I woke up this morning in my hotel room in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with a heart bursting with gratitude. So much gratitude that my eyes were filling up with tears. And right behind the gratitude was a question. A searing question that burned into me. So now let me tell you my story and let me ask you my question. The question first...
What lies on the other side of goals?
Believe it or not, this is a question that no one ever asked me, ever -- much less answered. And this is going to turn out to be the most important question of your life.
I promise you.
When I was a young man it seemed to me that everyone and his brother was taking pains to point out to me "the importance of goal-setting." I came of age in the days before hand held personal computers and Blackberrys and all that. The Big Thing when I was an Up And Comer was the Franklin Planner. They were all the rage, and you could tell the Serious Ones Intent On Success from the Flakes and the Going Nowhere's by who walked around lugging a big fat leather-bound tabbed book and who did not.
The Franklin Planner had tabbed sections for everything: Today's Appointments; Current Projects; To Do List; Short Term Objectives; Long Term Goals; Memos; Contacts. Strategies. A flick of the wrist and you could tab to any thought you had ever recorded on any subject, or put your fingered on any data that you could ever need to get through any moment -- and, indeed, if you used the Planner correctly, your entire life.
The Planner was your entire life, and if you accidentally left it somewhere -- like, God forbid, on a bus or the subway or someplace where you could not immediately go back and get it -- you were in Full Disaster Mode. "Ohmigod!", one could hear people exclaim. "My whole life is in there!"
Over and over again in those ancient times (I'm talking about the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties. You know, last century...) people Older and Wiser than I were telling me that I must set goals. I must set goals. Without goals I was going nowere. Without goals I was simply floating down a river on an inner tube, headed wherever the current was taking me. I needed to get it. It was all about
Goals and Objectives
And it was all about Setting Intentions
The sooner I understood that, the sooner I could set off on my Life Journey. Until I understood that, I would find myself going around in circles, getting nowhere.
Now, as an older man, I want to tell you that I think this was good advice. As far as it went. I mean, I think that it is important to have a clear idea about the things you want in life, and some well thought out, step-by-step plans about how to get them. And I think that Intention Setting is a major tool...a major tool...in the creation of your own reality.
So whether you have your check-off lists and contacts and daily appointments in MSOutlook or on a Blackberry or in your cell phone, I think it's good to have a personal organizer of some kind, and to have a set of long term goals and objectives as well.
But, as an older man, I want to also tell you that you are going to be missing something very big, something huge, if you do not ask -- and answer -- what I now consider to be a Key Question in Life:
What is on the other side of Goals?
Or, to put this perhaps somewhat more directly: What do I do when I "get there"?
You see, I'm 66 -- an "older man" for sure, but still relatively young by most contemporary measures, still in my active years, still very much on the playing field. They haven't carted me off to the Old Folks Home yet. And I've got a problem. I've already met all of my goals. So now what -- ?
If my life wish was to be loved by a wonderful woman and have wonderful children and grandchildren...well, okay, I'm lucky enough to have had that happen.
If my life wish was to be a home owner... I'm lucky enough to have had that happen.
If my life wish was to be on radio or television... I'm lucky enough to have had that happen.
If my life wish was to be a newspaperman --- a reporter, then maybe a managing editor... I'm lucky enough to have had that happen.
If my life wish was to be in the movies...been there, done that.
If my life wish was to be on the stage...been there, done that.
If my life wish was to be a best-selling author...been there, done that.
If my life wish was to be a professional photographer...been there, done that.
If my life wish was to be deeply involved in politics...been there, done that.
If my life wish was to be a musician...been there, done that.
If my life wish was to be a world traveler...been there, done that.
...I just don't know what else anyone could ever hope for or ask for.
Gosh! A person could wish for any ONE of these things and, if he got it, feel fulfilled...
I even got to live my dream and become a radio sportscaster, doing live baseball and football games -- high school and minor league, but still, sportscasting! Man, oh, man!
...and...if my life wish was to be a Messenger of God...I have been blessed to have been able to do that, too.
I am sooooo blessed. So incredibly, astonishingly blessed. I have achieved all of my goals. I have lived all of my dreams. I have accomplished everything I set out to accomplish and experienced everything I wanted to experience in life!
If you look back on your own life, you, too, will be able to come up with a loooong list of things for which you are deeply grateful. (In fact, that may not be a bad idea. What a wonderful little mental exercise for today! Why not do it?)
But then what?
Let that be the question for the day. What's on the "other side" of goals? Is it more of the same, just bigger and better? Naw. There must be something else.
And there is.
Yet until we ask that question...and give ourselves the answer....and LIVE that answer...all that we have experienced and all that we have achieved will mean nothing.
© 2019 ReCreation Foundation - http://www.cwg.org - Neale Donald Walsch is a modern day spiritual messenger whose words continue to touch the world in profound ways. His With God series of books has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.