Defining “my way” has been an exercise I undergo every 6 – 12 months as I plot a course from one interesting chapter to another in my life. I could (and probably will) write a book just about that last sentence, but this time, my goal setting has been challenged – in a positive way. Challenged to the very core (and even the concepts behind the definition of the “core” itself). It’s lead me to a very interesting, comfortable and yet highly chaotic and disruptive state of mind. My blog tag is “chaotic everywhere like me” so, I am generally OK with chaos. I also like order – when applied in way I find agreeable. Somewhere between order and chaos, I usually find some small, medium and large goals to work towards. Then, in some twist of anti-Coveyist logic, I do all the small goals, get partially through the medium goals and wake up 5 years later wondering why I am not a rock star (I usually write polkas on the flute-a-phone, but it should be spontaneous transition, I would think).
So along comes this challenge. And I have been thinking about goals in the context of this challenge to figure out what I need to do to move forward on my larger goals in a more quantitative way (accepting that fluidity and chaos are part of the mix). Today, I found a partial answer to that question.
It started with a physical therapy appointment. There were a lot of little things that made today’s journey interesting, starting with a cup of coffee and really good conversation. Then I hit the road-zen just right on the way to the appointment, from work all the way up to skidding just right into the parking space on the roof of the garage. Unexpectedly, there was a funky solicitor at the doctor’s office selling diet bars with a thick English accent and leaning his whole body across the counter, and then, in some strange twist on Jungian consciousness, my doctor greeted me with an English accent. A good start to the day.
But something kinda interesting and cosmic bubbled up as I drove back to work. Like so many other thought-bubbles, it wasn’t anything completely new. However, repetition has a way of making things more valuable or less valuable depending on context and perception. Today’s context and perception – my position in the spiral of my life – definitely made this re-realization more valuable. I thought to myself: All things in the universe are connected (some don’t believe in that view, but I do…the asymptotic curve of magnetism alone was enough for me) and as such, I am a part of everything from the dinosaur bits that have made it to the molten core of this planet, to the ancient galaxies getting ripped apart by black holes on the edge of the universe. I am party to and directly connected with everything that exists and everything that is being imagined and pretty much even the things that are not.
Thinking like that really puts goal-setting to the test. Our society pumps goal setting as a key to efficiency and achievement, and I don’t necessarily disagree. But in the face of the cosmos, it is moot whether my goal is to write a blog post or rule the known galaxy – neither of those things are really a blip on the radar for something like the universe. Kinda drives home the point: life is short, make sure you spend your time your way!
Somewhere between this blog post and ubiquitous and incontestable control of the known and unknown universe is the path I will choose, but ultimately, regardless of my choice… it is completely my choice. And when I look at how big the universe is, and my tendency to think big and want to accomplish large things, I have to ask myself… what is it about “big” things that are important to me? Now that I have demonstrated how small even the biggest accomplishment is in the face of nature, how important it is to do something I perceive as “big?” The truth, it isn’t important unless I make it important, and until today, my big ideas just have not been that important to me – I have chosen other ways to spend my time.
Now, I have done all these cool little soul-searching exercises before – 7 Habits, personality profiles, career exams, money management books/seminars, etc. And from that training I have applied various plans to my life to achieve cool stuff for my employer, cool stuff for other people, and even some decently engaging projects for myself… but nothing big. Yet, when I look at what I say are my biggest goals, they are huge, substantive accomplishments that most people would argue cannot be completed in a lifetime. In truth, I have only shared facets of those goals – and when I do, the usual reaction is people will believe I can hit some of the marks, or even better, some people just say I need to come back to planet Earth and be realistic about what is possible.
Let’s look at some of these things: I was going to build my own version of the space shuttle, I thought about ways to build better robots, about ways to enable video on demand, about several different types of video games, countless movies/cartoons/skits, songs, short stories, photo journals, monolithic dome and sustainable housing projects, fixing issues with homelessness, broadening the scope of acceptable medicine, bio-engineering (with a focus of transferring learning directly from one brain to another), developing true artificial intelligence, reworking government across the planet, natural resource management, urban and commercial architecture, building a functioning worm hole without destroying our planet by accident, converting Earth itself to a space craft so we aren’t dependent on this solar system, bringing back the power of village-based trade and agriculture using the power of the internet, keeping knowledge truly unbiased and using that as the foundation for immersive education and work environments, meeting our extraterrestrial neighbors, raising the bar on our species by getting rid of stupid economic systems that enable self-oppression, maybe a couple paintings, and at least some form of origami, a cool death ray (hey, not every critter in the universe as as sweet and nice as us hoomanz) and shields – everyone needs those… the list really could go on for a while more, and some of the stuff, in due time has actually been invented – and improved upon what I initially thought it could do. And it isn’t about being original – I know there are other people thinking the same things, and even better, there are other people actually making accomplishments on these things. What matters is, when people ask what kind of future I want to be a part of, what kind of projects interest me, these are the types of things I want to engage. These are things I would choose…
So, I show people a list like that, and they flap their arms in the air and say it is impossible. No, it is certainly not impossible and I have no interest in restricting my dreams to fit the definition of somebody else’s “possible.” Hmph!!
But, as you can see, it will take quite a network to put all this in motion. I started saying maybe networking comes first, then I thought maybe I should start a company and use the income from that to build a portfolio. But those approaches will be too slow. I need something faster… and today, when I realized I was connected to everything… today, when I was told facing my bed north-south to align with the poles would improve energy flow, today was when I realized all of this is very possible – because it is all being done already. I just need the right entity, the right little “engine that could”, the right network, and the right plan…and can plug into all of it. That’s what I will have by Monday.