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Life and Times of an itinerant slacker in Sacramento. Thrills, Spills Galore coming soon. Not to mention lots of opinions.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When Goals Meet Non-Goal

I just read an interesting article in Zen Habits is one of the more popular blogs on the interwebs, In fact, the dead tree media even claims this is a “blog you should know”. Naturally, I had never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago.

The blogs author, Leo Babauta, is a guy from Guam who's spent a lot of his life on the west coast, and has recently moved to San Francisco. His writing style is out of this world. If E B White was alive today, he would approve. Actually, if E B White was alive and read much of my blog today, he'd probably be dead by tomorrow. Who has time for dead white men these days?

Up until his most recent post, Babauta has written books and blog entries instructing people how to establish nested goals (i. e., short term goals supporting mid term goals supporting long term goals) all in a Protestant Work Ethic inspired effort to help everyone improve themselves by focusing on the Important Things in Life.

Given that background, I was surprised and pleased as punch to see his most recent blog post. He has put forth a change in approach, now saying that “the best goal is no goal”.He looks at the limitations we might impose on our lives by allowing lives to be subservient to our self-imposed goals.

I can only hope that this many younger folks in America are able to come to a similar realization. I find it discouraging that some research has shown that “getting rich” is the predominant goal of most younger Americans.

I am not trying to moralize about this. My most pressing concern is that if “getting rich” is the goal, it's a sure thing that most will fail. This is simply because “getting rich”means having more than the vast majority of the people around you. In a roomful of highly paid executives, the person with the smallest private jet will be poor in his own eyes, at least until he leaves the room. Therefore, only a small minority can “be rich”at any time. Since outside of lake Wobegon, all the children can't be above average, most of us can't be “rich”.

Now the hippie type slacker who defines “being rich” by having a loving family surrounded by good friends has a pretty good chance of making it.

In soundbites, the lesson is;

If you want a good life, quit being a human becoming and start living as a human being.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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I must enjoy shouting into a vacuum, but I think about getting my act together one of these days. My mom says I am very handsome and intelligent.

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