The Hairpin charcoal drawing of young woman sitting thoughtfully at table by Steve Henderson

Pursuing The Wrong Goals

If you’re tired of working “smarter, not harder,” and feeling like you must be dumb because you’re not getting the results you want, then maybe it’s time to rethink your goals.

I know what we’re told — by the business, religious, educational, and social seminar gurus that shape our lives if we let them:

Be efficient.


The Hairpin charcoal drawing of young woman sitting thoughtfully at table by Steve Henderson
Choosing the right goals for our life takes concerted thought. The Hairpin, original charcoal drawing by Steve Henderson

Push yourself forward (but don’t look like you’re doing so).

Take ownership of the project.

Manage your time!

“Think like a winner and you’ll BE a winner! (and buy my book)”

Theoretically, if we follow the laid out steps, we’ll wind up like the people who write them: rich, powerful, and successful. (Oddly, we never question why such rich, powerful, and successful people are willing to share the secret to becoming not only just like them, but competitors to them.) Realistically, however, we tend to resemble what we believe, and when we strive to be faster, smoother, cannier, craftier, and more cunning than others, we may achieve the material success we’re looking for, but at a cost.

And that cost is that we think, and act, like machines, which is exactly what the globalized corporate world wants from its workers, because good, fast, efficient workers make more money (for their masters, not necessarily for themselves).

But each one of us in an individual, with one precious life to live, and while we all have to work to eat, do we want to adapt ourselves so closely to someone else’s goals (which are set up to benefit that someone else) and forgo our own?

The Harvesters two young girls picking grapes on an autumn afternoon by Steve Henderson
Reach for what’s worth acquiring. The Harvesters, original oil painting by Steve Henderson

Rather than look to the business world for inspiration, perhaps we should consider the ways, and thoughts, of children. Although the world of commerce and media imposes its values upon them at a younger and younger age, they do retain, for awhile, a straightforward, honest, and commonsense way of looking at things. A mobile phone to a young child is a toy like a block; a car is a machine that takes them places; food either tastes good or it doesn’t — very young children do not make decisions based upon their perception of what others think, and the concept of “cool” (replace the term with whatever latest synonym rages) does not yet exist.

To children, what matters are simple things: a warm sunny day, a lime green play ball, and an adult in their lives who is willing to kick that ball around with them. They gravitate toward people who are kind, compassionate, loving, thoughtful, and safe. They see in those attributes something worth being around. It’s actually a fairly practical way of thinking, but one we lose as we grow into adulthood and put innocence — which we mistakenly view as naivete — behind.

Life is full of beautiful things, ugly things, and everything in between. It’s worth seeking out, and reaching for, the good stuff.

Read more on this at my posts, Setting the Right Goals and Who Cares Who You Voted For — Whom Do You Love?

Fine art is one of the beautiful things life has to offer, and Steve Henderson’s art seeks to capture and celebrate this beauty. Find Steve’s art as original paintings, commissioned work, and licensed prints through the following online and retail establishments: