Why am I here? Where am I heading? What am I to do?
Our sense of purpose is further shaped by the culture of our social group as we grow older. People with different cultural identities have varying sense of purpose, and these may be reassessed, over time, according to our experience.
Society is driven by purpose and it dictates the purpose to the individual in order to maintain social cohesion. When trust in society begins to erode, individuals begin to question their purpose.
Our goals are a reflection of our sense of purpose, and consciously moving toward a goal reinforces this purpose. A human with a goal feels that they have a purpose, a reason for being.
Let’s consider how we go about choosing a goal. A goal is a future outcome, created in the present, based on past experience. The objective is decided on, through an assessment made, based on reflection.
We decide to bring this knowledge into our experience, because we have a desire to know. It’s important to understand the difference between ‘knowledge’ and ‘knowing’. Our knowledge is a second hand account, information we’ve gathered from various sources, while knowing comes from experience.
Goals arise from discontent. We make a decision to move toward a goal because we’re unsettled in our present state.
Setting a goal and moving toward it means that our vision must be future oriented. We necessarily have to remain unsatisfied with the present moment in order to maintain the desire to move toward a goal. This becomes habitual over time.
Those of us who set goals are familiar with the feeling of achieving an objective and remaining unsatisfied. We’ve developed a habit pattern of being destination driven. When the destination is achieved, the habit pattern remains, and so does the feeling of being unsatisfied.
This might appear to be an unorthodox view of goals and goal setting, especially for a Performance Coach. Why not continue down the path of setting goals guided by SMART criteria?
An individual who sets goals tends to calculate their self-worth by their progress toward, or achievement of, the objective. If the objective isn’t achieved within the expected time frame, or not achieved at all, this has a negative impact on self-esteem and sense of purpose. Evaluating our self by these criteria is also detrimental to maintaining momentum, which in turn has a negative impact on achieving the goal.
The answer may be to reconsider our sense of purpose, and shift our mindset from one which is goal defined, to one which is direction driven. Choosing a direction for our life instead of fixating on a destination, and being open to course correction when necessary. Moving in a chosen direction is completely within our control, in every moment of our experience.
This autonomy of purpose has a positive impact on self-esteem, and translates to increased momentum. We remain present and conscious of our direction, and appreciate the experience as it unfolds. We can also change direction at any moment depending on what feels right, and are no longer bound to an objective created in the past.
The real excitement is in the experience of moving in your chosen direction. Encountering unexpected challenges and responding to them. A fulfilling life is one in which you are following the direction you've chosen, and at any moment you are open to changing direction, as it suits you. There is no thought of success or failure because at any moment you are going in your chosen direction.
Judging your self by your achievements is counter productive to your growth and personal development. There will always be something more to achieve, and so you remain on the wheel and unsettled.
Choose direction over destination. This is a concept which works for anyone, irrespective of cultural background, socio-economic class or identity. The objectives society had humanity working toward, in order to maintain social cohesion, are fast becoming irrelevant. People are increasingly reconsidering their sense of purpose as we move into an exciting and uncertain future. Maintain your momentum by confidently following your direction, and be less fixated on a goal.
Benjamin Franklin is attributed with the saying ‘ If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’. An adage that carries weight, for good reason. Benjamin was an American polymath, founding father of the United States, and a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of Physics.
Let’s start by considering relationship.
In order to know, we have to experience. In order to experience, there has to be two. A subject and an object of experience.
To relate means to make, or show, a connection between things. When there’s more than one, a relationship exists between entities. When there’s only one, there can be no relationship. So one needs to be divided, in order for relationship to occur. We are only able to understand our connection, by experience, when we are divided.
Trust exists between all things, in order for existence to unfold. Before an interaction can occur, irrespective of the objective, there has to be a degree of trust. This holds true whether we consider a relationship between a child and it’s mother, between partners, or between a flower and the stem from which it blooms.
Trust in existence is rooted in a deep trust in our self. The quality of our Life is influenced by the quality of our relationships. Trust is the primary quality of relationship, so a fundamental trust in our self is at the core of a harmonious experience.
