Read any book on self and personal development and you will read of the importance of setting targets...
Read any book on personal and spiritual development you will read of the importance of living in the now...
Are these ideas mutually exclusive?
If we look at one of the most popular exponents of 'being present', Eckhert Tolle, you will immediately recognise that his lectures on 'being in the now' are powerful and resonant. However, step back a for a moment and we realise that lecture tours and books have to be planned - and perhaps planning (or goal setting) is not a NOW thing!
The key thing, perhaps, is balance.
There are times in your life, there are decisions you make, futures you wish to create which do need to be planned. This is where target setting becomes a relevant and important skill. However this does not mean that we have to put ourselves on a constant treadmill of moving from 'target' to 'target' - life is much more than that.
There are times when it is vital to be 'in the now'.
Achieving targets does not necessarily result in leading a happier of more fulfilled life - it may do, but often achieving one target leads too the creation of another - and another .... and pretty soon we have to ask ourselves whose targets and aspirations are we really working towards?
Being present means that we can lift our heads up from the road towards success (however that is defined) and be in our lives, in the now and enjoying that moment.
Each of these approaches relate to the stories we tell ourselves about what makes us 'happy' and what 'we need'.
Whose narrative are we following?
The script prepared and written by our parents, our teachers, the society we are part of or the social group to which we aspire?
Are these stories really our own?
Of course each story defines a perspective, which defines a thought, which shapes a perception that informs a behaviour. This being the case is it not a good idea to reflect upon the stories we tell of and about ourselves?
Perhaps it is less about positive thinking but more about effective story telling.
Dr Alan Jones PhD, FRSA