My children teach me things in many different ways. Last week, I learnt about always having the bigger picture and goal before my eyes rather than busyness and details.
I asked my son what his GCSE results were before we went off on holiday. He said that he did not care too much about the GCSE results because the result he wanted was already there. He had got admission into the Sixth form college of his choice and so he wasn’t worried. I had to be content with his thinking and marvelled at how he always kept the goal before the details. During our holiday, we learnt that my son had achieved great results- almost all were A* and rest were all As.
This led me to think about how we can get carried away by details so much that goals just vanish, like the forest in the trees. I also looked at how my son studied- he didn’t seem to be doing very much but what he was doing was working holistically. So everyday he could study a bit of all his exam subjects, not one subject a day. As a result of this wisdom from my son, I decided the following steps to goal setting-
- Decide your goal
- Work out the steps need to achieve it- these steps need not be equal, all they need to be are different steps to achieve your goal
- While working on the steps, always check it with the goal to see if they still match or in case, your goal has changed.
- Very important– work each day on all the steps, i.e as if they were working holistically.
- Don’t worry if all the steps are not completed in the final process, as long as the goal is reached.
- And don’t worry anyway about the details as long as the goal is reached!
So if you are writing a book, work on all the book chapters each day. The chapters will change but the title of your book won’t so you can chop and change the chapters, working together, to achieve that aim.
I have been quite ill recently- seems like I have spent most of my days and weeks in hospital and it seems like there is more to come. I felt quite despondent about this and following my heart seemed to be about having enough rest to get some strength to get back to more hospitals. Is this what a creative life is about, I wondered- Just trying to have just enough energy to do my daily chores? I looked at some of my colleagues and thought how wonderful it would if I had their good health, then only I could so much more. Then it came to me. I did not have to compare myself to others. If my day could be even one bit better than the previous day, I had succeeded. Life was about baby steps. The creative life is about taking baby steps towards your goals every day. Yes, every day has been a struggle but if in the morning, I could determine that one that day i could feel even one bit better and do one creative thing (whether that was in the kitchen or anywhere else), then I had won! As Daisaku Ikeda says,”It is not how you compare to others that is important, but rather how you compare to who you were yesterday. If you’ve advanced even one step, then you’ve achieved something great.”
I came across an inspirational video about Jadav Payeng. Singlehandedly, he has created a forest out of barren land with no money or help. He has been working since 1979, with no social media or press congratulating him on his achievements until recently when he was ‘found’ by chance. By planting one seed or sapling daily, he has created a forest bigger than Central Park in New York- a park which will prevent erosion and save wildlife. Learning to take baby steps towards our goals without external validation is the most important thing we can do each day.