Why without setting goals, you often achieve more success

Last week was the Obstacle Run in Wijchen. A run where most people start with a purpose and hope for a great finish time. I was at the start line without focusing on a goal or finishing time.

“Why? You may be wondering… Because setting goals often only brings me frustration and dissatisfaction. And I suspect the same is true for you.

When I reach a goal, I am often satisfied for a while, but soon this euphoric feeling disappears and I see another goal, and another new goal. This is how I become a hamster in a wheel. And then also a hamster who at the end of his life realizes that he has only been busy achieving something he did not yet have. In short, dissatisfaction and frustration.

And not meeting goals creates dissatisfaction anyway. In short, purposeful living only brings me frustration. So no purposeful life for me. But what then, to avoid tiptoeing lost under the barbed wire during such an obstacle run?

My focus in life is not on goals, but on values. Values are something you strive for but can never achieve. Just like a compass. You can go west, but you can never reach the west.

My values:

Movement, Friendship, Outdoors

With the focus on these values, I have achieved fantastic results that I look back on with satisfaction and joy. I spent 2 hours moving my body in the mud, through the water and among the trees. Outdoor living optima forma! At the same time, I did this run with my brother Stijn, Lud and Joost. Friendship and brotherhood.

But most of all, what was fantastic at the time, I also enjoyed the obstacle run. I enjoyed the rain, the hail, my elevated heart rate, the chill of the water, my friends and family nearby.

Focusing on values has other benefits.

When you focus too much on just your goal, you can be so focused that you fail to notice important signals from your body or the environment and, as a result, for example, get into unnecessary trouble. Think of that colleague who is so eager to get results on project X that he forgets that he also works with people. Or think of mountain climbers who want to reach the summit at all costs and don’t realize that it is far too dangerous in terms of conditions.

So, in short, purposeful living can itself turn deadly. Sin too. You have eyes only for the goal and you miss the wonders of life while focusing on your goal.

So question to you;

What are your values? And what actions can you take to start living more toward these values? I am curious.

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