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Well this is timely.

I’ve been working through Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map (“a guide to creating goals with soul”) on and off for the last few weeks. It’s one of those tools I need to be a bit flexible with; taking the good stuff and maybe sidestepping the stuff I don’t necessarily agree with – more in a worldview sense (but then taking what works for you and leaving the rest seems to be the way LaPorte operates a bit herself). In my case, I need to keep comparing her philosophies to how God tells me to live in the Bible and sometimes the two don’t quite match up.

The whole desire mapping idea is that so often the goals we set ourselves are external goals (want to run 5ks, want to make a million dollars, want to write a novel by the end of the year, etc) but the thing behind those goals is a desire to feel a certain way. Because we don’t identify this so often, if we attain the goal we’ve set we’re disappointed when it doesn’t necessarily make us feel the way we’d hoped. Or we don’t reach the goal and then feel that we’re failures.

So LaPorte says why not turn it on its head? Ask how you want to feel and make decisions aimed at getting you there. She says, “knowing how you want to feel is the most powerful form of clarity you can have.”

I really struggle with clarity of purpose, actually. I’ve never known what I want to go for, what I want to do specifically, because there are so many things I could do (I know I’m very lucky in that regard). I’ve ended up doing some great things, but also some not-so-great things because I’ve just floundered around quite a lot. Aiming for feeling different is a much better motivator for me, as far as I can tell. It opens up many more possibilities.

Well unfortunately for this post I haven’t yet gone through the whole desire mapping process so I can’t report to you on my goals from that perspective. I will soon. But to be clear, I’m not exploring this with a view to indulging every whim and feeling that I have, that’s not what it’s about. I profoundly disagree with the popular worldview that you have to “be true to yourself”, because so often that means being selfish and hurting other people. At the same time, I don’t believe you should repress yourself to fulfill other peoples’ expectations.

As I said at the beginning, all this is calibrated by asking “who does God want me to be?” Heading towards that is my ultimate goal.