Journey of Life

the place formerly known as control your destiny

Finding the Why

Possible Dream HomeI am not sure if my previous post had anything to do with this one and I suppose it’s not really important.

It has been quite an interesting day at work. I can’t really call it work as I am still going through their training, which at the moment involves a lot self study around products, procedures and policies as well as learning their systems and sitting various tests. I like studying, even if the subject matter isn’t the most fascinating in the world. I still have 3 weeks of this before I am going on a two week course in London and if I carry on at this rate I will have completed all the pre-course work by the end of this week.

I have been very impressed with how organised the training structure has been. The pre-course work is all self study, which suits me perfectly, but in addition to the compulsory material I found a whole section on their intranet with all sorts of additional training material ranging from time management (I could do with learning that!) self awareness, emotional intelligence, body language etc. I have never worked for an organisation  where this kind of material was so readily available and where one is encouraged to actually schedule time to study it in work time. Obviously, at this point, I am not contributing financially to the organisation but it is encouraged among all staff.

I needed a break from products and policies so decided to start one of these modules and for some unknown reason ended up with one on goal setting!

It may be an idea to explain that whenever I hear the word goal setting or reading about the importance of goal setting I always develop the urge to do something else. This time was no different! My first thought was to pick another subject and I was very tempted to shut this module down and look for something more appealing but managed to force myself to start the module determined to complete it.

I didn’t exactly finish it but this time for different reasons. I ran out of time for a start but more importantly I learned something that may help me explain my adverse attitude to goal setting.

Whenever I have tried it before I usually start off ok but soon ran out of ideas/goals to write down, which for the most part were just material things anyway. When I read them back I really didn’t feel all that excited about any of them nor did I understand why I wanted some of these things in the first place.

Today, however, the experience took a different turn when instead of just writing a long list of things I wanted, like my own house, car, a lot of money, all the latest gadgets to impress my friends, I instead started to write a very detailed description of each point. In addition I wrote it down as if I was writing my journal thinking back to the time when that particular goal became a reality for me and as if I was living that reality. I take no credit for this format as I am confident I have read it somewhere before, where at the time I gave in to the urge of doing something else. However, doing it this way made the process flow and it really was very enjoyable. It also motivated me in a way I haven’t experienced in a long time and got me really fired up about one particular goal, which I spent some time afterwards writing down ideas and plans on how to at least get it started.  Another thing happened as I was writing down these detailed descriptions. A voice started asking why I wanted to achieve these goals and why they were important. At first this felt like a distraction as I was in the flow and didn’t want that tobe interrupted, but in the end I chose to go with the voice and dig deeper into the why of the goal. A little while back I read about a “5 why technique” used primarily in business to identify the root of a problem but decided to just try to keep asking myself why until I couldn’t come up with anymore viable answers in the hope that I may just find the real why.

This turned out to be a slightly longer process than first anticipated but it did bring up some answers that on reflection were there to serve my ego rather than being the real why. I wrote a very long description of what my ideal home would look like and feel like and how it would be mine as opposed to having a mortgage on it. When I started asking myself why I wanted this and why it was important, the first few answers were relating to social status and comparing myself to people around me. I currently rent the flat I live in and at my age one is expected to at least have a mortgage. One of the answers was to have more space so that friends and family could come and stay or so that people could come over for dinner parties.

The answer that made me stop and more importantly made me feel I had found the real why was this: “The reason I want to own my own home is because it will make me feel secure.” This now begs the question if the real goal is a feeling rather than the object itself! I am sure this question has already been answered by countless experts in this field and I am not discarding their expertise but I feel that, at the moment, this is something I need to explore at my own pace.

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10 responses to “Finding the Why

  1. shiona September 18, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    The problem with me is I just concentrate on the outcome and have not patience to work on the steps towards it. Whenever I’ve tried various techniques, I seem to adopt this attitude that I know what to do, the only thing I need is strong willpower. And then, when I come to a point where things get a bit harder and I fail to move further, I assume I have no willpower and end up blaming myself for being week and useless and start the whole thing again. Needless to say, to the same effect.

  2. Goals / Resolutions September 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Finding the way: I am also very goal orient, have been most of my life. Setting goals have always gave me a purpose and a focused direction. I also found achieving the goals gave me more ambition, self esteem and self confidence. At determined2.com Promotes successful pursuit of life goals.

  3. J September 19, 2009 at 9:10 am

    I have gone through the exact same soul destroying process you described more times than I care to remember, which in the end resulted in my deciding that goal setting wasn’t for me.
    The why thing seemed to put a different spin on it, and I want to spend some more time exploring that.

  4. viv66 September 19, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I’m a great maker of lists. I make lists of tasks to be done and then when it’s half way complete I make the next list and the undone things are put at the top of the next list. It got to the point where my husband started referring to the successive lists as Son of list, grandson of list and so on till I stopped doing it where he might see the lists as they progressed!

  5. vanessaleighsblog September 23, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    So, the Universe decided that it may be time to revisit this lesson on goal setting, and that you seem ready to sit with the lessons that you are learning, and really ponder what you want.

    In studying William Glasser, from USA, California, he has created Choice Theory psychology and a mode of treatment called Reality Therapy. Reality Therapy is done in five steps:

    What do you want?

    What are you doing to get what you want?

    Is it working?

    Are you willing to make a plan to get what you want?

    I say FIVE steps, because what we ask after “What do you want”? is, “What do you REALLY want?” Kind of a way to get to the why, in a way. So, upon first glance, you might want a house/mortgage; however, when asked why, or what you REALLY want, it is a feeling of security.

    Getting to the core is what helps us to pursue, and attain, our goals and dreams! So glad you are opening up to these lessons, and that your employer is so “other” driven; emotional intelligence is also fascinating stuff!!!

    • J September 27, 2009 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you Vanessa,
      It does appear that it all happened at a time when I was ready for it! I did do a lot more than just the house goal, which convinced me further that it is the feeling rather than the object. Also, thank you for telling me about William Glasser, who I have never heard of but will look into further.
      My new employer is such a breath of fresh air in the way they treat their staff as their most valuable asset.

  6. Robert G. Longpré September 24, 2009 at 3:31 am

    You are right, Jesper, when you said, “at the moment, this is something I need to explore at my own pace.” There is nothing anyone could say, expert or amateur that can provide a worthwhile answer.

    • J September 27, 2009 at 7:40 pm

      Robert, thank you, I have spent most of my life looking for answers from experts, amateurs or any other form of external source. I am going to stick with my own exploration at my own pace.

  7. mysoul September 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Take your time getting your answers…I once asked a grandmother of about 80 years who I considered really wise(she was a friend of my grandmother) when do we actually know what and why we are here, and she said “I am still figuring out”. On one hand I felt very dissappointed on the other, I realized it means we always have something to do which is a good thing IMHO.

  8. J September 27, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Initially, I would probably have felt disappointed at that answer too. On the other hand, the process of discovery is what keeps me wanting to discover more.

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