Goals and the Illusion of Happiness- 3/22/19 @ 2218 hrs

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Helping people realize and actualize their potential and their goals. We all get stuck in life, some worse than others. But there is always a way to make the suffering less impactful and to live a better life. I share my story and experiences because I believe that gives people hope and understanding of the diversity and similarity of different people's lives.

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Goal Setting and Why This is Important

Chances are, at some point in your life, you have heard of the importance of setting goals and keeping them forefront in your mind. And there is also a great chance that if you have, you have fallen short, outright failed, quit, gave up, or set easier goals because LIFE IS HARD.

Setting goals is perhaps one of the most important habits that we do as humans. That’s one of the things that separate us from primates and other animals. We have the ability to think about our future, make goals, formulate a plan, and forego instant gratification for the long-term gains/pay-off.

The problem is, especially in today’s society with all of the electronic devices and excessive consumerism lifestyles most of us live, we aren’t generally comfortable waiting for that pay-off. We want it now. And it’s easier to make decisions that benefit us now even when thinking it through would reveal that these decisions are detrimental in the long-term. But our brains tend to shut down as soon as we make a decision that RIGHT NOW matters more than tomorrow. And it is tough to think about how much work is required to achieve the kind of success that most people want. We all want to be successful, but very few people are willing to put in the TIME, EFFORT, and HARD WORK that it takes to get there.

Successful people didn’t just wake up one day and become successful (you can define success any way you want to).

Young people (and sadly, many adult children) have a distorted perception of life. I know, I was one of them. It took me my whole life (slightly ambiguous) to get to the point where I finally understand the concept. Sure I’ve worked hard and accomplished much…but I was never happy when I got ‘this,’ or achieved ‘that.’ Happiness was always on the other side of the next accomplishment, the next thing. But it never came. And chasing ‘happiness’ only resulted in being increasingly unhappy. Well, this made no sense.

When I discovered that there is actually no realistic end goal where happiness awaits, a place one can reach in their life where there is nothing but elation and good feelings (aside from clinical delusions), I came to understand that happiness is a futile pursuit. Happiness comes and goes, sometimes by the minute. Sadness comes and goes just as quickly. Life is tough. Life is hard. But the most important thing that I came to understand is that life is AMAZING…

Being alive today is nothing short of a miracle. If you think of the evolutionary processes and the acts of God throughout history, natural selection, the rarity of sperm penetrating an egg during conception, the fact that our parents met, and so on…. and here we are. HERE WE ARE.

So…the idea is that happiness is a ridiculous goal, right? I mean, it’s all great when we’re feeling happy and we should embrace that and remember it. But it isn’t a sustainable state of being. “Life is suffering” (Jordan Peterson). We must work each and every day, every moment to work to better our lives and the lives of those around us.

So I learned to enjoy the little things, the moments throughout each day. Good, bad, terrible, amazing… it can be a roller coaster most of the time. But that is life, and I’m grateful for being here to feel those things. So, the ultimate daily and life-long goal, at least for me, is to remain grateful and joyful. It is joy that we should be after. And money won’t do that for you. Neither will sex, drugs, food, or even exercise. Sure, these things may provide some semblance of joy or short-term happiness….but joy must come from within. It has to be a part of who we are, who I am.

So…we were talking about goals right? I get going sometimes…

So, to achieve something meaningful in life, at least something meaningful to ourselves, we must identify what it is that would provide meaning. Some people call it our WHY, or dream, or ultimate goal. The underlying question is “where do you want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years? And ultimately, what is it you want to have accomplished when you are on your ‘death bed?”

These are tough questions, because it is difficult to visualize. It is especially hard when you’ve never been asked about it or have never put much thought into it. Our school system doesn’t do much to help either. The goals are middle school, then high school, then college, then….???? That’s kind of where many people get stuck.

When I chose my current educational/degree path, I had put months of thought into what it is that would make me proud and provide fulfillment for me. It was no easy task after ~10 years in the military. They don’t prepare us much for the real world, similar to how grade school and college kind of shove you out into the world when they’ve taken your money, your heart, and most of your soul.

This is a critical point in life when we must decide what gifts we have that we can use to give to others, to humanity. Sure, some people want money, cars, and big houses. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s your thing. But the process is still the same whether you want to be an astronaut, an engineer, or the Governor of California (shout-out to Arnold!).

Make the decision…(i.e., “I want to own a 5 star restaurant in a big city.”), WRITE IT DOWN. Write down the plan, the steps and the process that you will have to go through, the effort that you’ll have to put forth, the TIME that you’ll have to GIVE to get to this goal. Be realistic, and be intentional and unwavering in your pursuit. And every single day, you revisit that goal sheet and action plan, reflect on what you did yesterday that either moved you forward or set you back, and adjust accordingly. You will have to remain willing to adapt to changes in the plan because, well, plans are well and good but the Universe (God for me) has His own plans.

The idea is, if you want it bad enough and you visualize your goal(s) as if you are already there, you will subconsciously make decisions in your life that draw people and opportunities into your path and that draw you towards your goal. Some people call it the law of attraction, others call it God’s will, and still others call it sheer will power. Call it what you will, it works. But the goal has to be concrete, you must believe in yourself, ignore the naysayers and haters (they will be everywhere, even your closest friends and family), and do what is best for you.

Go to bed at a decent hour, wake up at the same time every single day, no matter what. I get up at 4AM. It isn’t my alarm that gets me up anymore…my goals wake me up. I usually get out of bed between 0315 and 0345…depending on when my sleep cycle actually ends. Yes, it’s a thing. But if you are drinking and drugging, you can forget about getting your circadian rhythm to work for you.

Do whatever it takes, don’t be afraid to fail (because you will fail, over and over and over and over), never quit, stay the course, never quit, never quit, never ever ever quit.

And never settle for anything less than what you want in life. You can’t wish yourself into riches and fame…but you can think and work yourself into them. But don’t take my word for it…go ahead and look up your favorite sports stars, movie stars, etc… They all have different versions of the same principle. PUT IN THE WORK.

And lastly…. you’re not a victim, you’re not a slave, and you’re not oppressed by anyone unless you are doing it to yourself with your own thoughts. Those kinds of mindsets are guaranteed to keep you from going anywhere in life. Stop putting your hand out, because nobody is coming to save you or pull you up. You have to do that by yourself. Sorry, but that’s the reality of it.

Well, I covered what I wanted and a lot more. As you can see, I get moving in all sorts of directions. But my information is good and I have faith that you can do whatever you want to. But that doesn’t mean anything unless you believe in yourself. Feel free to contact me if you want some free advice or if you think something I said was wrong.

Please like, follow, subscribe, share, and comment your thoughts below. Thanks for reading!!

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