Through the years of studying different approaches to life and searching for answers, I have come across two major concepts. Even though seemingly contradictory, both of them resonated with me to a huge extent.
The first one was a goal-oriented, active approach to life. Its believers claimed that nothing worthy comes easy in life and you have to struggle and fight for your dreams.
On the other side, however, there was a concept closer to the zen philosophy, which said that we should stop struggling and fighting the reality, instead of concentrating on the future – focus on the ‘now’, stay calm and relaxed and expect everything we need to simply come our way at the right time.
Although these approaches seem like the complete opposites, I came to the conclusion that it’s possible to connect them. If it was possible for one person to resonate with both of them, why wouldn’t it be possible to implement the former and the latter in one life? Here’s what I have come up with.
It’s definitely important to have clarity in what you want to achieve in life. People who write down their goals, have been proven to be much more successful and fulfilled than those who just thought of them or those who didn’t spend the time to figure out what they wanted at all. It’s a huge flaw of the so called ‘f**k it’ philosophy – being too relaxed and accepting puts us way too close to laziness. Not challenging ourselves by introducing new goals prevents us from growing and that is against human nature. It also leaves us directionless and like leafs on the wind, we end up having our time stolen by other people’s agenda.
However, there is something we can learn from that concept as well. Once we have our goals clarified and start working towards them, it’s good to recall the zen calmness and trust. While facing challenges, our mind should be focused and calm, knowing that we will indeed succeed in whatever we are doing. We should take this confidence and trust that we can have whatever we want into every step of the journey and every action we take. We should rest reassured that the universe is on our side and will give us whatever we need on our chosen path as long as we stay alert and aware of what we actually want. While working towards our future, let’s not forget about the present moment and learn to embrace the journey, balancing the work and the simple pleasures in our daily life.
For all the curious minds interested in going deeper into both approaches, here are some book recommendations 🙂
1. The action-taker approach:
- The Motivation Manifesto
- Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!
- The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
2. The zen/f**k it approach:
Hello Good day and thank you for following my Blog.You encourage and motivate me to be more creative and consistent with my Blog and I try my best to keep posting regularly. When someone follows me I interpret that message as There are people out there who not only liked my work but also are very much willing and interested to see what I have to post next.
I hope I am able to keep you entertained.
I will gladly accept any comment and feedback from you that could help me improve my posts and make them more engaging.
I somewhat agree. Although, my trust lies in a Higher Power, I still feel the basic recipe is true; have goals and keep your eye on the prize, but trust that the journey will be what you need it to be and get you where you want to go. You said it much better. 🙂
It’s all about balance… and it seems that sometimes the harder one tries to force that, the more things tip in one direction or another. Jacques likes a balance of milk bones and chewy treats, a balance of nap time and running around like a lunatic. Thank you for following Jacques’ Dog Blog. We hope you enjoy our (mis)adventures!
I like your blog! this post reminds me of an upanishad quote: act without attachment to the fruits of your labor, and pursue only the protection of the world.
this is a lot about that exact thing. it’s great!
The middle road. The balance between both ends of the spectrum. Always a beautiful concept. What’s beautiful as well are the two ends of the spectrum in their own right. This contrast is what shapes the world we live in.
Thank you for following me, because I needed to read this blog today. It has assured me that it is ok that I didn’t get accepted for an intern this semester. I was really depressed about it earlier. Thank you for such inspiring work.
I’m really happy I could help! Don’t worry, I’m sure life has something even better for you in store 🙂 Sometimes we don’t understand why certain things happen at first but when time passes we realize that what seemed like a tragedy was in fact a blessing – enabling us to meet our true destiny.
Congrats! I have nominated your blog for a Liebster Award because I think your blog is great!
The ten questions I have for you to answer are:
What is your favourite pastime?
If you were free as a bird and money was no object, what would you be doing right now?
What thing/s make you the most happy?
What is your favourite genre of film?
What is/are your favourite food/s and drink/s?
Have you travelled? If so, what was your favourite country?
What makes you feel most proud?
If you were to be an animal, which animal would you be and why?
Can you remember your childhood? If so, what is your favourite childhood memory?
If you were to look into your future, what type of Grandma or Grandpa would you be? i.e. Young at heart, daredevil, laid back, etc
My Rules for the ten nominated blogs:
Nominate 10 blogs and tell them that they have been nominated
Each nominee must have under 200 followers
Thank the person who nominated you and link to the nominating blog
Answer my 10 questions and propose 10 new ones for your nominees
Write a post containing my questions for you
Include these rules in your post
Hi Karina! Thank you so much for the nomination, I really appreciate it, great questions too! However, I don’t think I can accept the award since I have already been nominated for it a couple of times and since then my blog surpassed the 200 followers mark. Thanks again, have a wonderful day/evening! 😉
Thanks for the follow 🙂 interesting read,
I always tend to over analyse things so going for the fuck it button/approach is a good way to practice getting out of that habit! Ultimately tho I believe if you can accept who and what you are and be happy in that, that is a big confidence boost too 🙂
I agree that it’s possible to connect the two! Take the action-taker approach to the work of pursuing your goals, but a zen approach to what the results will be. Very good post!
Much to think about here – which is great! So you can have it both ways – goal-oriented and carefree. I’ve never been able to link the two. Sometimes I’m one and sometimes the other, depending on the subject. If your goal for this blog was to make people think, congratulations it has made me think 🙂 I would love to know what you think after another 40 years experience and thoughts of life 😉
I’ve also thought about how these two approaches could be related or combined, and I ended up with this idea…
By focusing on the present (the ‘zen’/mindfulness approach) we in fact become naturally more goal oriented because we are actually more in touch with what we really want out of life. So we are in a more flexible, creative state and are thus we are better able to work towards those goals.
While thinking of zen and mindfulness I try not to think about it in a passive (‘what comes my way’) state, I feel like you can still be motivated and striving towards goals, while maintaining a focus on the present. In fact, you’ll be striving towards goals without even needing to plan what those goals are too much, you’ll just do what suits you and what you are naturally driven towards. Then as you will work and practice in a positive, focused state, you will end up completing goals without having planned (too much) or worried about them previously!
What do you think?!
Very good point! I have also noticed that being in a sort of ‘mindful’ state and at the same time following my intuition helped me reach a place in my life I would never have planned or imagined for myself 🙂
Very interesting. I agree that balance must be achieved to find true happiness. I will never be satisfied to just get by, and I know it will be a long, challenging journey to my ultimate goals. Still, I enjoy the challenge also and I feel that the goal truly is worth the effort. I’m interested to read more of your writing!
Absolutely!!! I have always lived in the future and decided that the best way to live life is to live in the moment but that it’s ok to set goals, strive for them and annihilate them! BUT to live in the moment means to live a life of gratitude for what you already have. That is important.
I see the way the zen part of the equation fits in to the “go get ’em” philosophy, is that even in working towards your goals, you have to accept and relax into unexpected things that come into your life.
Perhaps what you /think/ you need, isn’t actually what you need. You have your list, and work towards it, but something happens to put a roadblock or that changes the path altogether. Those times are where you have to get in touch with your ‘now’ and acceptance of the way things currently are.
Ask me on any day and I might give you both answers depending on the moment. But ‘fight’ is my default. Fight thru the difficulty to the good end. Thx again for the follow. Mike
“balancing the work and the simple pleasures in our daily life”