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Goals and Purpose

Postby zetreque on December 26th, 2016, 1:21 am 

We are approaching the time of year when some people like to make New Years Resolutions. There is always talk of setting goals and a new years resolution but 1. I am wondering if anyone would like to share a story or experience about past new years resolutions and how they turned out?

2. Furthermore, let's open this to goals in general. Does anyone want to share an experience of setting a goal and then either meeting that goal or failing miserably to meet the goal?

3. I am also very curious if setting goals is the closest we can ever come to having a purpose in life or giving our lives meaning? Does anyone actually know what their life is, or are we all just following a general direction of where we would like to be based on rough and specific goals? Even more, does anyone have anything to share about setting goals versus living in the moment, as many who meditate attempt to do?
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby BadgerJelly on December 26th, 2016, 1:40 am 

I have never been overly fond of setting goals or working towards some ideal purpose. Of course, like everyone, I have dreams, hopes and desires.

1- The resolution I made over a decade ago was not to make any resolutions. I've stuck to it.

2- I always imagined when young I would study theoretical physics ag university. I used to dream about getting there. Maybe I will one day pursue that dream again, although the appeal of it has waned quite a lot.

3- I think life is what it is. All we can do is remain open to different opportunities that come our way and try notnto fear change. In this respect, personally speaking, my goal is to continually challenge myself is some way ans opening up new opportunities and recognising old ones.

Really though, for the most part, I do just shuffle along and merely say things like the above in order to cloth myself in a possible facade of a lived satisfaction that covers up a more bleak or mundane monotony?

I am just a wannabe intellectual. That is my self description and it frames my purpose, I want to pursue the idea of knowing stuff and to be able to articulate the stuff I think I know better.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby Serpent on December 26th, 2016, 1:46 am 

It's not so much a choice between setting goals and living in the moment as it is a matter of
"Man proposes; God disposes" or
"But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy."
or Forrest Gump's tee-shirt.

We set goals. We make plans. And then life happens.
Now, I have no ambitions; I just hope it keeps happening a little longer.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby weakmagneto on December 26th, 2016, 10:58 am 

zetreque » December 25th, 2016, 11:21 pm wrote:2. Furthermore, let's open this to goals in general. Does anyone want to share an experience of setting a goal and then either meeting that goal or failing miserably to meet the goal?


When I was 29, I pondered where I would like to be when I hit 40. So I made a list of goals that I would like to accomplish career-wise. As time went along, any decisions I made were correlated to accomplishing my goals. I was quite ambitious and focused back then. I am very competitive and a risk taker so it complemented my career choice. I accomplished the goals that I set out to achieve. I felt a great sense of achievement and elation.

When I hit 40, I did not set any further goals for myself because, as Serpent said, life happens. The hard personal challenges that I faced upon entering my 40's has really changed me as an individual. I no longer focus my goals on my career, but focus my efforts on family and personal well-being.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby zetreque on December 26th, 2016, 12:36 pm 

weakmagneto » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:58 am wrote: I accomplished the goals that I set out to achieve. I felt a great sense of achievement and elation.


Would you be able to say your life is better off now from having set and achieved goals in the past?

I myself have never done the new year's resolution thing, but I do have dreams and desires that I work toward.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby weakmagneto on December 26th, 2016, 1:51 pm 

zetreque » December 26th, 2016, 10:36 am wrote:
weakmagneto » Mon Dec 26, 2016 7:58 am wrote: I accomplished the goals that I set out to achieve. I felt a great sense of achievement and elation.


Would you be able to say your life is better off now from having set and achieved goals in the past?

I myself have never done the new year's resolution thing, but I do have dreams and desires that I work toward.


I would say my life is much better off for having set and achieved goals in the past. I have passed on numerous lessons and have been a role model for others through this success. There is much more that I could add that has enhanced my life as a result but they are too numerous. I am a champion of goal setting but you must prepare yourself for failure. I view failure as a learning tool and it sometimes leads to the most advantageous opportunities. I used a similar method of SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goal setting.

