The perils of being goal-oriented

Acharya Prashant
8 min readOct 10, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, you once said that motivation and ambitions are symptoms of suffering but I think if one lives with ambition, the journey will teach him a lot. Life will become disarrayed. Please explain.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Don’t you see an obvious contradiction in what you are saying? With a goal, there is no journey possible. When you have a goal in mind, journeying is not possible. Take an extreme example, how did you arrive at this centre today? Which vehicle?

Let’s say, you used your personal car, let’s say you parked your car a little distance away; let’s say 300 meters. Now as this session is on, someone comes a little hurriedly and whispers into your ears, “Your car has caught fire.” You rush, you rush towards the car. As you rush towards the car, there are all these books kept by the wayside and the walls have been decorated with posters.

How many of these posters would you read? How many of those books would you admire? There is that little squirrel chattering on the branches, how many minutes would you take to be with her? There are kids playing outside, how many games would you play with them? I am asking you, please.

Q: None.