How Goals Make Your Life Miserable (and what to do with it)

There is a problem with settings goals.

A goal is this beautiful place where you really want to be, but you’re not there yet. And that is a problem.

We address this problem differently.

Some of us just get upset about the fact, but never move towards the goal. They make peace with such circumstances where this beautiful and so desired place is not for them. Or they don’t make peace, and constantly fight with the unfairness of life. Still lingering in the belief that the beautiful place is not for them. And that it’s beautiful, or at least not as ugly as where they are right now.

Some become active. They start chasing the goal. Things around them loose any significance unless they make the beautiful place somewhat closer. They don’t stop. They can’t stop.
They turn into a tight lump of energy magnetically attracted to the goal. But the faster they move towards this beautiful place, the further it becomes.
It’s playing with the chaser.
Anybody who treats their goal as a prey is about to learn a painful lesson. It’s not a hunting game. And you’re not a predator.

Some decide not to have any goals. What a relief. What a luxury. There’s nowhere you need to be except for right here. Right now.
Maybe right here and right now is not such a beautiful place, but you are here already. You’re not lacking anything, really. Until you do.
Sooner or later you start falling apart. You’re a human being, you need gravity to remain who you are. You need something solid to support yourself against.
The joyful floating through life turns into painful degradation if it lasts too long.

So, do goals make us miserable? In a way, yes, I guess.
They do.
To want something that’s not yours, to pine for a place that you can’t reach is a recipe for a miserable life. So is complete rejection of any goals and destinations, efforts and progress in favor or free floating.

But what if we could stop focusing on the goals so much and learned to enjoy the process? What if we valued the journey not for the sake of the destination, but for the sake of the journey itself?

What if we didn’t become upset about the small income at the very start of a new business adventure and enjoyed the novelty of the experience?

Ok, you can’t buy a new Tesla right now, big deal. Maybe you even have to reconsider your Starbucks latte today, because… budget. Right now in your business you have a freedom to create something that never existed before. You can turn left, you can turn right, you can go straight or you can take a few steps back and watch what happens. In other words, you don’t have to race, you can dance. You have that freedom, so why not enjoy it? Why not play with it and let it show you the unique way that will lead you to success?

What if we didn’t frustrate about making mistakes in a new task and about the countless hours the new skill takes to be learned, and enjoyed the awesomeness of being able to do something new every day?

Just yesterday I had no idea how to create an app, and today – look! – I made a button. My own very first button. And it works! I don’t have the app yet, but how amazing is it that I made something from nothing. What a shame would it be to miss the experience. And what do I choose to focus on: the lack of my own app or the excitement of learning something new?

The key here is that you don’t have to exclusively grant importance to the goal or to the process. By enjoying the process you don’t reject the goal. In fact, it’s the other way around.

See, if you need to travel somewhere 500 miles away, it is inevitable that you cross a “10 miles” sign, and a “100 miles” sign. Yes, these signs show that you’ve not there yet. But they also show that you are getting there.
And which is more important at each of those signs there are landscapes, roads, people, architecture, nature, that you won’t see anywhere else. So why not enjoy them while progressing towards your destination instead of suffering the “not-yet-ness”?

The problem with goals is that we forget to enjoy our journey towards them. And this is the reason why so many goals don’t ever get achieved: we just get tired of suffering and stop the journey.

The good news is that the choice is always yours.

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