Goal Setting The Zen Way – “Mountains Are Merely Mountains”

Have a big task or dream that seems impossible?

Just remember this simple take on an old zen saying –

“Mountains are merely mountains.”

This is an interpretation from a longer Zen saying:

“Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters. When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and waters are not waters. But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest. For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.” – The famous saying of Ch’ing-y√ľan Wei-hsin [Seigen Ishin]

(From Alan Watts, The Way of Zen, New York, Pantheon Books, 1951, p. 126, 220 k)

What the heck does this have to do with with goal setting? Well, for me it means…

  • Mountains are merely mountains.
  • Mountains can be climbed.
  • Break down big goals into simple steps
  • Assign deadlines (milestones)
  • Create a plan, even if it’s not perfect.
  • If possible, find a guide / mentor (someone who’s been there before you and can help you avoid pitfalls and improve your plan.)
  • Keep climbing one step at a time (persistence)
  • You may need to take breaks and rest on the way up, thats okay. Don’t beat yourself up for it.
  • There will be blizzards, pitfalls and other obstacles to overcome that will test you. Your tougher than you think.
  • Keep going, and eventually you will get to the top of your mountain (reach your goal).
  • Fear is going to be your biggest obstacle. While dangers are real, fear is in your mind and can be overcome (ie. Running into a real wild bear vs. letting the idea of running into a wild bear prevent you from ever climbing.)

My own personal mountain this year is growing my company beyond 7 figures and reaching more people to help them solve their problems and achieve their own personal dreams.

Your mountain will be different.

What are some of your personal mountains? If your willing to share, leave a comment below…

Mountain Photo credit: Jake Ingle

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.