Finding a healthier way to strive for what we want.
I’m a big fan of the concept of systems vs goals. Basically:
The idea is that it’s better to focus on systems.
Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want.
By focusing on systems, I’m building the life I want now, instead of pinning my happiness on some hypothetical future thing that may or may not happen.
But the problem with this is that we can’t avoid goals completely: they’re still a useful way to make sure we’re heading in the right direction. After all, getting an agent is an important step on the way to becoming a writer-director.1 So how do you avoid binding yourself in an unhappiness contract?
I think it helps to be more specific.
So instead of systems vs goals, it should be more like: systems vs the goals I can control vs the goals I can’t control. I focus my effort on the first two groups — and in such a way that I increase my chances of achieving things in the last group. And if I don’t, that’s okay!
So for example: I write every week (system), so that I can polish my scripts to a high standard (a goal I can control) so that I can increase my chances of getting an agent (a goal I can’t control).2
Are there any approaches to goal setting you’ve found particularly useful?