The saying goes “you can’t eat your cake and have it too” and I agree… sort of.
The large majority of life’s affairs fall into the category of ‘experiences’, meaning that we live through moments whilst learning, maturing and growing. Such experiences often include interactions with other people who tend to come in the form of colleagues, family, friends and complete strangers. When each period of experiencing has come to a close, our subconscious performs reflective analysis on the situations that comprise together to make these experiences and the feelings surrounding them. We register this link between situations, activities, behaviours and emotions in our mind and our brain is able to sift through these stacks of neatly organised files every so often, allowing us to replay these moments back, we call them memories.
So, where do the sweet treats come in?
Goals Vs Systems
Some believe that part of maturing is learning that you can’t always eat your cake and have it too. I’m not here to contest the ancient idiom, as I said at the start, I agree. But I have learnt that simply recognising this is not enough; to mature even further, I need to optimise my ‘having’ time and be more efficient with my ‘eating’.
I’ve read a number of articles over the past few months about goals and systems.
Your goals are targets/aims, where you want to be and what you want to achieve within a set time frame.
Systems can be described as the journey, the process in which you obtain your goals.
I was convinced by many that systems are more important and more significant than goals. Considering Behind the Schmile..:) is about self-development, sharing what I learn from my journey (the system) towards a better self (the goal), this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
But I had to stop for a minute and put this into the most basic possible context. What good is having an edible item that I cannot eat? The purpose of this cake is to be consumed. Ultimately, it would be a complete waste to watch the decorative sugar pieces become buried under a blanket of dust until it resembled the wedding cake of Mrs Havisham.
Don’t Lose Sight of the Vision
A conversation with a friend reminded me of how crucial it is to keep the vision clear. He reminded me of a goal I set at a very young age. Upon reflection, it seems unattainable- but this is a result of the innocence and imagination that accompanies our childhood dreams. As unrealistic and, to put it in frank terms, impossible this dream is, the childish nature that was bold enough to ignore all sensible laws of logic is what makes this dream exciting.
Paying attention to the fine print is what made this dream seem overwhelming in the first place and my natural instinct is to find a place of comfort. I did this by focussing on the systems simply because it made me feel better to know that I was achieving something and eventually I got caught up in the system, losing sight of that one thing that I wanted. I got too relaxed in the mode I was in, the slow and steady pace and what I could learn on my way. Achieving this goal no longer seemed important. But this very brief discussion changed everything. I was reminded of the excitement of this dream, what it meant and how determined I was to achieve it. I want that cake.
Have Your Cake. Now Eat Your Cake.
Sometimes the issue isn’t the system itself, but our blurred vision of the end goal. Ultimately you can develop systems from virtually anything. You can even find yourself in new systems that have no link to your original goal: ending up being sidetracked. To avoid this, you need to be what Claud Williams (Founder of DreamNation) calls a Practical Dreamer. You need to take action straight away. The systems are there to keep you motivated and keep you on track, don’t be consumed or distracted by them.
Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” Habakkuk 2:2
Setting goals is the non-preferred method these days because of the stress and anxiety that breeds overtime when we aren’t any closer to cutting ourselves a slice of this cake. But does this make the cake any less worth it? Does having a cake you cannot eat cure your hunger?
Let’s stop trying to comfort ourselves with kind words that only provide a temporary fix. Stop pretending that lessons learnt on the way could ever equal the fulfilment felt when finally biting into that cake.
At the beginning I spoke about how I brain registers and creates memories, your memories are a reminder of both the having time and eating time- something you shouldn’t deprive yourself of.
Don’t get distracted by the journey, keep your eyes fixed on the vision.
Have your cake, and then eat it too!