I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the clarity aspect of goal setting. There is a tricky skill involved here. Within any goal, there needs to be both an overarching goal and moment to moment goals which give feedback. This feedback and the relationship between our mind and the goal at hand is essential to optimal experience. Why does the feedback and moment to moment goals allow us to centre our minds on the task? I believe it is because it consumes all of our current mental energy. We can process an estimated 110 bytes per second, or the equivalent to about two speakers (one conversation if you count your own internal dialogue). The understanding between our moment to moment goals and the larger overall goal is essential.

In our current world, we are often not provided with moment-to-moment goals, this is contrary to our evolutionary background. For instance, we can observe the overwhelming moment to moment goals of animals, for them everything is here and now. Often times in our world, with the emphasis on big picture goals, we lose sight of the moment to moment goals. I think both are essential to optimal enjoyment and being able to absorb ourselves in the current task.

How can we make our moment to moment goals clearer? I think this comes down to deconstructing the larger goals in our lives. For instance, if someone wants to happy, they may set themselves a grandiose life goal of becoming a psychologist, but that goal is nothing without particular steps and feedback. The larger goal must be broken down. So we must figure out what the qualifications are, which schools will except us and what do they require, then fulfilling those requirements, once the requirements are fulfilled then we can work towards achieving the material in that given school. Then the ultimate goals become a matter of completing the material in front of us, but often times the material does still not include moment-to-moment feedback, the goals may be clear, such as read this or practice this, but without feedback we will not experience flow. So we then must design the material in such a way that we receive feedback. For instance, reading material may be timed per page, increasing our reading speed and comprehension is an essential skill for school and becoming a psychologist, so we know it is relevant. Finding that optimal reading speed is a great way to provide feedback and improve our skills. We may keep track of our speeds and enjoy watching our time per page decrease over time. For other material, for instance practicing some particular skill, say it’s your conversational skills, you don’t necessarily have clear feedback in any given conversation until you create a goal. You may create a goal of learning something new about or from any given person you are currently talking to, if you receive new information, you know you’ve achieved your goal for that particular conversation.

This type of deconstruction may seem irrelevant when we make a jump between becoming a psychologist and learning something new from any given person we meet, but consider the entire pathway we’ve created. In creating this map of relevance, we have successfully imposed meaning on our moment to moment goals and feedback. The more we have this clarity the more we can optimally experience life in general, living in the moment, and thriving because of it.

Soon I’ll talk more about optimal challenge! Clarity is essential, but so is the level of challenge in front of us. You are not going to stay at the same skill level forever! Thus, we have to constantly be recalibrating to find our optimal performance level.

Hustle it up!

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