Creative Solutions and Goal Setting
by Beverley Paine, April 2003
The problem of logistical hurdles seldom prevents me from doing whatever I want to do. I've developed a practical way of thinking over the years that says that if something isn't happening then perhaps the obstacles are the lessons I need to focus on, rather than the desire. In this way I've learned much about my limitations and how to accept them. From that platform of self-knowledge I either concentrate on my existing skills and talents, and improve them, or work out gentle ways to challenge and extend those areas of limitation.
Where logistical hurdles force a complete stop to all activity in a particular direction, I examine the causes objectively and usually find that the desire was inappropriate or unrealistic in the first place.
For example, I wanted to go to University about ten years ago, but the course I chose necessitated learning on campus. This meant renting a house in the city and coming home on weekends, at considerable inconvenience to other family members and something we couldn't afford. Over three months I worked hard to create this reality, but eventually came to see that I wasn't ready to push in that direction yet. In fact, the desire to study at University was externally driven. I could achieve the same results by self-education, without leaving home, with greater efficiency. While searching for a creative solution to facilitate my desire I realised what motivated me, and what I really wanted to achieve. I learned more about myself.
Since then I tend to analyse logistical problems and ask 'why have I created this block', acknowledging and celebrating the way logistical problems naturally slow down the headlong rush down paths that may not suit, or may be externally motivated. If it becomes apparent that I actually want the original goal, that it is my heart's desire, then logistical problems seem to evaporate in a cloud of creative solutions that pop out of nowhere. Things happen, and quickly. The universe provides, abundantly. I trust in this process. Experience has shown it truly works.
Often conflict is embedded in the process. Things seem to go wrong, or become difficult. I celebrate conflict as the sharp end of the learning curve. If I am observant and objective enough I learn rapidly. With a positive attitude, problems become solutions, usually to issues I hadn't recognised initially.
This positive attitude was tested to the limit with my sister's illness and eventual death. Instead of focusing on unrealistic goals I did my utmost to learn the difficult lessons this time provided for me. Each obstacle challenged me to grow. Often I couldn't see the nature of the lessons until I reflected upon them much later, with an objective mind. My sister's life became a gift of self-development for me, in ways that I had not anticipated.
Setting realistic goals is important. A few years ago we made a wish list at New Year. As the year passed we crossed off the goals achieved. All but the most unrealistic, like winning the Lotto or owning a $500,000 car, were realised. The desire for a swimming pool was realised in an unexpected, but delightful way. We purchased an adequate inflatable paddling pool for $60 that we could all sit in and cool off - the real desire behind our need for a pool.
Last year I found a list of long-term goals I'd recorded in 1986. Ninety percent of those goals have been achieved. The ones that weren't didn't accurately reflect who we were as people, but were externally motivated by the need to conform or please others. The same holds true for our lists of tasks we complete on a daily basis. The realistic ones get done. I think this is because we continuously reflect upon who we are, what we want, and what our limitations, talents and abilities are. We also reflect upon how the world affects us, through peer group pressure, media exposure, cultural rituals and so on. Sorting out the externally driven motivations and desires from the personally meaningful internally driven motivation and desires can be difficult, but it certainly makes a difference to how and when goals are achieved.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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