The goal setter vs the monk: when to work on fixing something in your life and when to know to let go

There are advantages and disadvantages to both lifestyles. Here I will talk about the pros and cons of both forms of living and talk about when to apply which method. Enjoy!


Pros of a Driven goal setting mindset

1.Feeling accomplished

There are few things that feel as good as making a goal, setting out to accomplish that goal, and succeeding. By constantly accomplishing goals you not only improve your own life you hopefully can help advance society in some small way.

2.Being able to support yourself and your family

The monk mentality may seem nice in theory but if you have a family to look after you need to pay the bills. Unfortunately, in order to live many of us need to give up our time. The goal driven process can greatly help with this. If your goal is to support your family you may have to work multiple jobs but after it’s all said and done you love your family and you love being that provider for them.

3.Finding your passion 

Without goals you will never be able to find out what you really want to do. Without a passion you can feel like your drifting through life without any real direction. For a lot of people goals help make sense of the world and help give purpose to there life.


One’s health is an important part to happiness. Goals can help you avoid unhealthy habits and give you the motivation to pursue habits which are not immediately satisfying but will provide long term happiness.


If your goal involves as certain level of education on a topic it can give you the motivation to stay up all night in order to understand a topic. A goal setting mentality can give you very important critical thinking skills which you can apply to a wide verity of problems in your life.


Finally after completing hundreds of goals though the years you can start to develop a sense of pride. Pride, unlike arrogance, is not an inflated view of oneself but a strong sense that what you are doing in life is making a difference.

Cons of a Driven goal setting mindset


To much stress is a very common problem in first world countries. Even though first world countries have less important things to stress about then the rest of the world we still tend to stress out way more. Goals can blind us to the bigger picture in life. Goals can narrow are focus so much that we can forget about what we already have. Even when a determined person has everything they may not be satisfied because they get all of there pleasure from the feeling of personal growth. If they don’t feel like they are growing they feel like they are dyeing. A 100% determined individual can never truly appreciate the things they have in life.


Goal setting can feel amazing so long as the goal eventually gets accomplished. However, what happens when the goal you set never gets done? What if the goal you want to accomplish is impossible? Disappointment can be crippling and can leave some physically unable to even get out of bed in the morning. Failing one goal can lead to a cascade of negativity that can even affect the goals you could have achieved. Goal setting people have a hard time giving up. This is both there strength and also there demise. Learning to let go is an important part of life and determined people have a hard time with this.

Pros of the Monk lifestyle


Meditation involves calming both your mind and your body. Stillness is one of our most difficult states to be in. Self-reflection brings new meaning to ones life and can be a better tool for determining ones path in life then only setting goals.


A driven person might never find peace because they are too busy looking outward for happiness when happiness can only be found by looking within. Peace is a type of euphoria which most have to travel great distances to achieve. For example, standing a top a mountain or sitting beside a quietly running stream. If there lucky peace will only be experienced by ambitious individuals for about a week out of the year.


With today’s world in a constant state of motion great insight into one’s own contentiousness can be achieved. It is this time of self reflection that you can start to connect bits of knowledge together in much more complex ways then before. A concept you learned in math class might suddenly make sense when trying to describe your anxiety. Wisdom comes with self reflection.

4.Being able to let go 

While the monk will grieve when his friend dies it will not cripple him. Instead of suppressing his sadness he will learn to embrace it. When faced with a unsolvable problem such a death the determined individual breaks down completely. There whole life has revolved about problems and solutions. For the ambitious, when something tragic happens the first instinct will be to try to fix it. The monk will know that some things, while tragic, can not be fixed. You can spend your nights wishing that they were still alive but all this will do is give you more pain. You must be able to let go of that pain while still remembering them in your heart. Free yourself from the constant heartache, and try to move on.

Cons of the Monk lifestyle

1.Lack of purpose 

People spend there whole lives chasing a ball they may never catch but it’s better to fail then not try at all.

2.Lack of amenities 

If you want anything in life you’re going to have to work for it. This requires hard work and determination, qualities which are hard to come by when you are perfectly content with nothing.

Which way is better? 

It depends. You must first acquire knowledge and through knowledge wisdom can blossom. Only then will you be able to determine the difference between fixable and unfixable problems. When faced with a fixable problem you need to put your determined goal setting mode on. Only then will you be able to remedy the issue. However, there are times in life where the problem you’re facing is no longer fixable. These problems are best handled by the monk. He will understand how to accept and let go of the pain. He will understand that being sad all the time will not fix the problem and that happiness is a choice. The hardest part for most people is being able to be both the monk and the goal setting monster. Practice, time, and wisdom will help.

Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts on the goal setter vs. the monk. If you enjoyed reading don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe to my blog!  To subscribe just enter your email into the box on the upper right. I post every Sunday at 8 AM pacific standard time!


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At my very core I am a student. At the present moment I am literally a student as I am attending graduate school to earn my PhD in organic chemistry. In second grade I got diagnosed with a learning disability and junior year of high school I got diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I’m a Californian and I love it here.

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