“To be driven by our appetites alone is slavery, while to obey a law that we have imposed on ourselves is freedom.” ~ Rousseau, The Social Contract
Much of what I have written about in the past has been commitment based. Commitment is what keeps us moving in the directions we desire for our lives. The intensity of that commitment defines the pace at which we maintain momentum in that direction.
Commitment alone will not assure the success we desire. We also need the clarity of our purpose and of our vision to help define the direction of our actions. It is in our clarity that the intensity of our commitment is defined and the direction of our actions is focused.
I bring this quote into the conversation to help understand the difference between desires and will. Many of us desire, or want, many things in our lives. Some of these thoughts are active, conscious and others are passive, almost subconscious. Many people often think about those things they desire or want. And, they use these desires to define their future goals, behaviors, and activities.
To be driven by our appetites alone is slavery. The reason so many people struggle with goals is that they are solely dependent upon a clearly defined outcome and a series of tightly defined actions to get there. This satisfies the appetite for an accomplishment. Unfortunately, the burden of the task of getting to the outcome drains the energy of the opportunity and the joy of the challenge. Objectifying our dreams in this manner is counterproductive to achieving the results we truly seek in our lives. As long as we seek to pursue an defined, measurable outcome as the only measure of our accomplishments, we miss out on the most important component of the challenge – the opportunity to learn from, celebrate, and enjoy the lessons from the experience along the way. In our fixation on the prize, we miss out on all the wonderful experiences in the process of getting there, to the point that we might even miss out on a more significant experience than the victory lap upon our arrival at our defined finish line.
Obeying a law we have imposed on ourselves is freedom. Think about the power that comes with taking control of some aspect of your life – better health, stronger relationships, spiritual responsibility, etc. When we define our lives by who we are and the rules we live by, we are in complete control of the outcomes and the related results. There is more freedom in celebrating our personal empowerment and responsibility than anything else we do. We do not need to win, cross the finish line, complete that acquisition, or clear that hurdle to enjoy or celebrate our lives now. We simply need to enjoy and embrace that which comes from living the commitments we have made in our life and understand why we made them.
In contrast to having a clearly defined goal, the opportunity to celebrate an accomplishment comes the day you decide the rules for your life and the inspiration driving those rules. Once you define how you will live your life, you begin to enjoy the freedom and the joy that comes with that decision. Instead of being burdened by a series of tasks associated with systematically achieving a long range goal, the person who has empowered themselves to live under a new set of guidelines immediately celebrates the changes they have instantly created in their life.
Empower yourself to create and embrace the change you desire in your life. The freedom that comes from this mindset is more powerful than any burdensome goal based, task driven challenge.