Goal-free living

At the WorldBlu forum I had the pleasure of talking to Stephen Shapiro who just finished writing a book on goal-free living which is coming out in january 2006.

As soon as Stephen mentioned “goal-free living” a flash-bulb went of in my mind, and I knew what he meant. I also knew that this is what I’ve been doing for the last 3 years, I just haven’t had a name for it. Here’s how Stephen introduces goal-free living:

We are taught from a young age that in order to achieve great success we must set and achieve our goals. However in doing so, we become focused on where we are going rather than enjoying where we are right now. We sacrifice today in the hope that a better future will emerge, only to discover that achievement rarely leads to true joy. Goal-Free Living presents an alternative philosophy – that we can have an extraordinary life now, all without goals and detailed plans. By living for each moment, it?s possible to have a successful life and follow your passions at the same time.

YES! 3 years ago I left the IT business with no new plans in mind. I gave my self some time off, and never once though consciously about what I should do next. After about 3 months an inspiration came to me, and The Happy at Work Project grew out of that. Also, for the 3 years we’ve been running the project, we’ve been goal-free. Rather than setting strategies, plans, targets, measures and budgets, we’ve done our best to cultivate every opportunity that came along and to create some ourselves. So while Stephen’s book focuses on the personal sphere, I’m here to tell you that it works just as well in a business setting!

His book gives you 8 major tips on how to live goal-free:

– Use a compass, not a map
– Trust that you are never lost
– Remember that opportunity knocks often, but sometimes softly
– Want what you have
– Seek out adventure
– Become a people magnet
– Embrace your limits
– Remain detached

That is quite simply brilliant thinking. Read more about goal-free living here.

One of the high points of the forum was when Stephen took the stage and gave a goal-free presentation about goal-free living. He’d originally intended to talk about a different theme, and had nothing prepared on goal-free living, but a few other conference attendees dared him to do it. Needless to say he nailed it, and the goal-less nature of his presentation underscored and validated the message.

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