What we can learn from the East about Goal Setting

by Daniel Batten on April 20, 2012

Comparing Eastern and Western Wisdom, there are similarities in goal-setting, and also some
important differences. East and West are imprecise terms – but for the purpose of
saying anything at all on the subject, I’ll use them anyway.

Having looked at, taught, and experimented with each – the differences contain the key to
why in my view the Eastern approach has come up with a more complete answer to the
question “how to achieve a goal without so much effort, in a state of relaxed calm”.

The similarities
The traditional Eastern and Western approaches to achieving any
goal are agreed that you must

1. Have a clear intention (sankalpa) which you turn into a time-bound goal
2. Share it with other people. (This is because the best way to realise a dream is to wake up, and
sharing it wakes you up).
3. Once you have the goal, focus on the actions that will get you towards the goal. In the East, this
is called moving from “intention” to “attention”. This is the bit where you need to do some work.
Visualising, and intending by itself is just the first step.

The Difference
While you may read statements like “it’s not the goal that matters, but the person you become in
the realisation of that goal” in a lot of Western books on goal setting – my observation is that in the
West – it’s a statement to remind us of what we have forgotten, or something we say to console ourselves
if the goal isn’t working out and we are feeling down. In the Eastern approach – they really mean it.

The Eastern approach at it’s core – lives the principle:

– “do not attach to the fruit of your actions”
– you are not the doer of the actions anyway – it is all done through you.
–  only with a clear mind, can goals manifest very fast.

And that makes all the difference between the speed that goals materialise,
and the state-of-mind you achieve them it.

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