Tuesday, September 26, 2017

To Pursue Goals Is to Live in Near-Continuous Failure

Our back deck

Some people live by setting goals and achieving them. Upon achievement, they set their eyes on another goal. Twenty thousand steps a day becomes common, so we'll shoot for thirty thousand. People who live by setting goals experience near-constant failure. They spend more time pursuing their goal, rather than enjoying the fruits of success. Oliver Burkeman explains this.

"When you approach life as a sequence of milestones to be achieved, you exist “in a state of near-continuous failure.” Almost all the time, by definition, you’re not at the place you’ve defined as embodying accomplishment or success. And should you get there, you’ll find you’ve lost the very thing that gave you a sense of purpose—so you’ll formulate a new goal and start again." (Quoted in Adam Alter, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, p. 117)

Followers of Jesus focus on obedience, not goal-setting. When we follow Christ, we are not trying to achieve something. To us, Christ has achieved all that matters. We join him in his victory, and mission. He leads us. We follow.