We have covered a lot in our first 3 posts: first, why setting goals is important; second, how to set the goals appropriate to your individuality; and third, how to stick to the goals you’ve set. In our final post in this series, I wanted to share my goals: or more specifically, the most fundamental codification of my life which allows me to determine the goals I seek.

The Dilemma

I want to spend my life on that razors edge of being and becoming: loving what I am while doggedly working to become more. This is a hard balance I am constantly trying to find. The world is a magical place. I don’t want to miss it as I do my best to improve it. At the same time, I know that the more I grow, the more I am capable of seeing and bringing that beauty into the world.

Being

Deep down, one must realize that he is already enough. As Sharon Salzberg said, referencing Zen Mind, Beginners Mind:

“We practice (meditation) not to attain Buddhahood but to express it.”

This is so antithetical to our culture and traditional western thinking. In a world of striving and becoming, I find that if I do not constantly remind myself that the present moment is enough, I forget it. This is why I have found myself returning to the study of Zen Buddhism to remember this truth.

Becoming

We each possess a massive potential which has yet to be realized. When we orient ourselves toward a worthy ideal, and daily strive in that direction, the years pass by and we find ourselves to be an entirely new being: capable of great achievements that had once been only dreams. The compound effect shows itself in personal development, and each of us is capable of being far more than we are, if only we consistently strive to become more.

I believe we have an obligation to our fellow man to become the best possible version of ourselves so that we have more to offer those around us. As my future family dining room wall will read:

“I’ll become a better me, for you, if you become a better you, for me.”

And this dance between being and becoming highlights our most basic modern struggle. How can we constantly focus on growing and becoming while appreciating what we currently are and have?

Define Success For Yourself

I have found the best way to attend to everything is by clearly defining what success is for me. As Matthew Mcconaughey explained in his profound commencement address:

“How do I define success? For me, it’s a measurement of five things — fatherhood, being a good husband, health, career, friendships. These are what’s important to me in my life.
So, I try to measure these five each day, check in with them, see whether or not I’m in the debit or the credit section with each one. Am I in the red or in the black with each of them?”

I perform the same exercise and my life has grown in proportion to my ability to clearly define and attend to the many aspects of being. My life currently consists of 4 things: my relationships, my Jiu Jitsu academy, my health, and my growth as a writer.

Success for me is enjoying my daily experience while constantly deepening these aspects of my life. It is a difficult path of constant course correction. I often let one aspect of my life fall behind in an effort to further another. This is unavoidable. But by knowing the major aspects of my being, and constantly checking in on them, I am sure that none of them wilt or die. I am constantly nourishing the soil of the many aspects of my life. When I do so, I am able to enjoy their fruits in the present while laying the foundation for future harvests.

It is a constant battle. But it is a worthy one. I sincerely hope you make worthwhile goals and work toward their fulfillment in 2018. Perhaps even more importantly, I hope you are able to constantly remind yourself of the immense wealth you already possess.

 

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