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Gerry Hennessey
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Very interesting thread Scott. Lots of interesting perspectives.

I would suggest that the key is "passion". Once you discover or realize what that is, you will be propelled in your "lifes direction" and opportunities that you had never anticipated will reveal themselves. Your choice will then be to make the most of them (or not).

Regarding your comment "My parents generation are now retiring and I cannot help but think that I would not want to work so long for a later reward. Why not enjoy life to its fullest now".

Not wishing to derail this thread, but why not enjoy life to it's fullest always? Do people have to stop living life to the full just because they hit retirement age? (Whatever that is?)Personally at my age (66 this year), I'm just warming up. As Christopher Plummer once said "retirement means death". A sentiment with which I heartily agree.

All the best to everyone for an exciting and creative 2012.

Gerry
"Every discipline effects every other discipline. You can't straighten out the corporation if your closet is a mess" Jim Rohn

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Scott Burton
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Quote:
On 2011-12-31 17:06, Gerry Hennessey wrote:
I would suggest that the key is "passion". Once you discover or realize what that is, you will be propelled in your "lifes direction" and opportunities that you had never anticipated will reveal themselves. Your choice will then be to make the most of them (or not).


I think you're onto something. Someone who finds their true passion will easily take action towards an exciting and rewarding life with or without goals.
Blair Marshall
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I think we are into word play here, what do you "easily take action towards"?? A goal, an image of a "destination". What is an "exciting an rewarding life". What is your perception of that. Is that not a goal. If you don;t define it, how will you know you have achieved it? The moment you want to "achieve" something creates a goal. You get into the car to go to the store, your goal is to reach the store, unless of course you just plan to get in the car and drive around! Want to improve a magic move? That's a goal.

Blair

P.S. "My parents generation are now retiring".....many of us aren't, many are creating new opportunities for themselves, and in the current economy many just can't.
TomBoleware
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Blair, I think you right about word play.

Notice how you can substitute the single word "DESIRE" in the JC Penny quote in place of 'GOAL' and you get:

"Give me a stock clerk with a desire, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a desire, and I will give you a stock clerk.”

Now use "PASSION" and you get:

"Give me a stock clerk with a passion, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without passion, and I will give you a stock clerk.”

A long list of words would work, but they all lead you to the same place, your goal.

“Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk.” --JC Penny

Tom
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Sealegs
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I wanted to achieve 'X' and this is what I did to do to go about achieving it.

This is what I wanted to do and as a result of doing it I ended up achieving 'X'.

These two expressions of how things might be are the best way I can think of differentiating between the goal driven and a non goal driven approaches to life and work. The achievement of X is the end result in both cases but in the first example it was something that was strived for, a target or goal... where as in the other example there really isn't any end point, target or goal being strived for (or if there is it's rather vague and nebulous) and what ends up being achieved results as a by product from a process that is about something else altogether.

Now one can always reduce back the thought process and say that this, 'something else altogether' was in fact a sub-goal.... and at some level I concede that has to be right. But I think that it misses the point. It is right only in a small, immediate and regarding the premise of this broader discussion, inappropriate way. I guess this is because the goal ,in what I would consider is this trivial sense, is simply not really part of any bigger picture.

Blair asked: " If you don't define it, how will you know you have achieved it?"

Well... I think that this is the very point of a non goal motivated approach. That is, in a non goal motivated approach to life and business the goals aren't defined. You just set about doing what you enjoy doing (and what you hope will pay the bills and allow you to live how you want to) and see what results from daring to take such a path.

At some later point you might well stop and take stock of what you've done and pause to contemplate what you have achieved. If you had no goals to start with whatever you've achieved will, de facto, still be something you've achieved even if it wasn't a pre-conceived goal.

Now of course you can reduce any decision making back and back and say well that the reasons behind the smallest of decisions were in fact your goals and all these tiny goals lead you towards this bigger picture. Again that's hard to argue against but it is to my mind still more semantics than dealing with the essence of what drives the behaviour that leads to the bigger picture.

Blair, in his post, illustrated this with the example, "You get into the car to go to the store, your goal is to reach the store" That's fine, but when looking back at what one has achieved is this sort of thing going to feature? Obviously in life's bigger picture I would say the answer is no. (unless one met someone when at the store that lead to a significant contribution to getting you to where you eventually ended up. But again that won't have been the motivation for going to store... that would be part of the non goal motivated process)

Blair's example echoes my own of, " I need some milk... I'll go to the supermarket and get some" ...but conversely I was using this to illustrate that this sort of thinking wasn't part and parcel of an overall goal oriented way of thinking.

I can see it's quite possible to legitimately argue effectively about this semantic point... but I believe a common sense overview, rather than a pragmatic one, to my mind at least, distinguishes these two trivial examples from the more general goal orientated and non goal orientated approaches to life and/or business.

I am certainly finding this to be an interesting and entertaining thread.Smile
Neal Austin

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Blair Marshall
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This may be a Café, but after that post (and Momma's turkey dinner) I need another glass of wine!!! Happy New Year all!!!

Goals or not, have a great and prosperous New Year (and good health, of course!)

Blair
Sealegs
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That last post of mine was actually written in the wee small hours of the morning after several glasses of Champagne, a few large glasses of wine, a very nice New Year's day meal and too many extremely tasty Amarettos. (that's if it's truly possible to have too many Amarettos) Given that background, I'm actually rather impressed at how it reads. Smile

Happy New year to you too Blair and indeed everyone else here at the Café.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Scott Burton
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If you define "goals" as being any motivation for action ("I sat at the dinner table because my goal was to eat dinner"), then obviously the premise of the article is absurd and will turn everyone into that guy sitting on the couch with no desire to live further.

