THE GOAL is one of the key character traits chosen by the soul, before birth, for the life to come. It is the underlying motivation which drives the personality through life.
What is the goal?
Every personality has a goal in life. I don’t mean specifics like having lots of money or climbing Everest. Rather, there is an overall direction we each want our life to take, a theme we want to pursue. The goal is the quality of life we seek to create for ourselves.
- For some people it is about power and the exercise of will; they want to be the dominant force in their own life (see goal of Dominance).
- For some it is about having good, harmonious relationships; they desire to love and be loved (see goal of Acceptance).
- For some it is about living up to their own potential; they feel driven to push themselves, to become the best they can be (see goal of Growth).
Along with the MODE and ATTITUDE, the goal is one of the key components of our true character, our true personality. And like all overleaves, it can change from one life to the next.
Goal and choices in life
Our goal is like an undercurrent that moves us through life, directly affecting the choices we make from one situation to the next. Small, seemingly insignificant decisions, made many times over many years, can have big overall effects on the course of life.
Imagine a pair of twins who are identical apart from having different goals — one with Dominance, say, and the other with Acceptance. Over time, despite starting off in exactly the same place, they will go through life in increasingly different directions.
Of course the goal isn’t the only thing affecting the choices we make. Early in life there are also factors like parental expectations and peer pressure. And in reality, the choices we make are always dependent upon the options available. Because of these factors, we might sometimes make many choices which “go against the grain” — decisions that are not consistent with our real goal in life. As a result, though, we tend to feel mysteriously frustrated and dissatisfied.
But generally this all changes when we get to mid-life and start feeling that the time has come to be more consistent with who we really are. Part of the whole mid-life turning point is about acknowledging our real goal in life and setting aside false intentions.
The seven goals
There are seven possible goals, though some are more prevalent than others.
As with all overleaves, there are three cardinal-ordinal pairs of goals (for INSPIRATION, EXPRESSION and ACTION) and there is one neutral goal (for ASSIMILATION).
- The inspiration goals are Growth and Retardation.
- The expression goals are Acceptance and Rejection.
- The action goals are Dominance and Submission.
- The assimilation goal is (known here as) Relaxation.
- The inspiration goals, Growth and Retardation, are about ways of being and becoming, realising more (or less) of our potential. The focus is on the raw experience of life, and with these goals we make choices which primarily affect ourselves.
- The actions goals, Dominance and Submission, are both about the exercise of will and focus on either wielding or yielding power. We make choices which primarily affect others.
- The expression goals, Acceptance and Rejection, are both about the relationship between ourselves and others. We make choices which primarily affect our relationships in life, either attracting or repelling others in general.
The seven goals can be arranged in order from the most introverted to the most extroverted:
Growth, Acceptance and Dominance are the cardinal goals in their respective pairs. That is, they are proactive, expansive, forward-looking. Having a cardinal goal is like marching forwards saying, “I am going on a journey in this direction.”
Retardation, Rejection and Submission are the ordinal goals in each pair. They are more reactive, corrective, inward-looking. It’s like saying, “Whoa, I need to stop myself from going in that direction.”
The seventh goal, the assimilation goal, is the neutral point in the middle, the pivot of the three see-saws. While the first six goals try to push or pull life in a particular direction, Relaxation is more like a kind of ‘non-goal’ — a case of just taking life as it comes, going with the flow. It has no specific aim other than just allowing life to unfold its own way.
Each goal can be thought of as a kind of mission statement by the soul:
|GROWTH: “I want to advance in my evolution. I shall live a challenging life and be the best I can be.”||RETARDATION: “I want to pause, re-evaluate something. I shall live a life in which I am severely restricted in some way.”|
|ACCEPTANCE: “I want to develop my connectedness with others. I shall willingly accept others into my life.”||REJECTION: “I want to avoid being influenced by others. I shall be myself regardless of what others think.”|
|DOMINANCE: “I want to assert my own will to achieve results in life. I shall be the one in charge.”||SUBMISSION: “I want to surrender my own will. I shall be a good follower of others in charge.”|
RELAXATION: “I’ll just take each day as it comes. I have no specific intentions in life.”
Positive and negative poles
As with all the overleaves, each goal has a positive and negative pole.
The positive and negative poles of each goal are as follows:
|GOAL||+ positive||— negative|
The positive and negative poles can be best understood in terms of where we are coming from when we make choices. Either we are coming from ego, which takes us to the negative pole, or we are coming from essence, which takes us to the positive pole.
For example, let’s say your goal in this life is Dominance. Your ego will want to interpret this as “Listen, everybody, just do as I say,” which is dictatorship. In contrast, your essence (your spirit or true inner being) will interpret this as “I can make great things happen through your willing participation,” which is leadership.
The positive pole represents the soul’s influence on the personality. The negative pole represents the ego’s influence on the personality. Making choices with the positive pole is the work of essence and leads to harmony. Making choices with the negative pole is the work of fear and leads to conflict.
The definitions of the positive and negative poles are explained on the following pages where I cover each of the goals in detail.
• Relaxation •
The goal and the life task
As we plan a lifetime before birth, we decide on at least one key challenge we hope to achieve within it. This is known as the LIFE TASK.
More often than not, this life task is not tackled directly until we reach mature adulthood. Until then, the way life unfolds is a sort of preparation, a training exercise, getting us to the right place and in the right frame of mind to work on our life task.
The overleaves — primarily the goal, mode and attitude — are the framework with which the soul intends to complete the life task.
Although they may sound similar in name, the goal is not the same thing as the life task. The goal is more generic. It’s like a certain flavour or colour that’s added to your human personality as a way to help you get on with your life task when the time comes.
In my case, for example, my current life’s task is “to accumulate and communicate knowledge in a spirit of joy”, while my goal is Growth. Now as a Scholar soul, accumulating knowledge is simply what I do. It’s my nature. The challenge I have apparently set myself is to communicate my knowledge to others — and to do so in a spirit of joy, or for the sheer fun of it. This is quite a stretch I can tell you!
So with my goal of Growth, throughout my life so far I have indeed had this drive to extend myself through thick and thin, to keep pushing the envelope of my limitations, to grow through rich and varied experiences, both ‘good’ and ‘bad’. This has helped bring me to a good place from which I can now work on my life task. And it feels right. A different goal, however, would probably not have brought me to the same place.
The goal is chosen to give the incarnate soul — the human personality — the motivational drive that will support it in living and growing in accordance with its life task. Acting from the positive pole of the goal (making wise, loving, fearless choices) tends to advance the life task; acting from the negative pole works against it.
Learning through the goal
It is often said that Earth is a school for evolving souls. But as the Conversations With God books make clear, souls don’t incarnate on Earth in order to learn who they are. The personality often seeks to know who it is, but the soul already knows. After all, the nature of our soul is no mystery to us between lives! No, we incarnate in order to experience being who we already are (with the Growth and Retardation goals); to fully and truthfully express who we are in relation to others (with the Acceptance and Rejection goals); and how to act from who we are as powerful free agents (with the Dominance and Submission goals).
In other words, we are learning to be the spiritual beings we already know ourselves to be, but in physical human form.
Goal: the driving force of the personality
• Relaxation •