Creating Balance Between Being Grateful And Having Goals

I was having a chat with someone recently and an interesting topic came up about how to balance being present and grateful for everything in your life now, whilst also aspiring for more.

Are the two chains of thought mutually exclusive, or can they co-habit peacefully?

When they asked me the question, the answer was so obvious, I couldn’t believe that I’ve never thought of it before.

Before I reveal my reasoning, the absolute answer is yes! They are meant to go together. To us, they are like air and water. Both are essential for your survival but a single one on it’s own is not enough.

Learn to be grateful for what you have, while you pursue all that you want.

Jim Rohn

You need both in order for your existence to flourish. Being mindful and present is a wonderful feeling. It truly is. It is the cure to many of the issues most people face on a daily basis. Coping with the rat-race, dealing with stress, trying to be keep up appearances, etc. All of these things can be eased by using the practise of mindful meditation.

We would however, totally stagnate if we didn’t have a destination in mind. The truth is that no journey is worthwhile unless there is a destination as part your plan. Yes, the journey is to be enjoyed, but a journey, without a destination is incomplete. Even when you reach your destination, you are already thinking about the next journey and destination.

That process will never end. The overall journey will never cease. Once it does cease, you will decide to start it again. It’s an eternal, unending framework.

Where there is no vision, the people perish

– Proverbs 29:18

Understand that one is not a substitute for the other. It’s not an either/or decision you can make. It’s a synergy, a synthesis, an unbreakable duality.

Pay attention to where your goals arise from. Are they coming from a place of dissatisfaction, or from a place of service? Are you constantly unhappy with the way your life is now? If so, then spend time time becoming grateful for the things as they are now. When you make goals from a state of impatience or unhappiness, you will find that you will rarely achieve your goals anyway.

However if made from a place where you feel fulfilled already, then the goals tend to be more clear. Remember, they are not there to be reached or pursued, they are there to unfold.

Goals are essentially milestones. The are benchmarks and nothing more. Don’t fall into the trap that you will feel a certain way, or that it will mean something very specific to upon completion. Those are the parts of the equations which are illusions.

Let go of the result. Don’t be attached to the outcome. You are responsible for taking steps and doing what you feel is necessary to complete that portion of your overall journey.

There is no beginning and end to it. So have a goal, a purpose, a destination and truly enjoy the journey that goes along with it. Stop and pay attention to it. Be mindful as it’s happening and be grateful that you are being blessed with every opportunity; that you have been given the precious gift of each moment.

How do you feel about this subject? How do you balance being present and wanting more?

8 Responses

  1. Anila Dhami says:

    Brilliant post! I completely agree with the sentiments that you have stated. One of the things people find most difficult is living in and focusing on the present moment – but when you do it feels amazing to acknowledge the very moment we are actually living in rather than anxious about the future or nostalgic over the past. I also agree that goals and living in the present coicinde. A nice quote I live by is ‘with every step we take, we arrive.’ People strive towards a long term goal without realising that every step they take is fulfilling a goal on that journey.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Anila,

      Oh wow, I love that quote! I’ll be adding it to my collection! 🙂

      So true and so eloquently put. I had no idea you were such a poignant writer. Keep on blogging, and if you ever feel like writing me a guest article I’d happily accept! 🙂

  2. Elle says:

    I agree with your answer. We can be both grateful for what we have and desire to want more.

    I believe that humans need to be grateful of what we have. I take a few minutes out of my day to appreciate all the good things in life. I know I am so lucky because there are people out there whose biggest worry is not having enough food to feed their family for the next day.

    However, I also believe that we need to strive to become the best we can be. How would we be able to do this without a goal? It’s necessary because it drives us to be a better person.

    I find it unfortunate is that so many people give up on their goals due to doubt from within or from others. I like to remember what Confucius once said, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps”.

    Like you said, you need to enjoy the journey that goes along with the goal. I’m sure it won’t be easy, but it’ll be worth it.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Elle, indeed. It’s not quite as straight forward to do both but as with anything, with practise, one can get much better. It’s so enjoyable just stopping and enjoying the journey. To rally stop and pay attention to the ‘smell the roses’ as often as possible.

      Thank you again and have an incredible weekend!


  3. Cornel says:

    Hi Amit,

    I agree we need to enjoy the “journey”! So many people struggle so much to reach their goal, that they forget to enjoy each step along the way. Inspirational post , Cornel

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Cornel, so wonderful to hear from you and genuinely grateful you enjoyed the article. As you said, lets enjoy each step of the journey to each gateway.

      All the best, Amit

  4. Amit – I totally agree and I love your mindful balance! I’ve pondered this over the years – somehow, we do need to stay in touch with both – the “is” and the “becoming”. To hold both perspectives at once is an interesting meditative exercise! I think of the journey as a bit like the journey of the sun – the sun moves, yet it is also unchanging (though at an even broader perspective, the sun too is hurtling through space and going though its life-cycle.)

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Hey Vanessa, so lovely to hear from you! 🙂

      It’s wonderful to hear your take on the subject after your years of pondering the question. I love your analogy of the sun. How else have you found the balance. What do you do? How do you stay present and yet strive to be more?


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