I believe that the essence of the article is to free people from being a slave to daily "to-do" lists and the judging of one's success against arbitrary numbers. It is about living a higher quality life today and everyday.

My attempt is not to convince everyone of this concept as I am still on 100% on board with the idea. However, given this discussion, I now understand that my sticking point was always the loose definition of "goals".

I have several of Leo's books and include them in my list of most influential and most favourite books to me both personally and professionally. While I agree with almost everything he puts out, it was only this living without goals idea that has always given me trouble. I thank you all for the interesting conversation and helping me to understand the proposition enough to judge the idea based on a better understanding. Thanks!
TomBoleware
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Scott, one last quote for you that I think says it well.

"You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific." --Zig Ziglar


Tom
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Scott Burton
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Previous post should have read "...as I am still NOT 100% on board with the idea" (to be clear)

Tom: Why "must" I do anything? I have grown to understand that there are no absolutes especially when it comes to personal or business success.
TomBoleware
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You either get what you want through goals.

Or

You 'must' accept what's given to you.

Tom
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Smile
Sealegs
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Tom wrote: "You either get what you want through goals... or you must accept what's given to you."

Tom: that sounds fair enough to me... although I'd word it differently to remove the passivity of action that seems to be inherent in the statement.

"You either get what you want through goals, or discover (and accept) what going with the flow and following your passions brings you."

My problem with the Zig Zilgar quote: ... "You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific." ... is that you might well become a meaningful specific as a result of being a wandering generality.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
TomBoleware
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Oh I agree, sometimes things do fall into place. And luck does seem to find us at the right time sometimes.
Just not a good plan to have in my mind.

Look at it this way: A football player would score very little just wandering around on the field.
Could yes, but not a good idea not knowing where the target (goal) is.

Oh I'm sure the coach doesn't draw out a map of where the goal posts are before each game,
but the players do know. That's the aim. That's the target. That's the Goal.

A runner would probably never win a race just wandering around in the streets hoping to find
the finish line. He knows exactly where it is. And he probably knows ahead of time exactly how
many steps it will take to get there. Smile

A Goal is simply a target. A good goal comes with a map, and MAP stands for Massive Action Plan.


Tom
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Sealegs
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I guess it's here that we get back to the semantics as being one of the main things that has us seeing this topic from different perspectives.

I wouldn't consider any of the examples Tom just gave as being goal orientated, in the same way that I don't see needing some milk and going and getting some a goal orientated action.

I can see that there's an argument to be made that buying milk when you need milk is motivated by a goal but I can honestly say that I've never had or seem to have needed a Massive Action Plan to keep my fridge stocked.

Equally I don't see why a football player with a, 'wandering generality' to merely follow their passion for playing football as well as they can shouldn't end up producing the same results as the football player whose goal is to achieve something much more specific within the game. In fact I can think of many reasons why a more general approach might be far better.... and I'm sure there are many reasons why a goal motivated approach might be better.

I'm not trying to convince anyone that the approach of not having specific goals is the right or best way to go. I honestly don't think it is... it's certainly not for everyone... or maybe even most people. I just feel that it can work for some people... and for those people for whom it does work I think it is an approach that is likely to deliver more surprises, tangents and a better quality of life along the way than they might have otherwise have had.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Scott Burton
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I think Tom and I may closely agree if we just got together and clarified what we mean by our words and have the opportunity to express ourselves beyond this forum.

Something to think about (to everyone): If you didn't have specific goals, how would you act? Consider this for yourself.

Some may drift off in unknown directions and spiral in a downward direction while others may naturally drift towards their ideal place. A valid argument could be made that each person requires a different approach. Some may need structure and others may need more flexibility and freedom to truly thrive.
TomBoleware
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Yes Scott and I do agree on much. He knows I like talking about this kind of stuff and sometimes I think he starts topics like this one just to get me started. Smile

Just to be clear, my position is not that everyone should chase goals, but that anyone can reach their goals if that is what they want. Certainly goals come in all shapes and sizes and for some it is best to just enjoy things as they are.

I enjoy encouraging those that do have goals because I understand how a little cheering at times can help. I also like to remind the younger that time gets by in a hurry, but no matter how fast it flies, they are still the pilot. They can steer their life in any direction they choose.

Happy New Year

Tom
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Scott Burton
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My goal is to annoy Tom Smile

Happy New Year to all!
Steve_Mollett
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We all have our little goals, but for the 'large' effort (living a life), I find the author's zen approach similar to my absurdist approach: finding freedom of experience in a universe with no ultimate meaning, and thus no ultimate boundaries beyond one's life span.
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
Scott Burton
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Great debate (discussion really) on "no goals" (Leo Babauta with Zenn Habits) vs. "goals" (Tim Ferriss of the "4 Hour" series). These are easily the most influential authors of my business career and lifestyle development. Ultimately, it becomes a discussion on focusing on outcomes vs. focusing on experiences - and creating a balance between the two. I found it interesting and hope you do too!

In this debate, they talk about (listing copies from the blog):
- Goals being a part of Tim’s routine
- Why Leo has experimented with letting go of goals
- What goals are
- How Leo works without them
- The freedom that comes when you let go of goals
- Tim’s dirty secret – he doesn’t disagree with Leo’s no-goals philosophy
- Tim’s view of how people mess up their outlook on goals
- Achievement and appreciation
- Tim’s target for when he sets his goals
- Google co-founder Larry Page’s philosophy on aiming high enough, and partial failure
- What Tim learned from wandering, and why wandering is valuable
- Tim on structure and unstructured time
- Leo on the never-endingness of looking forward all the time
- Self-improvement vs. contentedness
- Tim’s method for when he takes off on an airplane
- Learning to accept flaws as a part of the human condition
- Compulsive goal orientation, as a means of avoidance

http://zenhabits.net/timvleo/
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