Michael Bungay Stanier has been working for quite a while on how to find a worthy goal. His current conclusion is, that such a goal is thrilling, important, and daunting.
One of the reasons for defining these three categories is the way we often deal with ourselves. This involves the type of pressure we put on ourselves or take in from the outside as well as how we react to the ongoing reactions we are subject to.
Integrating the idea of thrilling into a worthy goal is there to remind us of the obligation we otherwise might assume having. Obligations come in from every side. They are the assumptions we have about ourselves. They are the injunctions we’ve accepted. Or, they are how we think that things have to be dealt with following the lead of others who found their way before us.
Self-absorption can also be a reason why we may not tackle a goal we’ve taken up. It’s a way humans have to resist the expectations we are confronted with or have given us. Instead of trying and taking one step after the other, we’ll be finding ourselves searching for ways to enhance ourselves until we are ready. Taking up something important is there to create some urgency and desire to act.
The daunting bit of a worthy goal fits well into our times. We live in a world in which answers have become rare. At least the ones we’ve been used to and the ones that tell us what the right journey is and how it will happen. Allowing ourselves to choose a daunting goal means to know right from the beginning, that we don’t know how we’ll achieve that goal. There is a possibility of failure just as much as there will be many opportunities to learn.
Choosing a worthy goal is in itself already enough pressure and will create resistance. By making it thrilling, important, and daunting, chances are that it will generate enough of a daily excitement that waking up to the goal will create momentum. One, that at the end of the day, leads to the satisfaction of knowing that the days’ worth of work contributed to moving towards the goal.