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Hold Onto Your Goals Lightly By Eric Plantenberg

I recently posted on Facebook a thought that helps me to stay focused on what’s most important to me…

Hold onto your goals lightly.

That post inspired someone to ask the questions.

“Could you elaborate? Doesn’t this go against that whole ‘magnificent obsession’ thing that Napoleon Hill describes?”

I love these questions and remain amazed and grateful for how freely we can all share thoughts and questions now. To answer the second question directly.  No.  That’s not my experience at all.

I love when I have a ‘magnificent obsession’ burning inside of me.  Holding onto a goal lightly and having a ‘magnificent obsession’ complement each other in a perfect way.  In fact, I believe you can’t really have a ‘magnificent’ obsession without holding onto goals lightly.

Let’s start by clarifying what a magnificent obsession is and why it’s so important.  When you look around at people that accomplish things that are awe inspiring…. it could be writing a piece of music, building a company, doing an amazing job raising a child, helping people in need, it could be anything … often when you look closely at the person, they have a level of commitment, believe and determination that could be described as obsessive.  The adjective magnificent is sweetly used by Mr. Hill to differentiate that positive, inspiring obsession, from that of a closed-minded or destructive obsession.  To be fair, there IS a narrow margin between a ‘magnificent obsession’ and that of a destructive one.

That margin is separated by the attachment to the doing or the having.  This is why my experience leads me to hold onto my goal lightly.

The beauty of a magnificent obsession is found in the activity itself. The love of the game.  The bliss of experiencing the activity.  The joy of the steps along journey.  A person feels good while thinking about and engaging in their obsession.

The problem with other obsessions is that they don’t bring joy and fulfillment in the process of creating or doing.  The obsession lies with the having.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to have something.   What I find quite ironic is that the less i am attached to having something, and the more passionate I am about doing the activity, the more likely it is that the have shows up.

My recent climb of Mt. Everest is a perfect example of this.

My magnificent obsession was climbing the mountain.  Climbing that mountain started with 7 years of planning and general preparation.  Followed by four months of intense conditioning (think of 4-6 hours of training per day starting at 4:39am). Concluded by the climb itself.  Sixty-two days of life in a tent in an environment that doesn’t sustain human life.

I loved the entire journey. The workouts.  The planning.  Coming up with the money.  The cold nights in a tent.  Stepping my crampons onto the rock and ice.  Then entire experience was fabulous.  That doesn’t mean their weren’t setbacks and frustrations.  It just means that i loved the process.

Eric Everest

My goal was to “climb as high as I can safely go.”


I held onto the goal of climbing to the summit very lightly.  If it happened this trip in this time, great.  If it didn’t, no problem.  The mountain will always be there and I lived to climb another day.

I was feeling great about what i was doing -  with or without the attainment of having stood on the top.

This is equally as true for my other goals.  I’d encourage anyone reading this to look at where their obsession lies.  Is it in the being and doing?  Feeling great along the way.  Or in the having?  And they how does it feel when you don’t have what you want exactly when you want it?

I think that the number one goal is to feel good along the way.  I’d love to hear what you think.

Be Free!

Posted by: PF-ADMIN


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