We make plans, and we make goals. On a vary rare occasion are we without them. What would happen if we just lived moment by moment. Is it even possible? How, then, would we accomplish anything?
Accomplishment. Ah, there’s the root issue.
Most people derive a sense of proud ownership over a completed task. We’re driven to finish what we started. And once we finish, to start something else.
Why do our hearts beat so?
I may not have the answer to this question, but I do know that humanity thrives on it. Our flesh has to constantly be “DOING” something. Our entire time on earth is filled with a history of prior achievements and dreams for future successes.
Is this wrong?
I think there are healthy paths towards achievement, but there are also plenty of harmful paths that disguise their way unto our road map.
One fat word that carves itself into each and every day.
You wake up. What influences your motivation for how you start your morning? Did you have a breakthrough the night before? Or a break-up?
If the first, you might have your heart set on following your new lead with a powerful ambition to explore the concept thoroughly and completely until you arrive at the best possible answer and (ahem) end up saving the world. If the latter, perhaps there’s a hidden vengeance in your agenda that day as you step on people to get what you want, or present a careless idea that could domino into a cycle of destruction.
While those examples might have been a little extreme, it shows how our motivation is what sets the standards we use for progress and how we define our success. Our level of success largely depends on the attitude and manner of how we acquired it.
Why do I write all this? Because I am one who likes to DO DO DO. I like to push myself and push others to ACHIEVE.
So, the big question is this. What happens when your motivation seems to be pure, but your progress is hindered? What does success look like then?
Before I answer this question, let’s add some more perspective.
When my life recently took an unexpected turn down a road that appears to have no outlet, my progress was brought to a halt. With no way out, my plans, goals, and dreams all immediately crashed into an impenetrable brick wall. Stuck, I was forced to step back and check my overall aim.
Was what I was trying to accomplish so terribly important? Who am I trying to impress? What would achieving this do for me? For others?
Road blocks provide us with the opportunity to pause and look at our game plan from new angles. Often times they reveal stained motivation, and recognition of this can then lead to a higher path with a better outcome than we had first envisioned.
As I peered deeper into the well of motivation I was drawing from, the questions I asked myself helped me to see clearer than ever before. What did I see?
I saw my worth.
Although my ambitions had outwardly well-meaning intentions, quite honestly, everything I had my heart set on accomplishing was so I would feel worthy. Worthy of love. Worthy of salvation. Worthy of friends’ and family members’ support. Worthy of my career.
As is the greatest temptations to all do-ers, by losing myself in a cycle of works, I lost sight of WHO and WHAT makes me worthy. And it’s definitely not me or anything I can do. With that kind of motivation, thank God He stopped me in my tracks.
So, let me re-ask that previous question. What does true success look like when progress is hindered?
Even with the purest motivation, I truly think it’s not what you accomplish but how and why you do it. (As I write this my inner achiever self is cringing!)
Still, my newfound opinion of success now steadily streams out of the way I handle the hindrances thrown my way. For, when obstacles jump in the way of my goals, I see it merely as a chance to reassess and reflect on what’s motivating me and how I got here in the first place.
Perhaps it will transfer me to a different path entirely.
Wherever it brings me, I’m succeeding in something we’re often too goal-oriented to achieve:
Though I may not see be seeing progress to the degree of which I had hoped, I believe this type of success isn’t dependent on how much gets done, rather, the success of inner reflection, trust, and grace along the way.