task list
Our western society is very task-oriented. This was ‘the new world’; our ancestors came here pursuing change;  to start a new life that was different and hopefully better than the one they had left behind. We are by nature, a forward looking people. We anticipate the next new development, next season,  next scientific advancement. We teach our children to move forward, to strive, to achieve. All these things are important and necessary goals, but the flip side of all this drive towards progress, is that sometimes, we are so focused on moving forward, we totally miss the joys of where we are presently. We’re like the child who doesn’t stop to enjoy one birthday gift, before he is opening the next! The child misses the joy, the importance of each special gift, because he’s dashed on to the next . We struggle to feel satisfied and at peace; to feel complete, because we are always pressing forward –/chasing/worrying about/planning-scheming our next move, toward the illusive goal.

We never notice how far we’ve come, let alone enjoy the experience.

I was recently speaking with a client who has always been a ‘task-oriented’ person. This has served them well in many ways and they have achieved success in their profession. But they now feel empty and a little lost, because the pursuit of the next achievement, is becoming unsatisfying. They are finding, that climbing the corporate ladder/getting to a higher pay grade is no longer satisfying or even important. If that’s the case,  what is there to strive for? Where do we find our direction, purpose and motivation? If you are a task-oriented personality type, you don’t need to change that, but try looking at how you define your task. What if we decided that the task was not the accepted outcome or goal, but rather the journey to that goal? What if we chose to focus, not on pushing ahead to achieve that stated goal, but rather on this and each moment of the journey toward the goal? What could we experience and learn in this moment that we might otherwise have raced right by, and how might that change the direction of our journey? I suggest this, because we are all pushing/racing toward/pursuing the future goal, to the point that we are missing the joy and growth and contentment of the present moment. We may or may not be able to achieve all the goals we have set for ourselves, but we can celebrate and be proud of the moments we have created and experienced along the way.  Don’t miss these little moments that enrich life – the touch of a hand, the trust of a child, finding the next puzzle piece. When our child takes a first step, we celebrate – we don’t bemoan that there are thousands more to be taken and push them forward. If we do, they are sure to fall. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment, by only recognizing the outcome as achievement. Strangely enough, if we practise being present in this moment instead of worrying about getting to the future goal, we will in fact, strengthen, support and speed our journey toward that goal.  And we will enjoy the journey instead of always struggling  toward an outcome that may in the end, not be fulfilling.