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Motivation – Where we stand

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Today’s quote comes from Johann Wolfgan Von Goethe who said “The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

Well I don’t know about any of you, but I certainly would like to be moving in a forwardly direction!

On a personal level though, I think that we as individuals don’t take enough time and trouble to stop – turn around and see just how far we have come.  I mean think about it for a moment, how on earth would be know if it is the greatest thing in the world or not, if we don’t even acknowledge that we are moving forward and not sideways or backwards, although I am sure we are very conscious of that fact when it occurs!

For me it is not just ‘moving’ forward and achieving that is important, but also acknowledging to myself that I am moving forward and that I am in fact achieving – otherwise what would be the point?

I know that I am certainly very guilty of this oversight.  Once a year though, on New Years eve in fact, (I don’t celebrate New Year, in the traditional sense – but that is another story for another time), I discourage visitors and switch the phone off, light the fire – a huge big fire, open up a bottle of particularly good red wine and have a braai (or barbeque for those who are not “African”) for one.

Now I know that that may sound frightfully morbid or sad, but for me it is extremely self satisfying.  You see, it is the time of the year that I take out the goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, I ‘tick off’ and acknowledge each one of the goals I have achieved that were on the list, and add all the goals that were not on the list but that I have achieved anyway –  and the ones that I haven’t – well they couldn’t have been that important anyway (and if they were – then  I add them onto the new list).

I think that we as individuals are so busy chasing after the goals that we have set and beating ourselves up about the ones that we did not achieve, that we forget about the ones that were not on the list, but that we have achieved anyway.  Situations change, perceptions change, new opportunities present themselves and yet we somehow feel the need to rigidly stick to something that was written down on paper.  Why?  My answer to that is this, once I have ticked off all that I have achieved, added all the ones that weren’t there – I drink a toast (well several actually) to myself, pat myself on the back and burn the list with the goals on it!  Why you may ask?  Well it’s quite simple, I don’t want a constant reminder of what I did not get to,  glaring at me all the time, so I erase it!

Then I make a new list for the new year – a clean slate with new exciting visions and attainable goals – well attainable as I write them down on New Years eve.  But hey, guess what?  Situations change, perceptions change and new opportunities present themselves, so nothing that I write down on my piece of paper is carved in stone and it’s not the end of the world if I don’t achieve them because, well, next New Year’s eve, they too will be celebrated and then burnt.

Do I ever have any regrets?  Sure I do – one of them is that I only perform this ritual once a year.  It doesn’t seem like it is often enough.  Perhaps I will put it on my list this year, that I will perform this ritual twice a year!  Yip, that’s what I will do and if I manage to achieve that, then I will drink a toast (or maybe several) and if I don’t – well, it’s not the end of the world – you see, I will have achieved other goals, I will have acknowledged that I am moving forward in the right direction, I will have recognized and done something with the new opportunities that presented themselves and I will have celebrated all of that.