I have also set New Year's resolutions. Forgotten or failed miserably for most. Sometimes they do help to focus one's life for the year OR are forgotten. Resolutions can keep you mindful of the direction you would like your life to go or can help you to overcome challenges in your life. I've been pretty happy with some of the resolutions that I have achieved and glad I set them.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby zetreque on December 26th, 2016, 5:05 pm 

Many times in life I have done the exercise where I will be starting a project or at the beginning of a trip and then imagine myself at the end of that project or trip. The first couple times I did this, I did it naturally without any thought into it and then it became something I put conscious effort into so that I may gain something out of the exercise. I can clearly see myself at the end of a task now and sometimes it brings an eerie feeling both before and at the end. Not in the way that I can see the future but in the way that life is and how it flows.

Being able to visualize myself at the end of a project or trip makes me much more confident that I will live to that day, but at the same time I do not like it at all. Recently, this exercise has naturally brought me to visualizing myself at the end of my life. Perhaps having done the exercise consciously several times now is similar to the scientific method where repeated tests help solidify the theory. In this case, my experience now solidifies my knowing I will reach the end of my life at old age. Of course you never know what will happen and I could die tomorrow, but evidence lends itself to things turning out the way I visualize them.

While this gives a good confidence in knowing that I will achieve certain goals or destinations, I don't like it because it helps reinforce that life is short and will just pass in the blink of an eye. Like when I am at the end of a trip on the way home, I visualized myself at the beginning of the trip and how I saw this moment at the end of the trip (the goal). The trip is over, and now I am older.

This has brought me to ponder the practice of living in the moment and enjoying the moment without putting the effort into visualizing the end. I go back and forth between making goals, but trying to live in the moment in order to obtain a balance. It seems impossible to have life as we know it without setting goals in our linear existence, but setting goals seems like sealing our fate, On the other hand, living purely in the moment seems to render life meaningless. I now ask the question in this thread and to myself if there is something more. Like if you put setting goals (linearness) on one end of the spectrum, and living in the moment (non-linearness) on the other end, is there something out to the side in another dimension so to speak that gives our individual lives purpose?
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby Scott Mayers on December 26th, 2016, 11:52 pm 

zetreque » December 26th, 2016, 12:21 am wrote:We are approaching the time of year when some people like to make New Years Resolutions. There is always talk of setting goals and a new years resolution but 1. I am wondering if anyone would like to share a story or experience about past new years resolutions and how they turned out?

2. Furthermore, let's open this to goals in general. Does anyone want to share an experience of setting a goal and then either meeting that goal or failing miserably to meet the goal?

3. I am also very curious if setting goals is the closest we can ever come to having a purpose in life or giving our lives meaning? Does anyone actually know what their life is, or are we all just following a general direction of where we would like to be based on rough and specific goals? Even more, does anyone have anything to share about setting goals versus living in the moment, as many who meditate attempt to do?


Good topic, zetreque.

When I was young, the education of many teaching how to improve some part of life always centered around 'goals'. What I remembered about all of this at the time is that I thought it odd to SET goals with intent. My thinking was that we DEFAULT to everything we DO as moving towards some goal or other regardless of any intent. It seemed redundant to speak about some predesignated end without having some prior drive to seek some end in the first place. So I merely interpreted using such 'education' as being about how to FIX some goal that you already have with clarity by defining it and trying to rationally determine HOW to get there.

This makes (1), any Resolutions, meaningless to me. If someone were to SET some goal that they already do not have by default, it is because they LACK the declared 'goal' or LACK the means to get to those goals they already DO want. Much of New Year's resolutions are indirect desires of some socially acceptable states or behaviors that are pressured upon us from outside. So, given that you admire a specific crowd that disfavors something you have or do by default, such a resolution is a declaration to 'fit in' with the goals of that crowd, not something you personally desire. To "quit smoking", for instance, is a goal to fit in with comfort by outsiders if you personally enjoy smoking. The actual 'goal' is thus not actually to "quit smoking" but to "be appealing to others as a non-smoker".

Resolutions that deal with goals that you already desire by default, are merely a formal declaration to achieve success by setting some burden of obligation of yourself to fulfill this desire by some strict means, like a deadline or some opposition to penalty for NOT succeeding. The latter would be the kind where one might quit smoking cold turkey on the day of declaring the goal. By announcing it, you are 'cursing' yourself to either oblige or be penalized for it by the assumed power of others to condemn you should you fail. These act as self-inflicting threats and can justly defeat you for even failing once given this penalizes you in some way if they aren't merely empty words.

