What are my long term goals?Posted: May 3, 2012
Photo Via Marcusrg
During my intense reflection since divorcing my wife whilst living in a trailor park , I have wondered whether I had wasted the last five years of my life being married to her.
I concluded that when describing the last five years as a “waste”, I must first consider that it could only be a waste if it had deviated myself from achieving my long term life goals. To read about this in more detail, please read “Have i wasted the last five years”.
What really interested me during this discussion was that, prior to really thinking about what my long term goals are, I believed my long term goals were to retire in a nice home with my wife, play with my grandchildren and have a villa in Spain that I sit on my ass at every month. But why did I think this, and why is it that I associate this thought with blissful happiness. And even more strangely, why do SO many other people have the same goals and believe this association with happiness?
Is it the media, or is it our parents who bought us up with this belief. What about 100 years ago, when people didn’t live to see their grandchildren. Was their long term goal to play with their children instead of their grandchildren or to have a garden chair made out of sticks instead of a villa in Spain?
However this universal long term goal managed to invade our minds, it is now important for me to analyze what my long term goals really are, rather than relying on some set point mind set which is inherent in us without even thinking about it.
So, what are MamaJi’s long term goals?
Well, firstly, through analyzing the past it seems that there is a clear pattern with regards to goals and happiness. An example would be to attempt to achieve the goal of gaining a degree. One believes that they will receive happiness when they gain the degree, and strive to achieve it. Yet when they achieve it, after a short period of happiness, life once again feels empty, and the person strives for another long term goal, in the hope that it will bring them happiness.
It is therefore possible to predict that any goal setting will not provide the person with long term happiness. Yet surely long term happiness should be the ultimate long term goal, for otherwise what would be the purpose of acheving the goal in the first place.
If happiness is the ultimate long term goal, and the actual achievement of goals such as gaining a degree does not provide long term happiness, could it be that the process of achieving a goal is what provides us with happiness. One can split up this process of achieving a goal into three main categories: dreaming, striving and finally, the actual achievement. For example, a man “dreams” of himself as a doctor. He “strives” to set out to pass years of exams to become a doctor. He then becomes a doctor.
Usually, the “striving” part of reaching a goal is laborious and stressful. If it wasn’t, then the person would not feel that they had to “strive” to achieve their goal. The perceived happiness of attaining the goal would be less if it wasn’t difficult to obtain and there was no need to “strive”. After all, who really enjoys revising for exams?
The “striving” is a relatively unhappy time, which one must go through to achieve their goal, which is perceived to provide them with happiness. Yet we know that there is no long term happiness with the acheivement of the goal. Could it be, therefore, that the unhappy time of “striving” and the short term happiness of achieving a goal actually balance each other out, and without one you can not have the other? Could it simply be the improvement of unhappiness to normality as what we perceive to be happiness as we achieve our goal? Do we therefore have to punish ourselves in order to feel a moment of happiness?
What about the first stage of the process of achieving a goal: the “dreaming” of acheiving a certain goal and the positive thoughts that come with it. The daydream that once you achieve your degree you will be shooting up in the stars, partying for months on end and people around you will be envious of your success. Could this be where the happiness lies?
Certainly, when you are day dreaming such positive thoughts, there does appear to be complete happiness. Yet a day-dream is completely internal, with no external input of striving or external accomplishment. Is happiness therefore an internal goal, rather than an external goal?
It seems that of all the three steps to achievement, it can be said that “dreaming” seems to provide the most instant happiness. Dreaming does not require an episode of unhappiness in the form of “striving” to receive a moment of happiness (or improvement of unhappiness to normality) .
As I form my new goals, I must form the goals to achieve the ultimate goal of “happiness”. If dreaming seems to provide more happiness in the process of achieving goals, I may need to analyse this further and deduce whether it can provide long-term happiness. But before this, I must analyse what “happiness” is, and should it really be the ultimate goal?