As I stumble to Enlightenment

Not goals, dreams

31 dreams, not goals.
While writing “goal” nr. 3 it hit me why progress on the writing of the series was so slow.
I don’t like goals.
Goals are corporate.
Remind me of bonuses.
Of achievement.
Of “going the extra mile”.
“Giving it not 100, but 200%”.
Wall Street and bankers. They have goals.
And they almost broke the system because of goals.

Dreams they have not.
Children have dreams.
Martin Luther King.
Richard Branson.
Elon Musk.
All big achievers.
People who seem to give it 1000% compared to the average person.
When in reality they’re just giving it a different 100% than all of us.
Slightly more unique, not better.

Dreams are softer.
Crazier as well.

Dreams have one thing in common with goals.
They also need to be turned into reality to enjoy them fully.


Goal nr. 3: My own company

Just in case you were wondering whether these 31 goals would all be about physical appearance.
They’re not.
They’ll be spread out over 7 areas of life.
7 areas that I learned about from Jack Canfield.
7 areas that I now know all need attention for me to be happy.
These areas are:
- Health
- Career/Business
- Relationships
- Financial
- Personal skills & growth
- Free time – Family time
- Community

There are many variations on these areas, for me these 7 work well.
Feel free to adjust to your own taste though.

Obviously today’s goal is in the area of career/business.

I have my own company.
One day.
And not just any company.
A very successful company as well.
One who has an annual turnover of more than a million euros.
A company that grows and expands.
A company that employs over 100 people.
A company that does good for other people.
Preferably something in the field of science and medicine.
Because I like science.
And I also like scientists, just don’t wanna be one.

I’ve always wanted to be the boss of my own company.
Until I realized that that’s useless.
Everybody can be the boss of a company.
What’s really important, and what I come to realize, what I really want is to be successful.
Not for my own glory.
To allow other people to be successful.

And that’s the one thing that I admire most in entrepeneurs and leaders.
The ability to let a bunch of people work together.
To be successful together.
To create employment.

And if there’s one thing we need these days, it’s people who create employment.

Those are people who died

For the very first time ever I had a year where death played an impactful role.
Sure I’ve had other years where people died.
It’s just that this year I’m truly touched by it.
My dog.
My parents’ neighbor.
And a 41 year old acquaintance.
Especially the last one touched me deeply.

My dog his time had come.
The neighbor was in his 70′s.
Some people say that’s too young.
I used to agree.
Until someone I knew well died at age 41.
Then dying in your seventies sounds like a good deal.

I didn’t know the guy very well.
A friend of friends.
Facebook friend though.
And because of that I actually got to know him quite well.
I even revisit his timeline sometimes.

And I cry.
Because of the joy.
His joy de vivre.
20+ year long battle.
And still smiling.
Still fighting.
Always positive.
Always doing everything he could.
Fighting til the very last day.
And unfortunately losing.

I guess that’s what hit me the most.
That despite doing everything right, you can still lose.
That life sometimes truly is a bitch.
Or an asshole if life’s a man.

And the realization I’ve got no fricking idea how to deal with this.

The only thing I can do is pay tribute to this wonderful guy.
So Jeffrey, this one’s for you my friend.
I know it’s not a lot, but If you can read blogs in heaven, realize that I’m thinking of you.
And that you’ll always be an example for me.
Especially when things go wrong.
I sincerely hope I’ll have the courage to stay as positive as you when times get rough.
And for that I am thankful to you.

Goal nr. 2: A clearly visible six-pack

A clearly visible six-pack!


There, I wrote it down.
For everybody to see.
The most shallow, vain goal of the series probably.
And that made it also the hardest goal for me to achieve.
Because I’m a ‘smart, educated guy with a purpose’.
How dare I even think of putting something that is just about looks out there?

Seriously, those were my beliefs.
Took me years to let go of them.
The belief that intelligent people don’t care about looks.
The belief that caring about looks makes you shallow and vain.
Just like that.
The belief that trying to look awesome is wrong.
For some reason.
Not sure what reason, just ‘knowing’ there is surely one.
The belief that you can’t have it all, including a well trained body.

And of course the fear of what other people might think.

Now I don’t care anymore what other people think.
Simply because I can’t know what they think.
Unless they tell me.
And then I can explain it to them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that goals help us grow as a person.
And by choosing the right goals, it helps to let go of your ego.
I’m pretty damn sure my precious ego is getting a few blows to the head here.

Now back to goal 2.
And how to achieve goal 2.
Lots of hard work.
In a sustained manner.

Hours and hours of sports, definitely with a hint of work-outs in the gym.
Mixed with a balanced diet.

I’ve started doing this about 3 years ago.
And noticed that, unlike goal nr. 1, this goal can be achieved and lost again pretty damn quickly.
Once you let go of the healthy habits needed to achieve this goal, the belly fat returns.

And that is what finally made me realize this is not such a shallow goal after all.
This goal helps me live a healthy life.
It motivates me to go out and sport.
It reminds me of the right kinds of food to eat.
And because it is lost so easily, it will continue to do this until the day I die.

And yes, I will post a picture on my blog when I achieve this.
I promise.

Goal nr. 1: A full back tattoo

If you wonder where I’m going to get 31 goals from, let me just tell you that I got 76 actually.
I once started a list of 100 goals.
Which was very liberating.
I noticed that until that moment I wasted a lot of time looking for things to do, searching for yet another goal that I might want to do.
Doing that exercise once, made me stop looking for stuff to do and made me start doing stuff to actually achieve these goals.

Another lesson learned in all these years of setting and achieving goals is that sharing your goals with others actually helps tremendously.
You’ll be amazed how often you come across somebody with a similar goal or with some knowledge or experience to help you forward.
You guessed it, that’s part of the reason why I’m doing this series.
So if you can help me out with any of these 31 goals, just let me know.
Your reward will be eternal gratitude and a mention on this blog.
For whatever that’s worth.

So without further ado, goal nr. 1: a full back tattoo.

Buddha back tattoo
That’s right, me, Mr. nice guy, Mr. Business Man often seen in a conventional suit, dreams of inking his entire back with some Eastern Religious image.

Ganesh back tattooYes I do.

The inspiration came from Japanese business men who often have full body tattoos.
And yet none of it shows when they’re in suits.
And that dichotomy intrigued me.

It also made me realize that my love for tattoos, for loud punk music and my love for doing business are definitely not excluding each other.
As long as you accept the balance.

Tattooing the word ‘Fuck’ on your forehead may work if you’re a singer in a punk band (and even they realize that isn’t the smartest thing to do as soon as they have kids of their own! Check out the brilliant movie ‘The other F-word for the full story), I’m pretty sure it won’t help me close more deals.

So how am I going to get there?
What’s needed to achieve this goal?
First of all a design.
Which is why I love Pinterest so much.

Secondly an artist.
Which is why I go to tattoo-shows.
Those in itself are enough of an experience to have this kind of goal.

And finally, and this something I added myself because it’s not a necessity, a slim, slightly muscular, well-trained body.

Which brings me to goal nr. 2.
And more on that later.


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