We are what we repeatedly do. — Aristotle
One of the skills that many of us can improve is our ability to make good decisions in spite of tempting short-term distractions. I’m probably just as guilty as the next person when it comes to being easily distracted, so I wanted to share with you a perspective that has helped me greatly ignore distractions and focus.
When it comes to decision making, most of us know the better decision, but we don’t necessarily do the better decision. This inconsistency comes from a lack of a challenging long-term goal that can give purpose and direction to our short-term goals. Without a challenging long-term goal, many of us end up living a mediocre complacent life consisting of unrelated short-term goals with no real direction. Buying a house, entering a serious relationship, having children, owning a business; other people are doing it and they seem happy, so we should too right?
We sometimes compare our decisions with others to see who is happier, but most people are just as clueless as we might be. Continuing to chase happiness in the dark and leaving things to chance will disallow us from achieving a deep level of satisfaction that comes from building something with purpose. Internalizing this truth is an important step towards truly understanding ourselves. If we know better, we should do better for the long-term goal. Many of us may have learned to focus on short-term thinking for a variety of different reasons. Learned habits from childhood, the illusion and seduction of temporary benefits (both material and pleasure), underestimating small harmful actions as being insignificant. Regardless of the reason, thoughts don’t have power unless they are manifested into the physical world through action. The smallest good action will have more gravity than the most evil thought and vice-versa. Our long-term goal should be coupled with massive actions completed through our short-term goals.
For good ideas to have the greatest positive effect in our lives, we must combine great thoughts with great action. We need to do as much as possible to cultivate and improve ourselves.The more we enrich ourselves spiritually, physically and intellectually, our words and actions will create an equally enriching life. Our actions are a testament to the way we think. As Aristotle once observed: we are what we repeatedly do.
The more we learn about others, the more we learn about ourselves. As Bruce Lee once said: “All knowledge is self-knowledge.” A good example of people achieving difficult long-term goals are artists and musicians who’ve successfully translated their abstract spirit into tangible art. We venerate these creative geniuses for giving shape to the abstract (seemingly) effortlessly, after many years of unseen practice. Leonardo da Vinci spent years observing cadavers just to figure out how muscle fibers, tendons and bones connect to one another. Frida Kahlo turned tragedy into deep self-exploration when she fell ill and spent many months confined to her bed.
Our physical world is shaped and transformed by our actions, so it’s especially important to make better decisions towards a specific long-term goal. Our job as a creative human species is to turn the abstract into the tangible–feelings into words, emotions into paintings, intensity into music–to achieve a level of unparalleled satisfaction. We are the artists and creators of our own life and the happiness within it. The words we speak and decisions we make can have consequences that will last much longer than our own short time on this planet. If we choose to live a happy life, that happiness will spread into the lives of those around us, seeping into the upcoming generations. Creating a positive, memorable and happy life is arduous work, and a privilege reserved for those of us willing to endure hard work and grow. Set your eyes on the big prize, and let everyone else fall for the shiny objects on the road. We have work to do.
This article was originally posted on Medium.
“Why Long-Term Goals Lead To Deeper Fulfillment” by Jay-Ram Rajendra https://link.medium.com/fnDR0dpSNU