(2) Failed achievements to some default 'goal' to simply get them for mere wanting motivates one to acquire strength for that goal. I think that we actually 'seek' what we have some at least partial experience of in mind of our perception of that goal. We don't 'seek' breathing air as a goal in that we default to requiring it for survival. But if you are denied that necessity, it INCREASES your demand for it. For other things that are not immediately essential, a desire to reach some goal is about the illusion of what you think it will give you according to some sensation of experience of reward that you've at least already experienced. You may never have been a millionaire to desire it but the POWER it implies grants you the motivation if you've at least had some sampled sensation of even relatively trivial power that has given you an emotional 'high' in some way. If you experienced the pleasure of eating a chocolate bar, for instance, and it gave you a 'high' degree of pleasure, you begin to seek it out with purpose. But if you can't then get it for merely wanting it, the demand makes it more interesting to seek for. And if you then achieve such success for accelerated demand, the reward is even that much more pleasurable. Thus, you can generalize such a trivial experience to desiring power to succeed. If being a millionaire in your mind seem to represent such power, you desire to be a millionaire, and then it becomes a new goal.

So (3), I extend this to infer that CONSCIOUS life itself is about wanting as a general goal, particularly for animals. If we did not have such default desires, our consciousness would be superfluous to our biology and we wouldn't evolve a brain and senses to seek the environment at all. "Goals" are just the ends of which we aim for by being conscious. If we receive all we WANT, our immediate biological 'goals' are met without resistance and so lacks a need to AIM for what we already get regardless.

Those who preferentially 'live in the moment' are actually those who likely have a realistic success rate for achieving what they want without a need to set them as 'goals'. Their achievements ARE 'goals' but just not ones they don't believe that they could already not achieve for merely wanting them as often as others. "Goals" in this sense are thus not sincerely existent if you already get them immediately. They then only refer to those things that are sought for at a distance and increase where they are initially sampled and then resisted for wanting.

CAVEAT: I do not believe, however, that just because one does NOT set goals that they are spoiled to getting what they 'want'. For myself, when I misinterpreted what 'goals' were, this was more about finding it odd that one should require CREATING them out of the blue. Often, the education of those trying to teach you about goal-setting are actually treating such 'goals' as more about socially accepted aims, not personal ones. In context, for instance, I was taught some of this in job seeking skill education after high school. The 'goal' to "get a job" is a socially demanded one, not one that people directly desire for the sake of ANY occupation we CALL a 'job'. As such, the definition of 'goal' that I interpreted originally was about OTHER'S ideal goals, not my own. It is a kind of forced goal, not one that one would voluntarily choose to set without that force.

As to the "Purpose" part of your title, there is none to reality. The tendency for us to persist is a force of nature according to our contingent reality. It is like the first law of mechanics: the state to exist or persist in some fashion is defaulted to remain constant unless FORCED to change by some external means. Totality can have parts of it that have NO such requirement. But they then simply don't 'persist' for not being defined to require such a 'rule' or 'goal'.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby zetreque on December 27th, 2016, 2:19 am 

Interesting perspective, Thank you Scott Mayers.

I found myself thinking about addictions when reading part of your response. The reward center of our brain in response to obtaining goals that are of "addiction" status.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby zetreque on January 2nd, 2017, 5:45 am 

I was just thinking about how PhD's tie into this topic.

Those who pursue a PhD as I know it, seek to become a world expert in a tiny corner of our understanding of the universe. By focusing a great deal of energy, it is hoped that they will shed light onto a tiny corner of furthering the human knowledge of the universe that has built up upon individual efforts as far back as one could imagine the human species.

I recall that higher education is correlated with happiness and longevity. Just typing that seems like a contradiction though but does a refined goal such as pursuing a PhD help bring purpose to life and happiness? If so, what more specific about that pursuit gives purpose? Is it recognition, is it feeling more a part of the human quest for growth and knowledge, is it simply a focused goal that brings excitement, is it the challenge?
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby Dave_Oblad on January 2nd, 2017, 3:47 pm 

Hi all,

My 1st Goal in Life was to be an Electronics Engineer and I achieved that without a formal education in that field.

