An accomplishment is something that has been achieved successfully. It is the completion of an activity or the achievement of a goal. It is the act of carrying something into effect. Accomplishment is about action, where a deed is done. Another way of thinking about accomplishment is the fulfilment of something.
Many of this life stories you encounter in this book show people who achieve and accomplish great things. Martin Luther King worked hard to progress civil rights for black people. Rachel Carson’s work helped educate the public and change how we think about the natural world. Bob Dylan made great music. Pablo Picasso created new forms of art. We can use the example that these people set to pursue goals and accomplishments that are meaningful in our own lives.
Accomplishment plays a key role in well-being. Accomplishing and achieving things makes us feel good. It makes us feel satisfied and full.
Jason’s father was the King of Thebes, but one day, his own brother, Pelias, took the throne from him and threw him in prison. Pelias challenged Jason to find the famous Golden Fleece and bring it back to him. If he succeeded the King would return the crown to the rightful king.
Without hesitation, Jason took up the challenge. His first task was to find the finest ship builder in the land. When it was complete, he called his ship the Argo, which means swift, and he gathered up the greatest heroes from around the land. They would be called the Argonauts.
When they set out, he did not even know where to start looking for the golden fleece. On board the ship was a wooden figurehead, carved from a magical oak tree. As he rested his hand upon it, he could feel a throb, like a heartbeat. Suddenly the figurehead spoke: “Ask King Phineas where to go!”
As they feasted with Phineas a flock of hideous birds, called the harpies, flew through the window attacking Jason and his men. The brave warriors fought them off and they flew out to sea never to return.
Phineas told Jason where the fleece could be found, but warned him of the perils of the mission. The argonauts set off to the land of the Colchis, out beyond the clashing cliffs. Fire and boulders flew in this terrible place. Jason’s men sat trembling in their boats.
“Watch the seagulls!” cried Jason. “They know when the way ahead is safe. Follow them as they move”.
They negotiated the cliffs and arrived at the land of the Colchis, where the golden fleece was held. When they arrived, the King threw dragons teeth at Jason’s men. As each tooth hit the ground a warrior burst to life. Soon they were in the midst of a deadly battle. Gradually the argonauts overcame the dragon-tooth warriors. Now nothing stood between them and the golden fleece.
Except for the dragon.
The fleece hung in a beautiful garden, on the branch of great tree, guarded by the dragon. At the gate to the garden the King’s daughter, princess Medea appeared. She offered her assistance in exchange for marriage. Jason entered the garden and after a fearsome fight, slayed the dragon. He returned to his men on the beach with the golden fleece and king’s daughter.
When they returned to Thebes, Jason’s father released from prison, as the incredulous Pelias stepped aside. But Jason’s father, Aeson, refused to rule. He was too old and weary. The princess stepped in and gave him a magic potion and he became strong and young again. He emerged from a deep sleep with the energy of a young man and the wisdom of an old one. He ruled the kingdom justly.
What does the story of Jason and the golden Fleece teach us about accomplishment? What strengths and qualities did Jason exercise to achieve his goal? What external help did he get?
What are some of the accomplishments and achievements that you are most proud of? They need not be big things. Even in a day we accomplish and achieve a lot. Sometimes even getting out of bed in the morning is an achievement!
Start small and make a list of the accomplishments that you are most proud of. You can draw, paint or represent them in whatever way you like. Try to identify what strengths and skills you used in each achievement. Share this information with a partner or in a small group. When doing so try give feedback to others on their accomplishments for example by telling them how impressed you are. Be genuine though. Only say what is true. Reflect afterwards on how the experience was. What feelings did it bring up?
Cast your mind into the future. Think about things you would like to accomplish or achieve in your life. Visualise yourself doing these things. Record these ideas in your journal.
Goals and aspirations
A goal is the end towards which effort is directed. It is an aim or purpose. A goal is a desired result. An aspiration is similar. It is a hope or ambition of achieving something.
In the following exercise we will explore how we might set goals that are important to you. You can do it in pairs, taking turns to ask each other the following questions.
If you were guaranteed success, what would you most want to do?
What goal or project could you realistically complete in the next 12 months to contribute to this?
What internal and external resources do you have that will help you do this?
What resources will you need to acquire? What will you need learn or develop?
What obstacles might stop you reaching this goal?
How will you overcome these?
What step can you take in the next week to move you towards this goal?
Make note in your journal of any insights that came from your discussion.