Maybe you have some goals for accomplishments you’d like to experience and enjoy. That’s great. Just be aware that you can also set goals for outcomes and experiences that you don’t even know if you’ll like.
One of my current goals is to be able to walk 80 steps at a normal walking pace while comfortably holding my breath. That’s after exhaling and with only relaxed and shallow nose-breathing beforehand, not while holding in a deep breath. I started working on this goal last week, and currently I’m up to 25 steps.
What will I gain by achieving this goal? I don’t know. I’m simply curious what might be different when I’m able to do that. Maybe there will be some interesting side effects like better focus and concentration. I can’t actually predict what difference it will make. After reading The Oxygen Advantage, I have some ideas regarding potential benefits, but I won’t really know if there are any meaningful benefits till I experience them.
I’m not pursuing this goal for known and clear benefits. I’m exploring it for curiosity’s sake. I like giving myself new experiences to see how they affect me.
Same goes for blogging every day this year. That isn’t a goal with clear and obvious benefits. I’d like to know what it’s like to blog every day for a year. Technically I started on December 24, 2019, so today is my 297th day of daily blogging. After publishing this post, I have 77 days left to go in the year. I wanted to know how this commitment would affect me, and now I have a pretty good idea. I doubt I’ll discover anything new in the next 77 days that I haven’t already learned in the last 297, but I suppose it’s possible. I’m almost 80% done now, so it’s a breeze to finish the year. Somehow I picked a good year for doing this challenge.
A goal is a decision to take action in a particular direction. There’s no requirement that you must like the outcome. There’s no requirement that you must be able to predict the results. You don’t have to be excited about the benefits. You can actually just be curious to see how pursuing the goal affects you. That is sufficient motivation to pursue and accomplish a variety of goals.
Have you ever been curious about what it would be like to start your own business? Me too. That’s one reason I did it. I wanted to know what it was like. That alone is a good enough reason to do it.
Ever been curious what it’s like to take a month off and go travel? That’s reason enough.
What about going skydiving? Why not see what it’s like to jump out of a plane? Gravity does most of the work.
Are you curious to learn a new musical instrument? Curiosity is enough reason to try it.
For many goals you won’t have a clear idea of the benefits in advance. You’re unique, so when you pursue a goal, you’ll do it differently than anyone else. Your results will be uniquely your own.
Curiosity is a great antidote for perfectionism. Curiosity is flexible and detached from neediness. Curiosity keeps us wondering about what’s possible. Curiosity encourages exploration in the face of uncertainty. Curiosity is a fabulous teacher and an incredible character-sculpting tool.
Other people (such as your parents) may want you to explain your reasons for pursuing a goal. If they won’t accept curiosity as a valid answer, tell them you’re doing it just to upset them. Or combine both – tell they you’re experimenting to see how your pursuit of the goal will disturb them.
If you’re curious about a goal or experience, let that be reason enough to explore it. You don’t have to be reckless. You can still make rational and intelligent choices regarding what to explore. But do accept that rational argument that you’ll learn more by doing than by standing on the sidelines.
Accept that your mind and your character are trained and developed by experience. Whenever you pursue a goal for curiosity’s sake, another reason you’re pursuing it is for character growth. Exploration creates expansion.
Do a quick review of your current goals. Which goals are curiosity-based rather than results-based? Would you like to consider adding at least one new goal purely because you’re curious about it? Give yourself permission to do that.
Some of my most cherished experiences arose from pondering: Hmmm… what would it do to me if I pursued that? I wonder…
(credit Steve Pavlina)