Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (more than usual and on one topic in particular rather than the myriads that I tend to flip through).
What is a life goal? And is it really as specific as most make it out to be? I would like to make a case for the argument that goals are not an ultimate ending but rather the idea that you travel your personal journey in a manner that you envision thus, hopefully bringing enjoyment.
So to put it another way: goals are just sign posts that we wish to see on our journey of life.
Not the end of the road.
Logically, I like to think that, this makes sense but I don’t think we really process a goal that way. At least in my experience. When we think of life goals it’s typically presented in an end game kind of narrative. Like the “life goal’ narrative stops once you ‘achieve your dreams.’ Which sounds a lot like a dead end. The western society emphasizes this. The trope of the person who’s ‘made it’ and now doesn’t know what to do with their life. Which means they have attained their ‘goal’ but they had a narrow vision for their lives. This end game narrative of life almost seems to act contradictorily with most people’s drive as it makes things seem insurmountable unless you have incredible drive. That even getting to the most basic steps seem impossible without doing something else first. How many times have we heard someone say:
“When I finally………(insert goal blah here) I’ll be able to…..(insert dream /secondary goal here).”
Sounds innocent enough but it kind sounds like a cop-out. Don’t get me wrong, we all mean well by saying this. But is it said in the right mindset or in a helpless one? Like you can’t do something because something else is holding you back or because it’s taking so long to get to that first half step. I find that when it’s usually said it kinda is being used as an excuse. Like a validation for not having made progress towards the desired result.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do realize that goals are steps and sometimes you can’t skip those steps. And I’m certainly not knocking that.
What I am knocking is this thought process that it’s the reason why we don’t make progress. That “First I need to…” or “But I don’t have…” are subconscious crutches that we pull out when we put aside our personal dreams/ signposts for the sake of being what we see as “practical” or “realistic.” Not realizing that the reason life isn’t going the way we want to is because we’re looking at the wrong thing and unconsciously buying the ‘end game’ mindset. Which can be really dangerous when you realize that sometimes the road we’re on isn’t really clearly marked.
A good race car driver will tell you not to look at the walls. Be aware of them but not focus on them. Because you unconsciously drive in the direction you’re looking and your likelihood of having a crash skyrockets’.
The same goes for us.
We don’t pass the signposts /goals we want to see because we’re looking the wrong way. So, instead of driving past the scenery you’re longing for why not towards it?
let’s think of it this way: why not use that job (that may not be your calling) as a stepping stone to get to the one that is? Or simply use it for survival while you work on getting to that sign post? Eventually, you’ll see you’re past one sign… then another…and another and then when you look around you’ll see that you’ve attained your “goal.” It’s a matter of the perception of “progress” and honesty with yourself. Am I really doing things to get me to my goal?
Pro tip: Don’t try to gauge your speed based on someone else’s journey. The ultimate end is kind of the same so far…death.
This is your life. Your path and your decisions and yes someone may be better at this than you, it happens.
But which is better: