"Irwin, I've noticed that lately you don't seem to be focusing on much of anything. It's like your adrift without a direction, or a plan....aimlessly floating along and not taking advantage of so many opportunities that are coming your way. You know, Tadpole, that the frog who aims at nothing is sure to find it. Are you aiming at nothing, my boy?" Blushing, I had to admit that. lately, I didn't have much motivation; two books I've started but never completed, baking I've wanted to do but never bought the supplies I needed....Yep, I'm a drift, alright. "Well, Dharma," I replied, "you are right about about drifting along. I don't seem to have any clear goals these day. I'm wondering, though, if goals are really so important. Aren't you always telling me that it's the journey that important, and not the destination?"
Dharma rolled his eyes, shook his head and patiently tried to answer my question, "Yes, the journey IS what's most important, but if you don't have a direction you'll find yourself leaping along paths that you might not want to hop down. Having direction in life is necessary. And with that, Dharma proceeded to explain why goals are important and how to make them.
1. Dreams. Everybody has dreams...those things we think about doing, the things that we feel passionate about. Everything started off with someone's dream; the Eiffel Tower, great cathedrals, Monet's Water Lilies, even the computer you type your books on...everything started out as a dream. But many of us, allow our dreams to be easily crushed. One set back and we give up. If you have no dreams, you become like the mouse on a wheel; there's plenty of motion but there isn't any progress,
2. Determination. Once we have a dream, we need determination. If we don't believe in our dreams...who will? The dream is only the first step. Dreams are the ship, and we are the captain. That means we have to guide that dream along until it reaches fruition, just as a captain guides his ship, sometimes through very rough waters, to the safety of a harbor. Setbacks and failures are inevitable, but we cannot let them deter us from pushing onward. Giving up cannot be an option if we want to succeed.
3. Action. Action emerges naturally if we have determination. Humans might call this, putting one foot in front of the other. When you do that you will, eventually, get from point A to point B...even if you fall down a few times. The point is to keep moving. As Lao Tzu so eloquently put it, "A dripping tap will soon lead to a full bucket."
4. Faith. First we need to dream. Then we need determination. Next, comes action. But faith in ourselves, and in our dreams, is what's most important because, after all, life's a mystery. We sometimes have to believe in something even when it looks like it won't happen. Faith in the unknown is hard but when we're on our true path, Irwin, we will know it at our gut level. Be open to the natural flow of things and don't try to fight or resist changes as they occur. Everything happens for a reason. You may be traveling down one path, come to a big bump in the road and get thrown off course. But, perhaps, that new course will be even an better one.
Huge sailing ships get moved along, covering vast distances, with only the help of wind. Sometimes they get blown off course and land on a strange and unexpected, but wonderful new shore.
Our goals are meant to get us moving. Just like the loaded cargo ship, we think we're setting off for a specific destination. Sometimes we make it. Sometimes we don't. But wherever we do wind up, it's just where we need to be.