Being successful, being truly happy, starts and ends with being in love with the present moment. Your goal shouldn’t be to do something (job) to get you what you want (time and things). Your goal should be the job and the process of it. Your job is where you should want to spend your time and then the things you want should just come naturally.
Let me take a step back from this for a moment and be brutally candid about my goals and dreams, things that are not in the present moment.
I have a lot of goals and dreams when it comes to how I want my life to pan out and they mostly come in the form of (shocker) money and women but not in the way you might think.
The most important and powerful job in the world has never been held by a man and never will be. That job is called mom. Being a mother is the most important role that we as humans can have. Not only do they mold how our children are and will become, they still take care of them even as they’re adults. Being a grandmother or a great grandmother doesn’t relieve the job, if anything, it exacerbates it.
Here are my motivators in no particular order:
- I want to buy my mom and two sisters their homes
- I want to give the women in my life (mom, sisters, wife) the option not to work
- I want to date (i.e. possible future wife) internationally
(Aside: If you are a woman that wants to work, there is nothing wrong with that. If you are a woman that doesn’t want or can’t have children, there is nothing with that. The working mom, the childless mom, are all heroes in my eyes. I am just sharing my hopes and dreams for myself. Feel free to judge me harshly. You’re still a rockstar in my book.)
As you can see all my motivators come with a price tag. A big one. Not only do I want to take care of myself financially, I want to take care of others financially. I have a part time job and just a handful of books that bring in a trickle of income. Hardly the ability for my globetrotting dating and family breadwinning dream I have.
What does my evil, backward, patriarchal (BOO-GAH! BOO-GAH! BOO-GAH!) views have to do with my goals and dreams and in turn, being in the present? Everything, really.
You see we, myself included, can get lost in the end goal. The bright lights and dreams of what millions might bring can be very obsessive, particularly in our culture. No one talks about their ridiculous dreams until the lottery gets to some unattainable jackpot. Then all you need to do is look at social media and see how desperate everyone is for that quick and easy windfall of cash.
But should that be the goal? The millions of dollars? The lack of work to get it? No, it shouldn’t. And if you look back at the beginning of this paragraph it should give you pause that those are our motivators. Joy in money. Joy in not doing anything. That’s what we’re really saying when we want easy money. We’re saying that joy is only attainable through things and no action. That’s heartbreaking.
This past month of June I did very little writing. In my very small defence, I was trying to write in the dark as Dean Wesley Smith calls it (or as most writers call it, pantsing) and that didn’t work out too well. Not now in my writing career at least. I hope to get there one day. So instead I did research on some world building and started an outline on a massive epic.
So now, I need to get to the real business. I need to write. I need to work. I need to spend every free moment I have on writing. My goal is to write at least 1,500 words a day with the hope of hitting 3,000 every once in awhile (Zoink!) That means at least two to five writing sessions of 700 words a day! (That’s a double zoink you just heard from Shaggy.)
Is that a lot of work? Yeah, if I look at it that way. But what if I change my attitude? What if I just look at it a little differently?
I tell myself that I want to travel the world and watch cricket and write between cricketing sessions. But can’t I already do that now? Minus the cricket, obviously. The answer is yes, yes I can.
My goal is to live the lifestyle of J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. But what is that lifestyle? Writing. Working. They have all “made it” in our already established definition of financial freedom. They don’t need to write another word in their lives. Yet they still do it. Why? Because the process is the reward, that’s the real goal.
Have you ever been motivated to workout and eat well? Maybe learn a new language or instrument? Of course you have. That first week they couldn’t pull you away from the gym or that guitar. All your free time was looking up healthy recipes or chord progressions online. And then the inevitable happened. You lost your motivation. What was once fun now became a foot dragging chore. So what changed? Your attitude. You had the right attitude when you started doing this things but then they changed.
At first, the thought of not working out, of eating unhealthy, of not picking up that instrument was off putting. All you could think about was how awesome it is to study Spanish, to practice drawing. But then, you let go of the joy of the moment. You forgot that the actual process of learning and growing was and is the reward. You started to only see that Italian speaking you in the future, that fit body you in the future, that piano playing you in the future. Soon that dream that was a motivator was now making your baby steps seem unattainable and worse, contributing and being the sole source of your procrastination. What was once the carrot became your stick.
So we need to stop looking at our fantasies as what the end product should be. The act of trying to get there, the process, should be the actual goal. Only when we do that, do we actually reach our dreams.
One-hundred pounds overweight? No problem. If you did just five minutes of exercise and enjoyed that salad, you’ve already reached your goal.
Spoke-o bad-o espanol-o for dos minutos? Great. Keep it up. That’s how you’ll get to fluency. You’ve already reached your goal.
Tried that darned c-chord again and failed even worse than you did the last time? Congratulations, you’ve already reached your goal.
Did you draw some circles on the back of an envelope in your dreams of becoming a portrait artist? Awesome, you’ve already reached your goal.
As for me, the odds are against me, big time. Of the few writers that make steady income, only about 10% hit that $100,000 a year mark. So even “making it”, while it’ss very nice by most standards, is a far cry from the Scrooge McDuck money I want. In all honesty, being a creative isn’t probably going to lead me to my financial dreams. But later today I plan on watching Stage One of Le Tour de France but before I do that I’m gonna sit down for about forty minutes and try to write a session of 700 words. If I remind myself that that’s the goal, that that’s making it, it should be a blast.
I may not own J.K. Rowling’s Scottish castle, but as long as I enjoy the process of writing like her, I too have already made it just like her.