Friday, April 29, 2011

Envisioning Goals

I believe that in order to achieve any goal, you need to envision what achieving it will look like down to the smallest details. I don't mean it in the wish fulfillment way peddled by Rhonda Byrnes (or whatever her name is), of course. That's just silly bunk. Envisioning the results of what you are trying to achieve is necessary to arrive at a clear and detailed plan of how to get there. Think, for example, of how the GPS works. If you tell it that you want to go out to have fun, chances are you'll waste a lot of time driving around pointlessly and not arriving at a place where you'd really enjoy yourself. If, however, you enter the exact address of where you are going, then you'll get there fast.

Let's say you are a single person who has now decided that it would be great to be in a relationship. In order not to waste time on endless dates and failed, miserable relationships with people who could never be right for you, I suggest imagining exactly what your ideal partner would be like and how you'd spend your time together.

When I decided that I was ready to stop being happily and ecstatically single and become as ecstatically partnered, I envisioned my ideal partner and my ideal relationship in so much detail that it made people laugh. "You do realize that you'll never find somebody who will fulfill this entire set of requirements, right?" my friends would ask. "Well," I'd respond, "if I can't be in a perfect relationship with a perfect person, then I'll just live in a perfect singlehood." Of course, in the end it turned out that my attitude was completely right and it led me exactly where I wanted.

In my professional life, I follow the same strategy. When I decided I wanted to be "a real professor at a real university", I started imagining what it would look and feel like. In my dreams, I'd see myself sauntering at a leisurely pace into the classroom, looking all elegant with my leather briefcase and chic scarves and shawls. I'd imagine saying things like "Among my publications this year there are articles on the subject of...", going to speak at conferences and shocking everybody with my vast erudition, spending the four summer months immersed in my research. I was so invested in this dream that the first thing I bought when I got accepted into my MA program was a very expensive leather briefcase which looked exactly like the one I imagined. Now that this dream has been fulfilled and I walk into the classroom with my fancy briefcase and cool shawls on a regular basis, I have a new dream that I'm envisioning on a daily basis.

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V said...

And this dream is?..

V said...

Oh, never mind, I was just reading your new posts from the top down... Sorry.

Clarissa said...

The dream is: I come into the Paragraph bookstore on McGill college and there is a row of books with my name on them. And that makes me feel very important.

I haven't planned an outfit for that day yet, but there are still decades to go.

Anonymous said...

What happens when you are so good at creating this magical world of your dreams that you are actually satisfied with the virtual world you have created?

Making reality quite tedious at best....

Clarissa said...

Well, if that makes you happy, then the goal is achieved and you can just enjoy it. :-)