Recently, I revised my manifestation list, which is basically a list of goals I want to achieve within the next few months to the next decade. But for some reason, my goals didn't excite me. They felt shallow, and I didn't know why.
The answer I received was that as soon as I check these accomplishments off a list, I would just be making new goals, a Sisyphean task of never being satisfied.
It sounded a little exhausting, and I'm wary of burnout. I knew I had to rethink my goals. I went to sleep asking myself, what do I really want out of life?
This is the manifestation process I’ve used with success. It’s a thorough process and not always easy, but it works for me.
Means Goals vs. End Goals
The next morning, I had the thought to revisit The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lahkiani, a book I'd read earlier this year. Vishen is the founder of MindValley, and his book provided many fresh perspectives on personal growth.
I skipped to Chapter 8: Creating a Vision for Your Future, where Vishen explains why he gave up on setting goals a long time ago. He used to pursue goals he thought would make him happy, such as getting into a top school, graduating with high grades, and working at a respectable job that pleased his grandfather. But Vishen was miserable. He soon got himself fired. Later on, he followed his own path and became the CEO of a fast-growing business, made lots of money, and received plenty of press and media attention, but he still wasn't satisfied. In fact, he was getting bored.
If the ultimate goal is to be happy, Vishen now recommends skipping "means goals" and make "end goals" instead.
What We Really Want
Society has programmed us to crave wealth, fame, status, and physical beauty. I think all these things boil down to either money or power. But there are so many people with everything we're supposed to want who are still extremely miserable. They are constantly chasing their own tails. Even some of the wealthiest and most powerful people on earth can't even get their basic Maslow's hierarchy of needs met.
When I thought about this a bit more, I realized that at the root of our goals, we are looking for similar things. I believe these are some of our most common core goals:
This fits in with Vishen's concept of end goals.
How to Identify End Goals
Means goals are usually steps to get us where we want.
End goals are about following your heart. They are often feelings, such as the ones mentioned above.
The question to ask is "What does my heart truly crave?" or "What would nourish my soul?"
This post gives some great examples of questions to ask to get to the end goal.
Getting clarity on the end goal can really help distinguish what you really want from what society or other people expect of you. For example, if you're looking to feel respected, instead of working at a high-status job you hate, you can consider better ways to obtain respect.
The 3 Most Important Questions
Vishen recommends asking The Three Most Important Questions to skip the means goal trap and quickly get to the end goals.
- What experiences do you want to have in this lifetime?
- How do you want to grow?
- How do you want to contribute?
12 Areas of Balance
We can categorize these answers into the 12 Areas of Balance, which fall under the categories of Experiences, Growth, and Contribution.
- Your love relationship
- Your social life
- Your financial life
- Your quality of life
If time and money were no object and I did not have to seek anyone's permission, what kinds of experiences would my soul crave?
- Your health and fitness
- Your intellectual life
- Your emotional life
- Your spiritual life
In order to have the experiences above, how do I have to grow? What sort of person do I need to evolve into?
- Your career
- Your character
- Your family & parenting life
- Your life vision
If I have the experiences above and have grown in these remarkable ways, then how can I give back to the world?
These goals can change over time.
The book also gives more tips on clarifying the goals.
- Identify a goal
- Answer this question exhaustively until you have no more answers. When I achieve this goal, I will be able to _____ , _______ , _______ , etc.
- Answer this question exhaustively until you have no more answers. When I achieve all this, I will feel ____ , _____ , _____ , etc.
- Identify the true underlying objectives of your goal, based on your answers to questions 2 and 3.
- Compare these objectives with the original goal and ask: Is this original goal the only way/best way to achieve these objectives? Is this original goal enough to achieve them? Can I achieve them in a more effective way?
After going through these steps, I updated my manifesting list. The means goals didn't change, but now I've discovered the end goals for each of them, which made me excited and motivated again.
For example, I'd wanted x number of monthly visitors to this blog, a means goal. The end goal is that I want my work to reach people and help them live better lives, thus making me feel fulfilled, appreciated, respected, valued, and connected. The original means goal was merely a way for me to accomplish this.
If you have any questions or comments about this goal-setting process, let me know in the comments below.