Monday, April 12, 2010

Not all goal-oriented stories are about soccer, hockey, or basketball

When there is something you want, some goal you wish to achieve, some platform you think to attain, the usual action is to plan a strategy which, if effective, will bring your goal to hand or reveal some missing steps or considerations necessary for another try.

So far, so good. You are aware of It, the Thing, of wanting it in your life, indeed as a part of your life. At this point, the language becomes burdened with signs of your agenda. You are as aware of wanting It as Macbeth might be, wanting to up his social standing. You are effectively aware of scheming to bring It within range. Congratulations! You are now a mere step or two from taking action. If you have planned with care, schemed, as it were, you can see into the future where you understand the risks and that you may fail as well as you might succeed. Now you are at the point of no return where, depending on the goal you wish and the necessary efforts, you see either success or failure. It is either go or no-go and the willingness to persist until some outcome is reached, at which point you learn to live with--accommodate--the consequences of having gained or lost.

No real surprises here; this is more or less the standard approach to pursuing a goal, whether the goal is asking X to go out with you (as a step toward effecting a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship) of making a career decision. A number of outside elements appear when the It, the something or someone you want will skateboard over lines drawn in the sands of your own conscience, the contemporary canon of moral and social standards, your own appraisal of the risks and consequences involved.

A basic play of human behavior attends the decisions you might make as the goal of the It originates in what some psychologists might call the id; let us here call it the Inner Child. Make no mistake from the nomenclature, the Inner Child can also want things of a sexual nature, complex or, if you will, simplistic enough to transcend social lines, as in the TNW syndrome, better known as Thy Neighbor's Wife.

Having allowed yourself the awareness of the signals sent forth by your id or Inner Child and spent some brief or protracted moments assessing the goals and consequences, you are likely to nod knowingly at yourself before doing what those athletic young men on aircraft carriers do when a plane is coming in for a landing and their angle of approach or ground speed or some other factor is amiss; they wave the plane off.

The matter of having wanted does not necessarily end with the wave-off; it has attached itself to you and influences your behavior in multifarious ways, not the least of which is the score you keep on the things you have wanted and for some reason or another can't have. There was a suit offered on sale in the latest Paul Stewart catalog, and yet another in the Ben Silver catalog. Elegant in their simplicity and comfortable drape, they struck you immediately with a pang of regret for not having, even though the last time you wore a suit was in July of 2008, even though there are two suits already hanging unworn in your wardrobe and when, oh when would you wear yet others? Do you go forth to rue the lack of occasions in your life where it would be appropriate to wear suits? Do you stubbornly wear suits at inappropriate times? Do you tell yourself that should an occasion for wearing a suit arise, you would already be prepared? Do you rather tell yourself, okay, time to move along to something of more consequence inasmuch as life is measurable by other things and standards.

This is the long way around the block of the goals and achievements made during a chunk of one's lifetime and the absolute likelihood of the greater number of disappointments, the need to hone and nourish the two or three things you set your heart and mind upon, then pursue with purpose and enthusiasm and, if possible, even a smile. It is about the way it is virtually impossible to walk about with neutrality or lack of interest but at the same time to see one's self as a person who samples the opportunities of life rather than one who sees losses and missed opportunities as a consequence of being a victim.

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