A man sat in a cab near a railway station in Mumbai. He asked the cab driver to start driving. The cab driver asked the passenger “Where do you want to go, Sir?” The man replied, “It does not matter, you just drive”. The cab driver started driving and they reached a place called nowhere. Most of us are living in a world of nowhere because we don’t have goals in life. We allow other people and circumstances to drive the car of our life and that is why we either meet with accidents or we reach to destinations we never intended to go.
There are thousands of books on Goal setting out there. Many life coaches and successful leaders will vouch for writing your goals and work towards it. Still, many of us are not sure what we want in life. We may say that we want to earn money or we want a house but all these come from what society wants from us to be tagged as a successful person. We have very less awareness of what we want in life. This is because we never sat down to think about it or we never developed a will to decide our own goals. It is not wise to waste our life and not to reach our full potential.
Decide your Personal Goals
Whatever Goal we decide in life has to be very personal to us and it has to be our own. This will help in developing a strong will to achieve it. We will be able to stick to it in times of failure. We are not trying to achieve it to impress someone but to get fulfilment out of it. For, e.g. I set my goal to earn one million dollars. I want to achieve it because it will give me financial independence to have the freedom to do everything I want to do. It is not about showing off to neighbours and friends about my possessions or exotic vacations. I may still live the same life with using the same tools but I am a free person now. I have better choices in life to choose something meaningful or devote life to help the needy.
Your goal may not be of social service and that is perfectly fine. You may choose art or any other goal that makes you happy. After all, we can help the world by transmuting one miserable person into a happy one. Imagine if all of us can do that. Then the world will be a great place to live. You may want to be careful of not getting attached to non-essential things. At the end of life, you don’t want to regret about choosing something that did not give long-lasting happiness.
One that gives you Control
In the book “So good they can’t ignore you”, the author emphasizes to work towards a life which gives you control. He provided examples of people, whose lifestyle attracted many because they had full control of what they are doing. Let’s take the example of the life of an average person. He or she completes the studies in the field that gives stable jobs. After graduating, joins the firms that provide a decent income. The unconscious goal is to stick to such jobs and get stable income and grow. He or she makes changes in life which suit to continue with the job. For, e.g. moving to different cities or working in a different time zone or arranging child support. Basically an average person has very less control over the choices he or she has to make.
We read the stories of people who left their 9 to 5 jobs to start a business or go for a vacation. These stories inspire us for a few moments at least to do something in life. These stories are not attractive or inspiring because what those people are doing. They move us because they have achieved something that we don’t have, control. We don’t have to do exotic things like going on a year-long road trip or start farming as others have done. We should work towards the goals that give us the freedom to be ourself and then we use that freedom to achieve the highest goal of life.
Nobelist of all Goals
“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal. Do this either by work, or worship, or psychic control, or philosophy by one or more or all of these and be free.” – Swami Vivekananda
The highest goal of life should be Enlightenment or God-realization or realizing the true nature of the self. Everyone has a different understanding of it based on their religion or experience. From within we all know that this is true. We do not have the will to search for it and hence we get satisfied with small pleasures and make them goals of our life. While referring to enlightenment, Swami Sarvapriyanandji mentioned in his one of the lectures “What else is worth having in life other than this. If it is not true, then what is worth having.”
We may have very distorted ideas about enlightenment. That is because we always hear about it from the people who have not experienced it. We will have to consciously become a spiritual seeker and find answers on our own. As Swami Sarvapriyanandji mentioned, what could be higher than realizing God or realizing the true nature of the self? If we are not able to realize ” Who am I ? “, then what is the worth of having anything else in life. A man will never be satisfied even with all the wealth of the world but he will become completely still when he reaches nirvana.
We may have many pulls from the world right now with respect to the family, financial matters or job but the highest goal should always be self-realization. We should formally acknowledge having enlightenment as the highest goal of life. Let’s affirm that I want what Buddha and Swami Vivekananda wanted. They have preached and showed that it is open to all of us. It is a blessing to acknowledge it consciously.
Let us all make our goal to move from ignorance to knowledge, from misery to bliss and from slavery to freedom.