Recently there’ve been a lot of fashionable blog posts on how goal setting if suddenly bad, or at the very least, ineffective, and can actually depress you, etc, etc, and so forth.
Obviously, this is a case of different strokes for different folks, and so when shit gets trumpeted as truth for a while, there’s an inevitable backlash once enough people figure out that the latest panacea doesn’t really match how they think of work. But what I was most interested was the focus on “happy”. I know we’ve talked about this before, guys, but I am really getting interested in this.
My first thought was, why is happiness the point of goal-setting? Did you ever stop to think about this? I’m a goal-setter from way back, but I can totally see why goal-setting would make you unhappy; constant improvement does seem to imply a basic dissatisfaction with the status quo. Similar to how positive thinking is actually damaging to persons with low self-esteem, I can see how goal-setting would really set you off if you saw too many things wrong in your world.
Which brings us back to the point of goal-setting. Happiness. I’m a basically happy person, and as far as I know, it has nothing to do with my circumstances. My relationship with goal setting has nothing to do with improving my baseline happiness; it’s simply a way of challenging myself. I think it’s fun. It doesn’t imply that I don’t measure up in some way. But without the challenge of goal-setting to amuse me, to give me direction and purpose, I’m just plain bored.
What about people who aren’t naturally happy? Who supports those people? Who tells them they’re ok just the way they are? I find this situation tragic. I find happiness a seriously overrated project to undertake. I know, I know, who am I to talk? I’m never not happy.
But seriously; we no longer (well, we shouldn’t) beat introverts about the head for not being extroverts. Why should naturally morose or saturnine people be expected to be happy-go-lucky or else? Why should we shove it in their faces all the time, tell them it’s what they want, what they need? That’s cruelty.
I’m not arguing against happiness, if that even needs to be said. I’m arguing against imposing impossible, possibly undesirable, model after which to stucture their lives. WHO THE HELL ARE WE?
And what would we do if happiness wasn’t the point? I’m asking. Please, share your thoughts.