Life Style

Set Systems Not Goals

Goals are boundaries we set when we want to achieve something. I give it the word ‘boundary’ because they help you set a target for yourself. A particular line is made around a place to set a boundary. And so, Goals are our boundaries. It’s not that you cannot go beyond but we set a goal to restrict ourselves for not getting distracted from what we want to achieve, isn’t it? So, goals are like boundaries and once you reach your boundaries, you achieved one step and you make another boundary, another goal. This is how you grow.

We see or read a lot about successful people and how they achieved so much in life. When you want to live a meaningful life, you quickly realize that you need to do a lot of things and establish a lot of objectives.

I am sure we all at some point set goals in our journey to achieve something. If you’re ambitious or simply want to accomplish a lot in life, you’ve probably noticed that setting goals might be detrimental at times.

I like to set my goals in parts. For example, if I want to finish a particular assignment for which I am given 4 weeks, I would set everyday targets for the entire 4 weeks so that I am consistently walking on the same path which leads me to the completion of my assignment.

As I write this, the Gestalt theory crosses my mind.

What is the Gestalt Theory? 

In modern German, the word Gestalt refers to the way something has been “positioned” or “put together.” The Gestalt theory emphasizes that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That is, the characteristics of the whole cannot be deduced from a study of the parts separately. It expresses the idea that the whole of something is more important and convenient to our understanding than the individual parts.  Example- A human mind would always notice the tree first and then its leaves, trunk, stems, fruits and flowers.

Though this is a physiological theory of visuals, let’s reverse it. The tree won’t be whole if it wouldn’t have the leaves, trunk, stems etc. Likewise, if we fail to notice and inculcate the smaller steps and actions that are needed to be done, we won’t be able to achieve the bigger step that is our goal. It is vital that small actions are given importance. The system is supposed to be set, to achieve what we aspire. We usually tend to focus on the things that are not in our control.

One of the Stoic Philosophers, Ryan Holiday talk about how we should only focus on the things we control. He writes about the Stoic expression:

“Ta eph’hemin, ta ouk eph’hemin.” What is up to us, what is not up to us.

And the only thing that’s up to us is OUR ACTIONS.

What you cannot control in the future, the people, nature, the economy etc.

When chasing major goals that should happen in the future, though, you act as if you have influence over those things. That is precisely the danger of making goals. We deceive ourselves into believing that we have control over our lives’ outcomes.

That is a fabrication.

Setting objectives is, in some ways, a deception. But does this imply that we should abandon goal-setting altogether? No. Life is meant to be lived, and if we want to progress, we must push our limits. Setting extravagant goals can sometimes assist you in accomplishing this.

But when these targets are not accomplished, we have setbacks. If you fail, that doesn’t mean you didn’t work hard.

Goals are the target and systems are the process. We at times fail to recognize the process in the intention of controlling our goals. Set systems, concentrate on what you do every day to achieve your desired target and then there won’t be a need to control your goals. Don’t get stressed if you perceive that you won’t be able to attain your objectives. Instead, alter your strategy.

Isn’t it true that goals have a purpose? You need to know where you’re going. You can get the same result by using systems rather than goals.

We all want to achieve our objectives. But just because you didn’t win or meet your objectives doesn’t mean you didn’t put in the effort.

That is why, rather than rewarding achievement, I prefer to reward effort. The true achievement, in my opinion, is effort. And, fortunately for you and me, the effort is one of the few things we can control in life.

Everything isn’t just Black or White. Try appreciating the Grey.

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