Goals and Results
[Excerpt from EASE, getting real with work]
Let’s have a chat about goals and desires and what we want to achieve.
Wouldn’t it be great if, every single time we set a goal, we achieved it?
Want to earn more? Done.
Want to get more clients? Done.
Want that next promotion? Done.
Want to achieve that target? Done.
Want a new job? Done.
Sometimes we get what we want and sometimes we don’t.
What’s going on there? What makes the difference?
Why does desire not translate every time into automatic action and automatic results?
The answer is:
things don’t change when the reason for wanting the change is the very thing stopping the change from happening…
Let’s look at that one more closely…
Let’s start with the desire for security. Because underneath many goals is this desire.
When we feel insecure, what we want is to be secure.
So our desires, needs and wants will reflect that. They will involve securing this idea of self and defending it from anything that could be a threat.
We try to control our experience, emotions and mental state so that they line up with our idea of security.
And as long as we have that understanding then we are stuck.
Nothing can truly change from that place because there has been no shift in the understanding of self or world.
The desire to be more secure, happy, fulfilled, in control is coming from an understanding of self, world and reality that limits behaviour to what will apparently make us secure, happy, fulfilled or in control.
Let’s say I feel insecure. Let’s say I believe having more money will stop that insecurity.
The belief that I need more money to be secure comes from the same place that says I am a vulnerable self in a precarious world.
I may have the desire to make more money but to do that I will need to put my insecure self out into that unpredictable world. It looks like I need to get out of my comfort zone. I will need to have apparently scary conversations about work, money, value and impact with people who might say no or laugh at me or get offended. I might have to take risks or do things I am not so familiar with.
All of this is in direct opposition to my desperate need for security.
So there I am, stuck with the desire to feel more secure while any action towards it risks more insecurity.
Catch 22. No wonder the goal doesn’t translate into results.
Let’s look at another one.
I might like to have a great job and prestigious title in order that I can feel important, respected and special.
As long as being important and feeling special looks necessary to me, the idea of rejection is intolerable. I cannot risk it. I cannot risk an individual or a company turning me down or rejecting my ideas. I can’t risk getting something wrong or not being great at what I do. So I hide myself away or I bring vulnerability into every encounter.
Or how about the desire to be happy? It might look like we will be happy when we only have positive experiences, or when we can control circumstances, events or other people to be as we wish. So we might embark on a quest for the right job or the right colleagues or the right salary that will make us happy. But where is the guarantee? How do we know that the next job won’t make us even more miserable? So we stay put because better the devil you know, right? Or we move and give the new job / colleagues / situation the impossible task of fixing a happy mood in place.
It’s the same with everything that comes from an idea of who we are that must be defended and upheld. The desire itself makes it impossible to fulfil the desire.
We can exert will power but it will be doing battle with an idea of self and an idea of world that looks absolutely real. No wonder we get exhausted and drained.
Change is impossible when the reason for the change is to make this idea of who we are secure, happy, loved, fixed or fulfilled.
Because as long as that idea of who we are and what we need goes unquestioned, there is zero impetus to do anything that seemingly contradicts that need. And that inertia will, of course, continue to reinforce all those beliefs about self and world. Wherever we go, we bring our unexplored idea of self.
It is the ultimate vicious circle. Apparent reality confirming apparently reality and keeping us more stuck and fixed in this crazy idea of who we think we are.
Trying to break free of the trap only makes the trap more real.
Oh great. You might be thinking (in a sarcastic tone of voice). Doomed! We’re set to live our lives in this unsatisfactory place of wanting something different but totally unable to achieve it.
And this is where it gets super cool.
Because - yes - the you that believes you are who you think you are, is doomed to play out the same patterns, the same routines, the same habits within the same limited frame because that is the apparent reality of that apparent self.
But the real you has nothing to do with that whatsoever.
The real you is the awareness of that ever-changing idea of a self, world and other.
And that ‘you’ is not trapped in any way whatsoever. That you, that awareness, consciousness, freedom, is unlimited and infinite. There is not a single thing that is not possible within that space.
The more we consider this, the more obvious it is that this made up idea of a limited, separate self is not real at all. The mind and the body that looks so real is thought-created experience.
Which means that any desire to make this self of ours more secure, fixed, happy, stable, loved is actually laughable. How could that happen? That self is not even there in the first place. Impossible to secure or fix it in place.
There is no greater freedom than seeing this.
It is mind-blowing.
Because the mind that believes it is an actual thing and that needs the world to be a certain way is blown away. Blown into oblivion. It cannot exist any more in the way it used to appear to.
So what happens now? Do desires and wants just stop? Is there no action, nothing to do? Do we disappear in an apathetic puddle of nothing-ness?
No of course not. The opposite is true. Life becomes more obviously about living. It still looks like there is a world of stuff to do, of things to have, create and experience and a body as the vehicle for this to happen.
We just continue, as we always did, doing what we do. It’s just that, taking this idea of ourselves less and less seriously, life is now much more simple.
What makes it simpler?
Well, a LOT of the old stuff might fade away. All those desires that came from a self trying to secure itself, trying to manage experience, trying to control feelings and thought and the world will disappear.
The clearer understanding of who we are is like a spring clean and the crazy thing is we won’t even notice its happening. As one of my clients said, ‘alcohol packed its bags and left me and I didn’t even realise it had gone’.
The stuff that goes will be different for all of us. It is not the behaviour that is important. What is important is the understanding that sweeps through holding everything up to a different light.
And what about the stuff that’s left?
That will just be what makes sense for us to do. Whatever it is.
The difference is, there is nothing in the way now. There is no self that has to be defended or affirmed, no self to analyse what people will think or what will be embarrassing or risky. There is nothing to control or squash or numb. All experience is just what is happening. All emotions are just what seems to be there. There is just being and doing.
And now, the desires that arise are seamless with action and result.
A desire to drink a glass of water translates instantly into pouring a glass and drinking it. Nothing in the way. If we are not at home, the desire might easily move into asking for a glass of water. If we are lost in the desert it will move into using every resource available to find liquid.
Belief in ourself is not necessary to drink water when drinking water makes sense. It is impersonal. Just pure doing, pure moving out into a world that we know deep down is not the objective world it appears to be.
Desire and fulfilment of desire are one and the same. Nothing in the way. No gaps or spaces. No self to intervene and complicate. It is the same for everything. Whatever is obvious to do, without an idea of self in the way, will be done.
It is the ultimate virtuous circle.
The dissolution of who we think we are takes us deeper into the dissolution.
The falling away of our idea of who we are creates more and more space, more and more freedom.
That first glimmer of light becomes brighter and brighter until it illuminates the whole world. The whole world laid out for us, because all of it is who we are.
Seeing who we really are is the single only source of change.
Because we are the source itself.
And as the source itself, everything is possible.