How Darwin's Determinism Is Blocking You From Your Own Goals
An article about giving yourself permission to stop struggling against those goals.
Take a moment to think about the wildest goal you have for your life right now. Likely, the feeling it evokes from you is expansive, fulfilling, terrifying, and extremely distant. Often, we don’t believe we can actually have it. If we do believe that we can, it is only to be found on the other side of gut-wrenching heartbreak, intense loneliness, and steep ladder-climbing. We’re convinced there is no gentle or even enjoyable route to getting the life that we want. Collectively, we block ourselves from experiencing the completion of these far-fetched goals by committing to a twisted version of Darwinism. We believe that in order to have our core-level desires, we must suffer through layers and layers of unbearably hard times and that by Darwin’s hand, we can eventually evolve into favored circumstances. We conclude that the further we push ourselves into currents of the deep end, the better our chances are at learning to swim - and thus swim at the Olympics. And we couldn’t be more wrong.
You can’t think ‘big picture’ with a scarcity mindset.
We have goals, we have dreams, and we have ideas for our lives that feel so far-off we actually feel delusional for giving them real estate in our brain. The first step to letting yourself move toward those goals with ease is getting rid of the idea that you need to suffer greatly in order to achieve them. I’m not saying there is a workaround to committing to the sweat and effort it is going to take you. You are not going to be able to rub your genie lamp and have a whole novel appear at your fingertips. But, you also shouldn’t be struggling and crying your way through a starving-artist mentality and expecting fruition. Darwinism has no place in goal-setting.
Most of the time, the way we see ourselves receiving the thing we most desire is grossly incorrect. The end-node of the goal or payout in our mind is specific, while the process we envision of getting to that point is totally wrong. We have no way of predicting how life is going to get us where we eventually desire to be. That’s the fun of being alive. And yet, we truly think that we know what must be done and exactly how to do it - all of the time. Because of this, we commit to processes that simply do not work. We shut ourselves into a single path too early and we think that if we struggle down it hard enough, we can eventually repave the road’s destination toward our planned achievement. And that my friends, is what I would call the anatomy of a scarcity mindset.
For example, let’s say I’m committed to getting a job in an industry that has seemingly high barriers to entry. I’ve got the idea in my head that the only way to receive this job is to ‘fire-away’ at every job application I see in said industry and hope for the best. Let’s say I get 200 rejections. Instead of thinking about another approach to this end goal and letting creativity take over - I decide that this is the only way and struggle further and further into the process. In a process-focus mindset like this, you choke the amount of creativity in your path and further delay the desired outcome. What this approach is missing is the permission to play.
Find the essence of what you’re looking for first.
Before we can play with our goals, we must get clear on their essence. Consider this sampled train of thought: What would receiving this desire give you? More money. What would more money give you? The ability to travel more. What would the ability to travel more give you? A sense of discovery and serendipity in my life.
When you get as granular as you can with material desires - you receive knowledge of your ideal essence. And before we can receive whatever the material item is, we’ve got to pay just as much attention to receiving our correct essence. In this example its: A sense of discovery and serendipity in my life.
More important than making more money, which was the material outcome in this example, is the yearning for discovery and serendipity in one’s life. Start with your big-impressive goal at the essence level first. Let’s talk about this in two ways:
Waiting for your material goal to come through before practicing receiving the essence is only going to delay the said goal.
It’s hard to think this way when we’ve been trained that logic must come before our intuition and thus our desires. But, it simply isn’t true. In order to prime ourselves for the goal we want, we should already be practicing the desired essence of the outcome. This does multiple things for our brain. Not only by envisioning the end goal, but by experiencing it. For example, if I want a sense of discovery in my life I’m not going to wait for extra money to come through first so I can take that solo trip to Italy. I’m going to start practicing it now. Maybe you live in a small town and practicing the sense of discovery means finally driving two towns over to check out that new ice cream shop. Or maybe it means discovering yourself on a deeper level by browsing new neighborhoods and attending new restaurants alone (as if you were solo traveling in Italy). Maybe you can accomplish a new sense of discovery by world-building in a new video game. Either way: you’re actively practicing the essence of what you want more of from that original goal. By some laws of life, practicing the essence first always brings in more opportunities to experience it at an even larger scale. Which is where your goal usually came from, to begin with. Getting granular on your goals can help you start experiencing the payout-feeling of already achieving them. The energy you’ll exude by practicing essence beforehand will simply start to match the larger goal, making you the best candidate for them to everyone else. Just from a gut feeling.
