The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner: If I make a goal in life then how do I stick to it? How do I keep myself focused towards the goal?
Acharya Prashant: Choose the goal properly. Let the goal be so compelling that the goal itself is a defense against distractions. If you choose a goal that’s not worthy enough, it makes no sense to stay concentrated on it. You’ll try a lot to concentrate on your goal but you’ll find that invariably you get distracted after a while. That’s not because the distractions are powerful. That’s because your goal is powerless. So, the goal has to be right.
Don’t talk so much about how you get distracted. Talk about how, first of all, you have made something into your goal. How has something become your target? How have you come to desire something? If your goal-setting process is influenced from the outside, then your goal would never really be your own goal. And, therefore, you will never feel internally totally committed to it.
You may persuade yourself towards the goal. But that persuasion cannot last long. It cannot have too much strength. You cannot drag a man to run a marathon. No. If he has to run a marathon, then the inspiration has to be internal. Can you imagine a man being dragged to complete a marathon? For how long will you drag him? Most of us running after goals are like that person being dragged.
Is that inspiration really yours? Or are you rushing after a goal because a thousand other people want the same thing? Are you following a trend? Or have you really thought it out? Have you put in the time, effort to see whether your inclinations are real or just conditioned?
We do not address these basic questions and therefore we keep struggling with motivation. We say we are demotivated, we are distracted. You are demotivated because your motive itself is unworthy.
What is a worthy motive then? The worthy motive would always have something to do with your current condition. It would either be something that gives you joy or it would be something that gives you liberation. And even these two, after a point you will see, are identical.