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Processes not Goals

"PnE" — meaning "Possibilities, not Expectations" — is a made-up text-message code that some friends-in-mindfulness and I have been using lately. It's meant to remind ourselves to stay open to possibilities as they unfold, rather than cling to expectations of how the future will turn out. Recently a colleague forwarded a link to James Clear's essay "Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead." (originally at [1]) that makes the same point. The author suggests that what really matters is building better systems, not concentrating on the target end-state. It's journey, not destination.

Clear contends:

  1. Goals reduce your current happiness.
  2. Goals are strangely at odds with long-term progress.
  3. Goals suggest that you can control things that you have no control over.

What he suggests is rather to design and implement processes — like a Practice, as mindfulness-meditation folks often say. As Clear puts it most nicely:

"When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time."

Yes — and when the goal goes away, maybe "improve" takes on a new meaning itself!

(cf. Present-Moment Reality (2008-11-05), Expectations vs. Possibilities (2013-08-13), ...) - ^z - 2014-02-20