Posts Tagged ‘goals’

Measuring progress beyond goals

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

When your life is about making the next promotion, selling the next big contract, buying a nicer home or whatever, then it is relatively easy to measure your progress.  Life is like a race and you can see those you are competing against falling behind you in your rear-view mirror.  Your progress up the corporate ladder is marked by bigger offices, grade rises, nicer cars, better parking spaces etc.

However, what happens if you see Life as a journey?  How do you measure progress then?  By the time on the road?  By the number places visited?  By  the nature and type of experiences you have encountered?  The thing is sometimes, as many of us know, apparent reversals in fortune can often be doors that you walk through into new and better places.  I know many people who are made redundant (apparently a bad thing) only to discover  something far better on the other side of this experience.

This lack of an easy way to measure progress is a real issue in times when you are feeling tired or dispirited.  All that hard work is easy to feel good about when can look over your shoulder and see all that you have achieved; much tougher when you aren’t able to label it.

I’d be really interested to know how you cope with this dilemma and whether there are good strategies to help with this or if it is just a feature of the journey…


“The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time after time given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. . . . The ordinary objects of human endeavour — property, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me contemptible.”   Albert Einstein


Goals v Acceptance

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

In an earlier blog one of my correspondents was talking about how changes in society are affecting the environment in which our children are growing up.  Whether you are running a business or just reading self-help books we are all exhorted to set and pursue goals.  Some people would have us believe that all we have to do is to visualise our future powerfully enough to just ‘reel’ it in’!  After many years of earnest endeavour and experiment, using allsorts of different techniques, I really don’t think it works this way… at least it doesn’t seem to be that way for me.

I do believe that well-formed goals help give us direction but one of the things we hear much less about these days, and is much more counter-cultural, is the value of acceptance.  No matter how powerfully we dream and focus, Life unfolds and hands us all manner of surprises.  Often some of our best experiences come about as a result of apparent ‘accidents’.   Seeking to control everything (which is, of course, and exercise in futility) is doomed to failure and makes it harder for us to keep our minds and hearts open to the forces of serendipity.  Many famous inventors owe their fame to the intervention of these random factors. 

I think there is still mileage in this prayer:-

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference….”

What do you think?

Video Blog: Have you got your Head in the Clouds?

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Some thoughts about he nature of clouds and what they tell us about focusing on what is really important

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Ends, Beginnings and Continuations

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

I was thinking today about all the ideas and advice that we get at this time of year.  Reflect on the old year, celebrate its achievements, learn from our mistakes and make plans for the new year based on this review.  I can see the value in this and certainly intend to do some of it myself.  However, for all this, I think we also need to remember that we are in a continuity too.  One day slides into another and, in the midst of that, is the ever-present Now.

I know that physicists have some very clever ideas about the true nature of time, all of which go right above my head.  Whatever the reality is, it is a concept and construct, and as such, essentially a tool.  So we need to use it in the most helpful way possible.  Review, make plans, set goals, but don’t forget that the only time you can make any difference is Now. 

I wish you all a fabulous 2009, but if you want to make changes, Now is not only a good time to act, but the only time to act.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”  Anais Nin

Rapid Progress?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

As something of a champion of Change, you maybe somewhat surprised by the tone of this blog, but it occurred to me today when discussing the general state of health and well-being of our people that there is an interesting alternative perspective on change.  Consider this:  five hundred years ago I would have done the same job as my father and his father before him.  I’d probably have lived in the same house, in the same village.  Everything I ate would come from the same gene stock as what they ate.  Very little would change from generation to generation;  no change, no progress.  These days not only does it rapidly change generation to generation but decade to decade!

Of course I am not arguing that this is necessarily a bad thing.  There are millions alive today who would not be if not for progress.   However, if I have a 200 mph Porsche and speed off down the motorway in the wrong direction, I will get lost much better and much sooner than the little old man who is walking. 

I wonder if some of the apparent progress has price tickets that will only become clear in years to come and just how long it will take us to make good our mistakes and oversights?  

For Change to be a good thing one has to bear in mind what is really important and what one is trying to achieve in the long haul.  Today’s shortcut could be Tomorrow’s nightmare….

“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.”  Oliver Wendell Holmes

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”   Albert Einstein