create your perceptions, can make for a very unfulfilling life.

    Change Your Story, Change Your Perception, Change Your Life

    “Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” – Douglas Adams

    We all get caught up in our stories. Most of us think we are our stories. It’s when those stories take on a life of their own, and that life isn’t the one we want, that things start to suck.

    Think about the story you’re living right now. Who wrote it? Did you consciously decide to create the reality you’re living now, or was it mainly shaped by your parents, friends, spouse, school, or the media?

    If you don’t like the story you’re living, then change the perception. Envision how you’d write the next chapter of your story. Better yet, actually sit down and write it.

    Focus your perception on creating a new reality, one where you are in charge of the story. Take back the job as screenwriter and director, and stop just being an actor.

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    Everything begins with a decision – decide now to be in charge of your own perception of reality. Because if you don’t, there are plenty of folks whose sole purpose in life is to craft that perception for you. Do you trust them to have your best interest in mind?

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    Featured photo credit: Andreas Kind via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Artist Network: Fooling Around With Trompe l’Oeil

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