I used to love to play baseball because next to hitting a home run, stealing bases was the most fun.  Walking to the next base, because a team mate struck out got me ahead a little, but it was not fun at all, really.  I remember that we turned the street in the neighborhood into a baseball field and played into the twilight.  What a great preparation for learning about how to do goals in life.  The games we play give us a developing sense of direction by having clear rules.

Life is not always like that.

I wouldn’t play the game if I didn’t imagine the home run.  What are the home-runs today?  We need to know.  What if we strike-out – a lot?  There are a lot of times at bat and a lot of innings.  I never quit until the game is over.  I knew the next swing would be a home-run, or I’d get on base and steal to the next.

I remember that I was never discontent or driven to get to the next base, I was just excited at the thrill of it.

Can you be on your own “first base”, whatever it is and not be discontent or driven, but rather be in the thrill of what will get you on to second base?  Often it’s the risk of going out on a limb.

That’s the skill of real goal-development.  As fast as we can do it, discontent begs to become imagination.

How fast can you turn discontent into imagination and vision and not let it become drivenness?  Are you even really playing in the game of your life or have you turned it into “flat land” or dampened its intensity for some false sense of stale peace?

In the same way I can turn a game into discontent and drivenness because I don’t think I’m winning, can I do the same with life?  How often have you been on third base and didn’t know it?  How often was that the next hitter that would have brought us home someone or something we never expected?  Play the game, know your goals, and play well into the twilight until the light is gone.

As we play into the twilight of our lives, fully alive, an inevitable theme in having goals that are malleable and that change over time is this theme than runs between “holding on” and “letting go”.

Life and its transitions are not essentially about letting go; they are about choice and attachment.  It is the fear of attachment that drives us to hold on more tightly to what we need to move away from.  It is this that will destroy our sense of direction from having goals, more than anything else.  When we know what we want to attach to, letting go is much easier.  When we focus on what we want or even kind of want, letting go is slicker.

Attachment.  It makes many shudder.  We want no more attachments, no more entanglements, and no more things (or people) to wonder about.  But we get through major life transitions when we grow toward, when we have the courage to attach, to connect, to move forward, and to define new wantings and unclaimed desires.

© Dr. William K. Larkin

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Laura M Sparks

    Again, I love this perspective on goals. It’s like you are saying that it’s ok to not be totally satisfied and to want more. My whole belief system in the past has been to be completely content with what you have; not to want more. And it’s. It that I’m not content, I am. However, I get a sense of excitement and drive when I think about what I want and how I will get it. This drive keeps me more Alive.

  • Echo Macdonald

    Growth, attachment, vulnerability, being more alive. Forward, Ho! And away we go! I enjoy the “mid-air” aspect of vulnerability. Like swinging between the bars of a trapeze. We’ll never know unless we try. I appreciated what Brene Brown said about the TED presenters being a like a “failure” conference. You don’t have much to share unless you’ve been through the trenches of failures and successes and discovered your strengths through your failures. A new and novel approach to discovery – through the eyes of strengths applied to failure. We are all an interweaving of both. That’s what makes the beauty in a tapestry. The darks, the lights, the messy threads on the back side, the beauty that emerges on the front. Discovery, vulnerability, attachment, release, and new discoveries… The real question is, how alive do we really want to be? The risk and the thrill of it all!….

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