Do you need goals for a rewarding and fulfilling life?

Girl drawing smiley face on to a wall

Every person experience life trough his own eyes and therefor, his own perception.
What is good enough for one person, is not enough for the other person.

While I am writing this post for the more object and goal minded people like myself, I do think that this post applies to most people in our western culture. With that being said, does having goals and achieving them creates a rewarding and fulfilling life? Or more important, does it contribute to our overal happiness? Lets start with expectations. Most of us have expectations of how things should go in our life. Or we like to keep thinking about how things should have, could have or would have been if… . These expectations can drive us, fire us up, push us to go into action and to go out and work for our dream. But a lot of times, these expectations can also block us, make us feel bad about our self or even make us feel depressed. It often let us compare ourself to others who can do or have that 1 thing, that we do not have. So are expectations then bad and, what does it mean if you lead a life without expectations. Are you still so fired up, or do you easier give up and let things go. This is something that of course depends on a person its general attitude in life, but if you are the kind of person that is a real go getter and want to achieve something in life, letting go now and then is probably the best solution to gain a little bit more happiness in life if things doesn’t go exactly as you planned. We like to control our situations, events and the outcome, but the thing is we can’t. We can only control our actions, and once you accept that, life can be easier. This way your expectations are more flexible. You can still go for that beautiful goal or ideal, but you accept that the overal process can take some more time, money, energy or resources then you anticipated. This is the process of learning, growing and changing. This doesn’t change a thing about the fact if you will achieve your goals or not, but it does change the overal experience in that total process.

Expectations & Appreciations

Now lets take this one step further. What would happen if we could change our expectations into appreciations for the things that we do have? Wouldn’t our life be much more simple and beautiful? This can already be as simple as realising that when something goes wrong, it doesn’t mean that your whole life goes wrong. Take a step back and see that event as an event, nothing more and nothing less. It doesn’t say anything about your life or the person that you are and you definitely should not let it take control over your mind and poison it with negative thoughts. This way you can keep things separated, and also let us remember that are still a lot of things that do go well and that we should appreciate. In life, our thoughts tends to focus quickly on negative thoughts, instead of positive ones. Which can give us a negative outlook on life, while it is actually just the way of how we perceive things and on which thoughts we like to focus. Instead of changing our perception of life to change our outlook, we’ll try to change this by trying to achieving that one goal, solving that one problem, or gaining more social status and/or money. So we chase after these goals, thinking that it will make us feel good once we gain or achieved it and that everything will be perfect. Not realising, that it were just the negative thoughts that made us feel that things were not good enough and that something needed to change. So once those negative thoughts step in once more, we’ll once again go out, trying to change something on the outside, while we should really focus on changing from the inside. This circle keeps going on and on, if you’re not careful, even when you do achieve your goals. Most times we give more value to things that cost energy, money or give us the feeling that we need to earn it. While exactly the opposite is true. That what is worth most, came to us free. Our health, our memories our friends and family. If we lose our money or house, we can earn it back or build another one. But once we lose that what we got for free, we’ll realise that its irreplaceable. All the things that we wanted, a new car, a new phone, more money, status, these obsessive things just fall apart once you lose your loved ones, your health or your freedom. Things we unfortunately never appreciated while it was there, and only idealise once they are gone.

So does achieving goals help us to feel happy, fulfilled or rewarding. It definitely does, but not if you use it to compensate feelings like depression, emptiness, low self-esteem, greed or dissatisfaction. The great feeling of achieving a goal is just a temporary drug. It can give you a better foundation for the rest of your life, but it cannot fulfil you for the rest of your life. There is always something better, something that can be changed, something that you do not have and someone else does, but it will never be perfect. And it is exactly that, what makes it perfect. It means that you don’t need the achievements of a goal to feel happy. It can make you more happy, but only if you are already content with that what you have. If we focus more on enjoying the process and appreciate those things that we already have, we will definitely spend more time in happiness then when we only enjoy the achievement of a goal or temporary perfectness.

So for one to feel truly happy, one does only need to change his outlook on the world, not the world around him.

If we can do this, everyday of our ordinary life can feel like something special, while every change, luck, growth or achievement, will feel like an extra blessing.


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