Posted on 22 July 2020
Imagine the story of your life as a walk through a forest, with each tree being a memory.
Freethinker, you are in the middle of the forest.
Behind you are the trees of the past.
In front of you, in the future, is a faraway tree.
Your goal is to reach the faraway tree.
You have a neat little narrative within you of how your journey through the forest is going.
Your footprints have been left behind where you have trodden and you can envisage where they will tread next.
This next step is towards the horizon of the faraway tree and your path is seemingly clear.
However, what if there’s a sudden gust of wind and a tree falls over blocking you?
A memory has gotten in your way.
You have to divert from your path and find another route.
What if the gust of wind becomes a hurricane and several trees fall over?
Now multiple memories have gotten in your way.
You are now forced to take an uncertain path where you can no longer see the faraway tree.
Without this point of reference what do you do?
Should you circle back on yourself in the hope you don’t get lost in the past or should you stubbornly fight your way over the fallen trees sustaining whatever injury may come.
How nervous and anxious are you becoming?
Close your eyes, pause and reflect.
Moving the Tree
What if you re-imagine that the faraway tree has moved and is rooted right before you.
Sometimes moving the tree in your mind is the best solution required by a Freethinker.
There’s nothing wrong in thinking big, but more often than not the big is faraway and moving trees in your mind is a way to imagine getting there.
If you aim for the stars you might just hit the moon.
Plans may become useless but the planning is indispensable.
Goal setting has become a way of life associated with personal achievement and progress, which is taught but rarely questioned.
Starting at school you’re given targets and you’re closely measured to see close you are to reaching them or not. You then leave school to progress to higher education or job training and you are given more targets. You find yourself climbing a ladder, only to reach the top and find another ladder to climb.
At what point do you finally reach the top; and what do you do when you get there?
What if you’ve climbed several ladders only to discover that you’ve been climbing the the wrong one?
Taking an Outside View
An important freethinking skill for goal setting is your ability to take the outside view. Ever notice that when your friends struggle, you clearly see the next steps they should take, but they can’t see them? You’re not immune. We have difficulty stepping outside of our experiences to view ourselves objectively.
Our entire lives have been filtered through the lens of our own narrative interpretation, creating a persistent blind spot when we turn our gaze inward.
You could even say that the true goal is that of learning and in this modern era that involves shining a light upon our previously invalidated assumptions.
Goals Versus Dreams
First, cross off any goals designed to meet the expectations of others. Your entire life is a creation of your choices. While others may influence your decisions, only you can physically take a step forward. Our posture towards goals should reflect that freedom of choice.
Do not relinquish or take for granted your ability to choose. In our single player games, fulfillment comes from following our own inner scorecard. Every goal should be of your own choosing and for your own reasons.
Next, differentiate your goals from your dreams. While pursuit of a goal should be inherently rewarding no matter the result, dreams depend upon achieved results. If reaching the faraway tree is a dream that you’re never likely to make happen, then change what the dream is.
Finally, decide what your instrumental goals are. These are the intermediate steps on the path towards achieving your dream. Study the nature of what you are signing up for. Anything resonating with your life’s meaning will need to be practiced regularly.
Is this realistic for you?
Freethinker, don’t let your dreams destroy you. Plan your goals and take a walk through the forest of your life towards the faraway tree.
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