Goalless living?


by Mark Forster.

One of the questions I have been asking myself recently is “What happens if we deliberately live without any goals?”

All the books I’ve written in the past and just about every other self-help book assumes that goals are essential to success. But is this true?

We tend to think that living without goals would result in lying on a couch in front of the tv all day with a six-pack of beer (or whatever your own particular form of goofing off is!) But I suspect that this is actually the result of negative goals, rather than no goals at all. A negative goal would be something like “I don’t want to do the housework”, “I don’t want to write that report”, or “I don’t want to do any work”.

The reason I have been asking that question is that I am conscious that many major positive changes in my life have come about without my having formed any definite goals about the changes. It’s been far more a case of acting on opportunity out of a deeper feeling that I am taking the right action for me. I’ve written before about how it’s sometimes only possible to see what is important to you by looking back to see where your past actions have been leading you.

So if you genuinely live without goals, positive or negative, what are you going to be doing? I think a fair amount of the time you would be doing the things which you enjoy doing, simply because you enjoy doing them.

If you enjoy doing something, you are far more likely to do it well in my experience.

I’m not quite sure where this is leading me, but I am sure it will be interesting to find out!


Mark Forster is the author of three books about time management and personal organisation. The most recent, Do It Tomorrow, was published by Hodder in 2006.

© Copyright Mark Forster 2012. All rights reserved.

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