When we select a goal to move toward, we form a relationship, a bond, with the outcome. The primary bond between the individual and the outcome must be a relationship of trust, in order for the goal to be achieved.
Working toward a goal requires a process, and there must be trust in the process, for it to be effective. When we seek out a performance coach or trainer, to assist in achieving the objective, there has to be a bond of trust between the teacher and the student for the empowerment process to be of any value.
Doubt may arise when the goal appears to be hard to achieve, and trust in the self may diminish with perceived failure. Remember that there is in fact a relationship between achievement and trusting your self, but it’s exactly the opposite. Objectives are achieved when we begin to trust our self and trust our direction.
Trust interprets all outcomes as part of a necessary process of development, that will eventually lead to the most beneficial outcome, for our self and for the whole. This holistic point of view forms a bond between our personal development and the whole.
You are the source of your ambition and you are the goal. The source is the ultimate goal. So all goals are leading us to an understanding of our self.
Trust is from the Heart.
Life as we know it is characterised by Movement. This is the basic condition. On some level, everything that’s alive displays movement, is animated. The word ‘Animation’ is derived from a latin root ‘Anima’ meaning ‘Breath’ or ‘Soul’. Anima, the soul, the breath, is what seperates life from the lifeless.
Beyond Fitness takes a deeper look at movement, and the shift toward 'Movement Culture’, through the wider lens of Personal Development. We go beyond movement as it relates to Fitness Science, and consider why we move? and why we choose to move in a particular way?
Understanding why we do what we do is the first step toward developing excellence in what we do.
Movement brings about change over time. Change occurs as a result of movement, whether it’s brought about through conscious action or happens unconsciously. We move to alter our state of being. This applies to involuntary movement like the beating of a heart, digestion of food, or adaptation at a cellular level. It’s also applicable to moving toward a pre-determined goal or destination. In each case, movement is the facilitator of change.
Life is movement and movement brings about change over time. The change could be an improvement to our physique for health or performance reasons, it could be to elevate our lifestyle, it could be self improvement through study, or it could be moving toward self realization. All forms of Personal Development require an effort, movement, by the individual to bring about change over time.
The way in which we choose to move is an expression of our individuality. Running or reading, walking or talking, singing or scrolling; our choice of movement, at any given moment, is a superficial reflection of who we are. We may aspire to become or achieve, but before we can successfully accomplish the goal we must make an accurate and honest assessment of who we are.
The way in which we naturally move is a clue to self-discovery.
Different animals move in accord with their nature, and humans naturally move in harmony with their individuality. Observing a human being, who isn’t aware they're being observed, will give you insight into their individuality. Observe the movement of a human who knows they’re being watched, and you'll see their personality on display.
Consider the spiritual freedom of breakdancing, or the formal precision of a marching army. These are polar opposite human responses, through movement, to the world in which we live.
We each have a natural inclination toward certain activities, particluar movement patterns, and we usually move in line with this. Some of us love to dance, others feel more at home swimming in water, while some would prefer to climb a mountain or travel. Choosing a form of movement, or a goal to move toward, comes out of self-discovery.
A tree in the wind, clouds in the sky, the ebb and flow of the tide, all living things remain in motion, and in doing so bring stability to the whole. Understanding movement from this holistic perspective, we're able to engage in what we do more purposefully.
This appiles when we're moving toward a goal, or when we're engaged in a form of movement for exercise. Our bodies adapt to physical exercise during a period of rest, and similarly the goal is achieved when we open ourselves to receiving it. Rest restores equilibrium and ensures that the necessary progressive adaptations are made.
Now that we’ve had a look at the root of movement, and why we move in the way we do, we can better understand the innovation toward Movement Culture.
The rise in ‘Movement Culture’ can be viewed as a form of response to the societal imbalance we're experiencing. More people are finding, and sharing, natural ways to move and develop the human body and enhance their experience.
We have chosen to participate in activities that ‘move’ us in one way or another, as an affirmation of life and our collective experience. We also do so in response to the life negation we see around us.