Setting inspiring goals is an important first step for the future reality we want to create. Clearly defined goals give us a vision for our daily actions. However, just setting goals isn’t enough for living fulfilling lives. In his book, The Path of Least Resistance, Robert Fritz says we also need clarity about our current reality. Fritz states that once we have clarity about the goal and our current reality, a structural tension is created between the two, which seeks resolution. Our natural comfort-based motivation is guided through that structure, along the path of least resistance, until the tension is resolved and the goal is achieved.
Yet, how do we live within that tension as it’s being resolved? How we select our values can inform us of the proper ways to resolve this tension. We select values that keep our attention in the present. Such values help us enjoy the struggles as we live our lives.
Do we value quick progress, comfort, and achievement? If these are our values, then we’ll have difficulty keeping our attention in the present. We’ll become frustrated when we don’t progress toward our goals as quickly as we’d like. Do we value slow progress, stress, and learning? If these are our values, then it’ll be easier to keep our attention in the present. We’ll be patient when we meet struggles so we can learn from them.
Our intention is also important. Intention is defined as attention focused in the direction of a choice. We choose to focus our attention in the direction of processes that occur in the present. This kind of intention is process-oriented. Our values are helpful if they align with this type intention.
We have outlined specific values that guide the Free Mind training program we teach to athletes. These values help athletes be intentional in how they practice to develop a free mind:
- Awareness: Valuing awareness helps us become aware of self-limiting behaviors that distract our attention.
- Acceptance: Valuing acceptance helps us accept situations as they are so we can begin applying our attention effectively.
- Intention: Valuing intention helps us be more deliberate in how we direct our attention.
- Learning: Valuing learning helps us take small steps so we can flow with changing situations more easily.
- Work: Valuing work helps us embrace the inevitable stress we’ll experience in our lives. Instead of resisting stress, we accept it and do the work to resolve it.
- Service: Valuing service helps change the flow of our attention. Instead of allowing our attention to dwell in the mind, we direct it outward, so we stay connected with the world.
- Balance: Valuing balance helps us flow with life’s natural rhythms.
Inspiring goals give us a vision for our lives. How we live our lives, however, is determined by the values we select. By selecting values that focus our attention in the present, we flow with life’s stressors and enjoy the whole process. The tension between the goal and our current reality isn’t seen as a negative. It helps move us along the path of least resistance until the tension is resolved and the goal is achieved.