Methods and Goals

7 January, 2022

People tend to view methods, goals, motivation, and commitment through the filter of their own experiences. Through the lens of our their motivations, our their goals, and our their needs. But those experiences, motivations, goals, and needs aren’t the same for everyone.

Let’s say you’re not doing something to the same level as someone else. What you’re doing, and how you’re doing it, doesn’t invalidate it. And you shouldn’t let the opinions and scorn of others cloud your goals.

Yes, I wrote scorn in the previous paragraph. There’s a lot of that in the online world. The offline world, too. Far too often I’ve read comments like If you’re not doing xyz for three hours or more a day, you’re not serious about it. Maybe not. But does that mean you shouldn’t do xyz? Of course not!

Take, for example, language learning. It’s not something I’m all that interested in. Sometimes, though, I need to gain some level of ability with a language. My goal in that case is to pick up some situational knowledge. I don’t want or need to become fluent in a language.

Instead, I go with the minimum viable amount of the language I need to get by. I actively listen and try to speak immediately. I don’t worry about being able to read a novel or a newspaper. I don’t worry about understanding a movie or a TV show. I try to learn the words and phrases that that will help me get by, to learn to read signs at stations and airports, to read a menu. That sort of thing.

In that respect, I follow something akin to the philosophy behind the audio-lingual method. That method probably isn’t the best for learning a language to fluency or mastery, but it’s great for quickly learning the basics. It fits in with my goals, which differ from the goals of others.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. This applies to fitness, coding, reading, or any pursuit: think about yourself and your goals. No one else’s.

Do what you need to do to fulfill your goals, to do what you need and want to do. Don’t adopt or internalize the goals and attitudes of others. Those goals probably aren’t for you, anyway.

Scott Nesbitt