I had the privilege to hear Brian Johnson speak last week, the author of PhilosophersNotes.com where all the classic personal development and philosophy books are summarized in writing and in audio for easy digestion.
Brian shared the distinction between having creative production goals and outcome goals. He said one of the main reasons people experience disappointment, anger and frustration in their lives is that they set up outcome goals based in the future with no idea what joys or pitfalls tomorrow will bring.
Additionally, if you focus solely on what you might receive once you get the great job, retire from the crappy job, publish the book, find the right spouse, or buy the cool car or big house, you are living in a world that doesn’t exist while you sacrifice the real, tangible and juicy moments that are real.
I found this focus a particularly useful distinction for the high-achievers I work with because they, and I, often get so lost in tasks we must complete to achieve some future goal that we lose days, weeks and years of the joy we might feel creating in the moment. Then we don’t celebrate our achievements because we are quickly on to the next task to check off the list.
Your creative production goals are what you want to complete right now. Brian says that when you engage in doing good work and then move on to do more good work, you will naturally lift your spirits by paying attention to your spirit. This gives you a chance to be more intentional about what you choose to work on in the moment, choosing work you enjoy doing instead of sacrificing for some unknown future you have no control over.
This does not mean you can’t have big dreams of outcome goals. Your bigger, future possibilities should be the guiding star for making your choices in the moment. You may not ever achieve your big goals; something else could happen which may be good too. But your big goals provide a distinct path to follow as you enjoy your journey. Then be prepared to easily shift your big goals when other possibilities arise or you have to move in a different direction.
Therefore, always be asking yourself, “For what purpose am I choosing my current activity?” Can you honestly claim these statements:
1) I know that what I am doing right now will help move me to my higher aspiration and
2) I enjoy completing this activity.
Brian told us that Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Happier, says we can live in four states. If we have only an outcome-based, future goal-focus, we are a Rat Racer. But if we only live in the now with no goals, we are a Hedonist. If we live aimlessly in the now with no future goals, we are a personally destructive Annihalist. But if we spend most of our focus on the creative production goals we can manifest in the moment knowing they will help us create a future that will be good, we are Happier.
Brian did say that discipline is the path to “Blissipline” meaning that in order to do our best work in accomplishing our creative production goals we should also find ways to enjoy staying healthy and practice these rituals daily. He has found good food he enjoys and daily rituals he practices before reading his email and other mindless tasks that trap his brain in ruts. He said that we need clear, healthy minds to create the work that we are most happy with.
With this is mind….
• What great things will you accomplish today?
• What creative production goal will you choose right now?
• If your goal was not “what will I do?” but instead, “who will I be right now?” what would change?
Please share your goals and your thoughts here.