In the last Question of the Week post, I was asked, more or less, “Can one have a goal without being dualistic?” I understand the question, and I can see why it could cause some confusion. I have always had thoughts on this subject. It is interesting to me, because I enjoy the work of many authors in the self-development area. I guess you could say I’m a fan of the genre.
I can see why one would think it to be dualistic. In many cases, the mind sees the goal, and the self constantly thinks, “I must get it, I must get it.” This thinking can lead to violence, but, it can also lead to getting the goal, whatever it happens to be.
Think of it from different perspectives for a moment. Some might think that a goal to get a BMW to be selfish and destructive. But how is that different from having a goal to feed starving children? I understand that the end result is different; I am not talking about that. The process in the mind is the same. That is all.
If there is something someone wants to do, then why don’t they do it? They always have to affirm, or self-motivate, or visualize. Why can’t they just do it? If someone has to motivate themselves to achieve a goal, why are they doing it in the first place?
Does Chick Corea have to motivate himself to play piano? Does Stephen King or John Irving have to motivate themselves to write? Did Akira Kurosawa have to motivate himself to make a film? There are, of course, some people that feel the need to do that, but could they have accomplished their work without it? Of course. But these are things we’ll never really know unless we do it ourselves.
It always struck me in this way; if you have to constantly motivate yourself to do something, or to achieve some goal, then why are you doing it? If there is something that you love to do, above all else, do you have to remind yourself to do it? Do you need external motivation? Do you have to “prepare” to do it? (Other than gathering whatever external materials you might need.) No, because you are probably already doing it without thinking about it.
If there is something you really love to do, nothing other than action is involved. If you really love it, then do it! That has always been interesting to me. Those people that really love their work do not have to think about it at all. The action has become a natural expression of their being. They don’t complain about what they have to do, there is only joy in the doing. The goal will come, but there is only action.
Don’t get me wrong, if one sets a goal for a specific result there is nothing wrong with that. If they really love what they are doing, then there is no struggle. They are completely expressing what they are.
Let’s take an example of someone with the skill of acting. Actor A does all the things you might expect of an actor. He waits tables, lives in cramped quarters, and takes whatever roles he can get. He wakes up in the morning, and affirms that he is going to be a raging success and make all kinds of obscene money. He reads the papers for work, and laments doing the things he has to do. When it comes time to act, he always hesitates, procrastinates, and rarely ever gets into it.
Actor B also waits tables, and lives in a tiny hut of an apartment. She takes roles when she can get them, and enjoys the process. When she wakes up in the morning she also affirms. Her affirmations are that she’ll be a superb actor, able to transmit her emotional content to the audience, entertain them, and be able to touch their hearts. But she doesn’t lament what she has to do. In fact, instead of reading the paper, she goes over the the mirror and starts to practice. She acts, whether there is a camera there or not. She doesn’t have to even think about it. It has become such an important part of her life, that it IS her life. That is all she thinks about because that is her talent. That is what she does.
Most people would ask the question, “Which one will be successful?” But I like to ask, “Which one is already successful?”
If there is something that one loves to do, they do it. They might affirm and all of that, but they don’t necessarily need to; the object of their affirmation is already alive.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with goals or affirmations, etc. If you want to do something, but don’t know how, find out how, and do it. It is not a mystery.
If someone really loves what they do, then the process is just as important as anything else. Then there is no need to affirm, because it is all already there. There is no duality in the act of a person that loves what they do in this way, because what they love to do is already within them.