idea > goal

This post was originally sent over email last week. Here’s a link to subscribe if you want to.

Been thinking about the concept of ideas vs goals in terms of how we can feel good all-round about what we’re doing and accomplishing.

The goal might be success, completing a project, accolades, joy… where the idea is the why. The reason you’re making this art or taking this job or doing whatever it is you’re hyped about.

The idea represents a love for the process as we never really know what the outcome or end goal might look like anyways.

In The Listening Book, W.A. Mathieu writes about older students claiming it’s taking them too long to learn the basics of playing piano. In his words,

“There’s no ought to know, there is only uncovering ourselves.”

Maybe this removes all the reasons we feel like we’re not learning enough or doing enough. That we’re not enough. If we’re enjoying the process (the why), we won’t have room to be frustrated or legitimatize inevitable wack self-deprecating feelings. We can even forget to be hard on ourselves because we should be at some magical other level by now.

Big ole red flag for me here with learning Spanish. I’ve been taking classes and meeting up to speak with friends and language groups for a couple of years now, so I can get pretty bummed when I feel like I can’t hold down a conversation with my neighbor Jesus across the back fence.

But when I’m listening to Jesus, my friend Ernesto, or my teacher Luz speak and actually understanding them, I feel amazing. In these moments, what I don’t know doesn’t cloud the space. It’s what I do know, what I’m doing that get’s the louder mic. It reminds me of the many convos I’ve had with Jesus—and while they weren’t perfect— they were alright. Something I can be hyped about.

My end goal with Spanish remains a big question mark. I don’t claim to have any idea what I hope to accomplish besides continuing to learn and improve how I can communicate with my community.

“Senor Verde” — future tattoo and a drawing my Spanish teacher Luz’s daughter did in the ’80s <3

We know from experience end goals will always shift, so maybe it’s all about enjoying and trusting in the process. We can listen deeply and learn which direction to pivot—learning what our hearts are really after. We’re unlocking the discovery in us to move at our pace of learning and growth. Any results here will probably be pretty rad.