Many people live their lives to please others -- their parents, their spouses, their employers or their friends. Others find themselves caught up in cookbook advice that will lead to being wealthy . . . such as live where the costs are low (but there are drawbacks to living in the middle of the Sahara Desert). Still others pick goals and never get around to rechecking their choices.
Creativity expert Stephen Shapiro challenges these people to get in touch with themselves and pursue a life that pleases them every day . . . not just on days when major goals are accomplished or praise is won from others. It's a noble and worthwhile message.
Although Mr. Shapiro was not a teenager in the 1960s, he could have been. Many of the book's themes will resonate powerfully with those who love New Age approaches learned in those distant days. In addition, his viewpoint is one that those in the Judeo-Christian tradition will find comfortable.
His concept is boiled down from 150 interviews with those leading pleasing lives into the following principles:
Use a compass, not a map (this allows you to be flexible in making progress towards uncovering and enjoying your passions)
Trust that you are never lost (look around to see what's good about where you are and keep moving ahead rather than sticking with the past)
Remember that opportunity knocks often, but sometimes softly (listen to that wee, quiet voice within -- Christians will like this advice!)
Want what you have (appreciate everything: it's all good for you)
Seek out adventure (be open to that road less traveled and go for the zest every day!)
Become a people magnet (alone you can do little, together almost anything is possible)
Embrace your limits (look for what's good about what you cannot do and back off from doing too much)
Remain detached (be like the meditator who sees herself from outside herself)
Curiously, although the book's title is Goal-Free Living, the Goalaholic quiz in the back suggests that you can be too goal-less for your own good. That's called being Directionless.
The phraseology differentiates between goals (which are usually bad because they often don't reflect what you really want) and aspirations (which are good because they inspire you and feed your passion).
Phraseology aside, if you have goals that fit your aspirations, you probably can use all kinds of goals.
I wondered how I would rank on the quiz. I turned out to be Goal-Free which surprised me because I use goals quite a lot. Apparently, my goals must be in tune with my aspirations. Whew!
This book isn't for everyone. But if you often question how you ended up with a life that you don't really care for, this book will be a superb guide to leading you back to what's important for you.
If you liked Mr. Shapiro's book, 24/7 Innovation, you'll find this book is quote compatible with that work (and better written): This of this book as 24/7 Living Innovation.