Sometimes blogs have partners. Last time I took a look at ‘means’, in the sense of a method, way or procedure. But I left out a very obvious one:- A Means To An End
What sort of end are we talking about? The end we want to gain. We would probably call it an “aim”, an “achievement” or a “goal”. Success education is full of aims and goals. Goals are good. It is important to start a task with a clear idea of your end point.
But having decided on this end, having got it really clearly in your mind, then what do you do with it?
Do you dive straight into it, headfirst, folding your wings up tight and thinking of nothing else? Are you so focussed that you label anything that isn’t clearly ‘YOUR END’ as a distraction?
If so, you would probably like this definition of ‘A Means To An End’:-
a thing that is not valued or important in itself but is useful in achieving an aim*
FM Alexander gave a lot of thought to how he got his successes. And how he got his failures as well. In fact, for a long while there were more failures than successes. Eventually, he realised that dismissing the ‘means’ he used to achieve his ends was, in part, the cause of his failure.
If it’s useful in achieving an aim, then it is valuable. And important. Very important. Possibly as important as having the aim in the first place. If you don’t give your means the prominence they deserve, then you are in big trouble, Alexander-style.
Alexander called the ‘diving in head-first’ approach ‘end-gaining’†, and he came down pretty hard on it. Having an end is good, but we shouldn’t neglect, dismiss or undervalue the means to achieve it.
† end-gaining involves … going direct for an end without consideration as to whether the “means-whereby” to be employed are the best for the purpose, or as to whether there should be substituted for these, new and improved “means-whereby” FM Alexander, The Universal Constant In Living, IRDEAT edition p.528