Give Up Goals and Start Learning

April 18, 2005  

This past weekend I was an attendee in a workshop — a workshop on “how to design experiential workshops”. The first evening we did some very unusual things such as dancing, chanting, and meditating. I struggled to see how these “experiences” had anything to do with designing a workshop. The next morning was more of the same. I found myself become more frustrated. I was getting quite stressed. I reached the point where I debated leaving the class. Why waste my time on something that was not helping me achieve my goal? And that’s when it dawned on me. I was treating the workshop like a goal. I was there for a specific reason. And because of that I became so myopically focused that I was not present and was missing so many other learning opportunities.

When I decided to give up the goal of “learning how to design experiential workshops,” I found myself enjoying the class, learning many other (and important) things, and (ironically) learning more about experiential workshops. In the end it was a truly wonderful weekend. I met incredible people, had amazing conversations, and I did learn quite a bit about designing experiential workshops. I learned in a way which was different than I had expected. And my insights often happened outside of the class. So sometimes, even the smallest goals can be detrimental to our happiness and success.