Goals and unattachment

I really like Dr. Chopra’s answer to this person’s question about setting goals.


You say that we should concentrate on our present actions and not get emotionally attached to the result. Then how should we plan our future? When we set our goals, we’re generally expecting things to turn out it a certain manner. Isn’t it how we plan our lives? How do we detach ourselves from the outcome and yet find the strength and motivation to take action towards our goal?


Setting goals is fine for giving a direction for your life, but when you get emotionally attached to the outcome, then you are identifying yourself and your well being to something external to you and something you ultimately have no control over. That is a recipe for unhappiness. The Gita says: You have control over action alone, never over the results of action, therefore don’t live for the fruits of your actions, but don’t become inactive either.

Don’t worry about trying to detach from your goals, just consciously remind yourself that you are not your thoughts, actions or desires. Let your meditation practice inform you of what your true self is. The necessary motivation and persistence for your actions will flow from your inner sense of dharma—a knowingness that you are following your appropriate path of life.