In his fab book, Happier, the good Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar articulates four different "archetypes" that provide a useful model to help us conceptualize (and address) the problem:
The Rat Racer: The typical Western mode of being. Always chasing goals we’re told matter, never really happy because we’re Never. Quite. There.
The Hedonist: The typical "spiritual" way of being. Misreading Tolle and the Gita, thinking it’s ALL about *just* being in the moment. (It’s not.)
The Nihilist: Bounces back and forth between those two then flips everyone (and everything) off and becomes the cynic (aka, a disillusioned idealist).
The Happy Person: Realizes life is all about having goals that inspire us AND loving this moment as we take baby steps in the direction of our ideals.
It’s easy to bounce around all four ways of being, but let’s not kid ourselves that we’re either happy or spiritual as we pretend to "get it" and just love love love the power of now.
Fact is, even Tolle appreciates the importance of goals and provides some great advice on the subject—telling us goals are important but that we want to make sure we don’t let what he calls "clock time" slip into "psychological time."
Healthy human beings use clock time to set goals and organize their tasks accordingly.
Unhealthy human beings slip into psychological time as they waste energy getting anxious about the outcomes of future events or they get their panties/undies in a bunch with guilt/shame about past events. OR, they lose their vitality and overall life mojo as they fall into The Tolle Trap of trying to avoid goals altogether. (Or... they do all three. ;)
How about you? Where are you hanging out?
How can you more consistently play in the happiness zone? Do you need more truly inspiring goals? More presence?
Let’s set some authentic goals that inspire us, love where we’re at and have fun taking the next step in the direction of our dreams!