The Art of Un-Goals – Embracing Cultural Perspectives While Setting Goals

Posted by: Priya Senroy on January 19, 2015 8:29 am

I always grapple with goal setting and while have to do that continuously in my work, for my kids as well teach about it. I have been having a conversation with a colleague who said that he doesn’t set goals, he has no past and no future but the present only and he is happy going with the flow. I found that concept somewhat unsettling as suddenly feeling rudderless, having no control over the future and off course not having a plan. And then he explained that he has had to master the art of un-setting goals and that has been inspired by the eastern philosophy that can practices. I dug deep and I found similar thoughts shared in this article by  William Berry, 2014( http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-second-noble-truth/201402/control-is-the-psychological-goal) who shares that though it is often believed control leads to a happier life, there is evidence to suggest the opposite is true. In Eastern philosophies the goal is to let go of control, to let things unfold, to go with the flow of the universe. Wu-Wei is a term which is translated to “action through non-action.”  Wu-Wei is practiced by letting go, letting things unfold, and aligning one’s actions with the flow of the universe. It is the opposite of trying to control.

And that’s I think is interesting to share with my clients and let them perhaps think of how to set goals not in the sense of using it to control the future but as guide map and perhaps not letting it control the present. I will try to incorporate that into my goals for this year-which is to be more of myself and be less of what others want me to be and just explore-be more creative more free and hopefully un-setting goals might liberate me from the shackles of trying to control what is not mine.




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