Tuesday, July 10, 2012

"The end is the means"

I've been receiving a number of messages lately regarding end-centered focus. The concept is summed up in the quote by Judge Thomas Troward: "The end is the means." The idea is to begin each endeavor (or day, week, month, year, decade, life) with the end in mind, and then use that goal to guide your actions. This technique is also supported by learning theory: when it comes to teaching a series of steps, you begin with the big picture in mind, then teach the last step, and reward the student, followed by teaching the preceding step, adding the last one with the reward, and so on, always reinforcing the steps with the end reward, and reinforcing the learning by keeping the freshest steps at the beginning. With this idea in mind, I suspect you could work your way backwards, and solve all your decisions before you get out of bed.

I have heard this, and I understand it, but it has taken the repeated shoulder-taps to get me to start adding it to my work list. New ways of thinking take conscious effort to implement. I believe that I, too often, operate on a rather short-term basis, and not often enough, make decisions based on longer-term desired outcomes. This is not to say that I am highly impulsive (though, I certainly can be!), just that I frequently fail to effectively prioritize my efforts, and I'm thinking that this method might be quite helpful. With this technique, I could approach each decision point with a road map in hand, and in fact, I would likely run into less decision points, having set out with said road map from the beginning.

I've never been much of a planner - oh I have plans, I just don't usually formulate them very clearly - and it sounds like this could be hindering my efficacy. I have generally preferred the go-with-the-flow approach to life with minimal planning, since my early plans all fell through, but maybe it's just because I have never developed good planning skills. Perhaps the simple practice of starting each day with a goal in mind for how I want it to end will guide my actions naturally toward that outcome. And perhaps with continued practice, I can become more skilled at setting and achieving goals! My dad said his dad said, "A failure to plan is a plan for failure." I may just now be truly seeing the merit to that.

It is often said that the most successful way to manifest your desires is to visualize them, and that seems to fit perfectly with this line of reasoning, so it sounds like there's some pretty strong forces making a pretty strong case, and that I ought to make a pretty strong effort to reciprocate. So, with that, I would like this day to end with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment - which I believe will come from the completion of my commitments, and... let's say... five items from my to-do list - coupled with a glass of wine :) Well, here's one down!

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