There’s a lot of debate and confusion these days around what should be a very simple concept, that is: Goal setting and achieving.
Many self-help writers are trying to argue that you shouldn’t set goals because they always lead to disappointment; the result is never as good as you thought and it’s never fun to fail.
While many others are still preaching the “tried and true” concept of S.M.A.R.T goals.
So, which is right?
In fact, neither. The Research is clear, as people, we are happiest when growing and improving. While the climb is always more fulfilling than sitting at the top.
Hence, Andy Rooney has said,
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”
Indeed, Dr. Thomas Gilovich has similarly said that adaption is the enemy of happiness. When you achieve a goal (no matter how big), you’ll quickly adapt to your new reality and the fulfillment will always be less than you imagined.
However, the solution is simple: Never arrive where you intended to go.
Goals Are Means, Not Ends
“The moment you have arrived is the perfect time to start out again.” -Dan Sullivan
When you hit a goal, that should not be the end of your development. Instead, it should only be the beginning. Rather than seeing goals as an end in and of themselves, they should be seen as a means to a doorway of new opportunity.
With each successive goal you hit, your confidence and belief to take your dreams for idea to reality will increase. Thus, you’ll be open to taking on bigger and greater risks and your future should be continually expanding.
Hence, Benjamin P. Hardy has said,
“Before you ever reach a goal, already have the next mountain or two in mind.”
Indeed, no goal should be viewed in isolation. Each one very well can be a logical continuation of the next. Therefore, it’s not about this achievement, but the one after, and the one after that.
You’re both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated; there are certain things that achieving goals allows you to see and do. But most importantly, you’re interested in seeing how far you can go.
Take all the money, fame, and status away, and it won’t change you.
If You’re Not Disrupting Yourself, Someone Else Is
A primary reason why most people stop succeeding at some point is that they go from playing offense to defense. They stop looking to disrupt themselves, their lifestyle, productivity, systems, and beliefs.
Instead, they become comfortable with their own status-quo.
That’s fine, however, “If you’re not disrupting yourself, someone else is,” said Peter Diamandis.
Similarly, John C. Maxwell has said, “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
Hence, if you’re not going up, you’re going down. The world will not stand still if you decide to stay stuck. Instead, it will blow right past you.
Of course, all of this is entirely up to you. You can either stay stuck or move on, but one thing’s for certain; you’re not going to be able to stay where you are for too long. Wrote Will Rogers,
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
Success is not a noun, but a verb. It should not be seen as a destination you reach, but instead, a way you live. You are successful as long as you’re pushing and stretching your own personal limits.
Hence, Dan Sullivan has said,
“We remain young to the degree that our ambitions are greater than our memories.”
Indeed, setting and striving for bigger and better ideals is something you should never stop doing; there’s always another mountain to climb.
The only question is: How far are you willing to go?
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