My 2nd Goal was to be Rich and Famous. I pretty much failed on those fronts.

But I trust the Universe knows what its doing.. so I take each day as it comes.

Regards,
Dave :^)
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby Scott Mayers on January 2nd, 2017, 8:02 pm 

What I think may be essential to add to this thread (or a new digression on it) is to whether there is a 'universal' or ideal set of goals and purposes for all, as in POLITICS.(?) I feel that we are somewhat doomed to make such possible as it competes against our genetic evolution though.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby zetreque on January 2nd, 2017, 8:54 pm 

Scott Mayers » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:02 pm wrote:What I think may be essential to add to this thread (or a new digression on it) is to whether there is a 'universal' or ideal set of goals and purposes for all, as in POLITICS.(?) I feel that we are somewhat doomed to make such possible as it competes against our genetic evolution though.


There are many goals that transcend race, gender, culture. Those are the things that unite people rather than turning them against one another and should be a mandatory requirement of politicians but unfortunately isn't. Politics and diplomacy are two separate things apparently.

I don't understand your last sentence if you could clarify. Thanks.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby ronjanec on January 2nd, 2017, 9:25 pm 

zetreque » Sun Dec 25, 2016 11:21 pm wrote:We are approaching the time of year when some people like to make New Years Resolutions. There is always talk of setting goals and a new years resolution but 1. I am wondering if anyone would like to share a story or experience about past new years resolutions and how they turned out?

2. Furthermore, let's open this to goals in general. Does anyone want to share an experience of setting a goal and then either meeting that goal or failing miserably to meet the goal?

3. I am also very curious if setting goals is the closest we can ever come to having a purpose in life or giving our lives meaning? Does anyone actually know what their life is, or are we all just following a general direction of where we would like to be based on rough and specific goals? Even more, does anyone have anything to share about setting goals versus living in the moment, as many who meditate attempt to do?


2. A couple of years ago, I worked out 6 days a week for 6 months straight and then lost 27 pounds(my goal): I stopped working out for a year, and then gained all of it back. After gaining it all back, I have stayed at the exact same weight for quite awhile now and have basically given up on ever being in great shape again(maybe too old?) But I am very happy eating lots of pizza and all the other bad stuff that I have always loved so to hell with it.

3. I am a very big believer in setting exact goals at the beginning of the year: I write them all down on a piece of paper, and then keep an eye on my progress towards accomplishing the same goals during the course of the year.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby Scott Mayers on January 2nd, 2017, 9:49 pm 

zetreque » January 2nd, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:
Scott Mayers » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:02 pm wrote:What I think may be essential to add to this thread (or a new digression on it) is to whether there is a 'universal' or ideal set of goals and purposes for all, as in POLITICS.(?) I feel that we are somewhat doomed to make such possible as it competes against our genetic evolution though.


There are many goals that transcend race, gender, culture. Those are the things that unite people rather than turning them against one another and should be a mandatory requirement of politicians but unfortunately isn't. Politics and diplomacy are two separate things apparently.

I don't understand your last sentence if you could clarify. Thanks.

I don't believe there is an ideal political system that can be sufficient to appeal to all goals and purposes of everyone fairly.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby zetreque on January 2nd, 2017, 10:13 pm 

I do (not all goals of course but fairly) but like you said, that should be another thread, I'd rather not get into politics here.
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Re: Goals and Purpose

Postby Braininvat on January 3rd, 2017, 1:39 pm 

The purpose of civilization is to have lots of electric lights on at night, so that insects will have something to do.

Really, the best goals are collective ones. They call on us to be part of something greater than our own petty cares and foster true civilization. After 2016, I'd say the best implementation of that idea is to get involved in local and state politics, where it is easier to connect with others and make a difference. It could be something very specific, that relates to something you know about and care about, like promoting bike paths or recycling or hiring a homeless person to rake your leaves. A lot of things that strongly impact your quality of life in your community happen at city council meetings. They are open to the public.
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