Take care of the essence as if the material was already yours.
For example, let’s say you want a new apartment. This apartment has a backyard and a double-story townhouse feel. When you envision it, it’s clean and well-decorated. The space smells like lemons and there isn’t an ounce of dust anywhere. But once you’re done envisioning this apartment, you snap back into a reality at your current place where everything is filthy. The dishes are stacked. Odors are unidentifiable. There isn’t a piece of art on the walls because you’re already planning your exit. This is very bad for you and your goal-chasing mentality. Why? Because you’re not taking care of what you already have. If you want to attract the right opportunities and your most desired outcomes, you have to work with what you already have as if it were the dream, to begin with. When I’m cleaning my house, I need to envision it’s that new apartment. When I detail my Subaru, as if it were a fancy electric vehicle, I’m preparing my mind for how to treat my next car. When I take care of small amounts of money, I’m ready to take care of large amounts. You can’t expect good things to come your way in huge quantities if you’re not taking care of the smaller ones. This can be hard to do, but it’s so helpful in getting your essence nailed down. The more you treat what you have as if it is already what you’ve been wanting - the more of what you’ve been wanting begins to appear. Simply because you’re finally ready for it.
Allow the permission to play with your goals.
Creativity, like it or not, plays a huge part in your life. Especially, in life transitions. When we’re working towards those transformative goals, opening every door is far more important than just opening the right one. The larger the goal, the harder that is to remember.
Allowing yourself the process of play is one of the hardest things to do. You’ve been convinced that your dreams can only come to you one way. And that one way is typically the most difficult way imaginable. When you have an overhead goal, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to journal about ten-twenty different ways that it could happen. Keep the goal, as serious as it is to you, playful and light. Remember that life is supposed to be fun. This goal is no exception.
Here’s an example of where to begin on pen and paper:
Example statement: ‘I want a job in *insert industry with high barriers to entry* I don’t have much experience or education within the industry currently. Yet, I want this work more than anything. Here are a few ways I play with the process of my job search. Some ideas are fetched, some are not. But anything I can imagine happening goes here:’
Cold applying and interviewing for several positions within the industry (When we’re in a lack mindset, we stop at option one and focus all of our efforts here.)
Getting coffee with everyone I know who already has a role in this industry and asking their advice on what to do
Attending industry-level conferences and meeting new people to chat with about my goals and their experience
Freelancing my own work in this field and using it as a portfolio
Taking a part-time entry-level job in the industry I want rather than an immediate full time
Taking a class or paying for a learning experience in the area I’m seeking work
Go to the volunteer events put on by the companies I want to work at
Reaching out to an employer that rejected me months ago and asking about my candidacy gaps
Talking to my friends about my goals and learning they want to help connect me with them as much as they can
Posting my work online to find the right employer connection via the algorithm
Meeting someone on the street and striking up a conversation with them to find they have a connection that can help me! (It’s important to put even the far-fetched seemingly impossible things down. Because the world loves to throw these kinds of experiences at you when you’re open to them. But, you’ve got to be open to them)
So on, so forth.
This kind of list works for everything you might imagine. Want to publish a book? Want to own a pet cat? Let yourself play with the different ways this could naturally come to you. Taking yourself so seriously down a one-singular path is extremely disruptive and limits the breadth of opportunity at your fingertips in any area of life. Open your mind to the variety that lives inside the process of your specific end goal. There might be one single goal, but there isn’t one single way. Unfortunately, the more serious you take the goal, the harder this is to see. List a minimum of fifteen ideas about your goal process (far and near) every single week as you work toward them. They’re eventually going to look ridiculous. But, do it anyways. When you begin to expect these opportunities to come in your everyday life (not just when you’re executing Plan A) they do actually happen. And usually in the craziest of ways. The key is not to be consistent with a singular approach, but rather consistently have an open mind.
Opportunity is all around you. You just haven’t trained yourself to de-commit from the single path struggle and look for it. Remember: you can only see what your mind is open to.
Thanks for reading all. I hope this article was of some help to you and your journey. Sending love.