Two days ago, I introduced the book, The Highest Goal: The Secrets That Sustain You in Every Moment, by Michael Ray. Here is the link to the first post. Best selling author Jim Collins, author of Good to Great attended a class taught by Michael Ray at Stanford in 1982 and wrote the Foreword.
I left yesterday´s post with the revelation that I thought my highest goal was:
To serve as a catalyst and facilitator such that individuals and groups experience breakthroughs.
I have changed my mind. After reading more examples, I now think that my highest goal has something to do with adventure and independence.
Michael Ray does a great job of offering lots of examples to help us hone our understanding of our highest goal. The rest of the book is dedicated to helping us better live consistent with our highest goal – and for more of our time. He offers several obstacles that we must overcome including sub-optimizing, socialization and comparison. Here are a couple quotes from the book to illustrate:
"In every moment we have a choice: Will we act from our highest goal or recede to something less? For instance, sometimes in meetings I speak my truth no matter what the consequences for me. On other occasions I pull back to a comfortable silence and miss the chance to make a real contribution. When the latter occurs, I always feel sad, but try to learn from it."??
"We constantly compare ourselves to others. And when we do this, we lose control of our lives because we are no longer living from our core."??
Ray encourages us to "travel our own path"?? in spite of the obstacles. The reward is passion, flow, and meaning that will manifest itself in ways that contribute to the society and world. Wow – that´s pretty heady, isn´t it?
To get to this amazing place, we have to wrestle with reoccurring problems and new obstacles. Ray suggests using mantras, mottos, or what he calls "live withs"?? to stay focused when challenged with a problem. An appendix section in the book offers dozens of live withs to consider. A couple of my favorites that I will try are:
"Don´t worry, just do it."??
"Do only what is easy, effortless, and enjoyable."??
"To thine own self be true."??
To further our ability to live consistent with our highest goal, we need to turn fears and stress into productive ways to progress and achieve breakthroughs. Here is a quote from Ray that I love and can personally relate to quite a bit:
"Most of us grapple with problems of time and stress because we are seldom present. We spend our time wandering through the vast repository of the past, with its memories, things we did wrong, people we liked and didn´t like, and old loves. Guilt alternates with nostalgia for the good old days. When we look toward the future, we´re filled with fear and anticipation of events that may never occur. The present hardly exists for us. Our mind dwells in these other modes, and we miss life."??
In the final chapter of the book, Michael Ray talks about how we can all become generative leaders. Again, there is a strong tie here to what Stephen Covey talks about in his upcoming book about his 8th Habit of Highly Effective People. Both stress that when we live consistent with our core (highest goal or voice) we will make a significant impact on others and enable their journeys toward living a purpose driven life.
Before you get the impression that this is just a book of pithy and deep quotes, let me just say that Ray offers several concrete techniques and exercises that will help us get closer to living our best life.
Go buy the book – you will love it!
Get your own copy of The Highest Goal at:
Info about the Covey book:
Stephen Covey’s new book, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness comes out in November and is available for pre-order here on Amazon.