“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke
What Can Trees Teach You About Reaching Your Goals?

What Can Trees Teach You About Reaching Your Goals?

It's winter on this side of the world, and nothing is growing. But still, the trees. They still grow. They still make progress.

You can't see it or feel it, but they grow.

It's imperceptible.  

But they grow.  

Trees are solid, planted, rooted creatures. If we could put an anthropomorphism on them, we could say they have one goal: To grow towards the sun.

And you probably don't feel like you have a lot in common with them, the way your ideas and your brain and your body go in all different directions. And, as a highly creative, spiritual human, you probably have lots of goals.

And when you look back on, say, the last ten years of your life ... 

It's easy to (and I say this very, very gently) look at the trees and feel like they've made more progress on their "goals" than you have. 

Shit. I know. This is my story, too. 

But, two things:

1) It's not true. You are making progress. Seriously. You're just too mired in it to see it.

And 2) The trees have something on their side, which you can learn from and apply to your own life: Singular focus. 

I know, groan, right?  Singular focus is so freaking boring. I'm rolling my eyes for you right now. 

But singular focus, even for a very short window of time, is going to get you so much further toward what you want than the crazy-making tail chasing thing you've been doing up until now. 

It's kind of like a zen exercise, especially for highly creative people. And it's worth a little self-examination to figure out why exactly you wiggle away just when things are starting to get good on a project. Maybe it's boredom, or fear, or maybe you're more of an idea person than a finisher.

(There are antidotes for all of these things, by the way. But you have to believe that finishing is possible for you, somehow.)

Singular focus doesn't mean you forget everything else. You can even take micro-steps towards the other things. It just means your big project/big goal stays in the center of your map no matter what. 

What if you took this lesson from the trees? Just for a year, or a quarter, or even for a month?  

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The life-changing magic of microsteps

The life-changing magic of microsteps

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Daily Messages from the Divine