Google will be able to give you every kind of plan and resource when it comes to goal setting. This era of self-help has allowed people who are very good at organizing every possible thing a market to live off of. I’m not saying anything against all of that; SMART goals have their merits and I’ll admit I’ve filled out my share of worksheets. Speaking from experience though, I find that it is incredibly difficult to put the things I want to do and accomplish in a category or compartment, especially since my reasons for doing it are always changing.
Setting goals can be both the best and worst thing we can do. Yes, it does allow us to develop a road map and give us something to work towards. It at least keeps us productive and makes sure all of our efforts aim towards something much greater down the road.
At the same time, it can cloud our vision so much that we can miss opportunities that may change our entire outlook. We become so honed in, so focused on one singular outcome and point of arrival that we can neglect opportunity passing us by.
Consider driving a car down a foggy highway. Clearly, what concerns us most is the stretch of road lying directly in front of us. We make sure that it’s clear, and the more we focus on those several yards in front of us, the more we forget about what is going on outside of that little area.
In the same stretch of clear highway, we are able to see all that we were missing when we had just been focusing on the road in front. We can go by the same stretch of land and see things that grab our attention enough to make us stop, look and experience. There may not be a clear reason why we would make a stop, sometimes our curiosity is enough of an excuse. Our stop is short, but no matter how it goes, we make it a point to hop back on the road and continue the way we were going.
Granted, we probably get to where we want to much faster (and safer) by simply staying the course like we were when the fog was present.
In either case, what mattered most is that we kept making positive progress. We end up taking different roads to arrive at the same destination, but the manner in which we got there was completely different. The person at the end of that journey is much different in both scenarios. The stories you tell, your perspectives on the people you meet along the way, all of that changes because you were willing to sidetrack yourself, if at least only for a little while.
Success is rarely (if ever) a straight line. It is dependent not only on the individual but the circumstances surrounding her/him. Someone may have some of the best intentions and work ethic, but may not see or find the opportunity to allow her/his talents to flourish. What we may think is our best option at any point in time may only be the stepping stone to something that is truly made for us, not just something we “kind of” fit into or want.
If time and experience reveals a different road to take, let yourself make that change. It makes no sense to fight against it out of loyalty to some road that has been prescribed to you by generations past. That was their road to take. You, and only you, will have to live with the journey that you allow yourself to experience.
No one gets out of here alive my friends. We should give ourselves something greater to aspire to, and we should definitely do all we can to make that version of ourselves. Don’t resist or panic as you come off of that highway to investigate what those other opportunities might bring; so long as we get back on that highway and keep moving forward, we will always find ourselves exactly where we are supposed to be.