Goals and habits. Chris Guillebeau vs Leo Babauta. Not a fight or competition, but a decision of how to live. There’s no scale to measure one being a better fit than the other. There’s no help for the decision other than examining yourself to determine the method that works best for you.
Frustratingly, the answer, as it always seems to be, is probably that “it’s a mix of the two”. Yay.
Guillebeau says goals. Specific achievements with a due date. Babauta says throw away goals, build habits, consistently repeated behaviors that are designed to improve your life. Both methods are good for your personal development. A prominent difference I found is between the two men.
Guillebeau has no children and I don’t know if he’s married*. Babauta is married with 8 kids. Both men are successful bloggers and book authors. I would wager that the majority of their respective fans match each man’s marital status and fatherhoodom, or lack thereof.
Guillebeau writes about completing a quest for yourself that will transform your life. Before he turned age 35 (the age he chose for the completion of his quest) he visited every country (in the world.) Babauta writes about simplifying your life and finding happiness through your habits. He promotes breathing, meditation, and tons of self reflection to make your life good.
A person doesn’t have to be either-or on this topic of goals and habits. As I said, the solution is probably a mix of the two.
However, I’m dwelling on this topic because I am reading Guillebeau’s book The Happiness of Pursuit, his manual for choosing and accomplishing a life quest. A quest is a massive goal that by it’s very nature would be apparent to everyone you meet. It would consume your actions and conversations because you become it. It requires sacrifice and commitment. Sounds awesome. Sucks, though, because 9 out 10 examples of the questers’ journeys involve traveling to all 50 US states or most of the countries in the world to do their thing of dating, running, walking, or visiting baseball stadiums.
I’m married with three kids and I’m not going to spend half of each year for the next decade or two traveling so I can achieve a quest to transform my life because it would be at the cost of my family’s quality of life. That is if while at home being a family man I find engagement and happiness in my life so as to be a decent role model for my kids and a fulfilling partner to my wife. If I can’t then I might as well pack my bags and walk across the United States as one quester did.
This brings me to Babauta’s philosophy. It’s rooted in Buddhist-like concepts of living which I am biased towards because I’ve been attracted to it since I was a teenager. Babauta has a wildly successful blog called Zen Habits. Wildly successful means over 1 million readers! For the past 8 years he has studied, practiced, and shared in his blog the trials and experiments of sustaining habits that lead to a good life. Like a life quest, this requires sacrifice, but would not be high-risk. I look at this method and see something doable, yet not easy. It’s more attractive to me.
I wonder if it’s just my temperament to choose the lower risk option.
I won’t discount the life quest methodology. I’ll find a way to craft it’s principles into my life, but on a simpler scale. And I’ll have to live with the thought that I’m letting fear rule the decision.
Do you lean more towards habits or goals? And do you have a life quest?
* Chris did not mention a wife or kids in his book The Happiness of Pursuit.