When I was in my late teens, I read somewhere that I should set my life goals. In that book, which I now cannot remember, it was suggested that the way to do it was to imagine yourself as an old person, on your deathbed. Imagine that all your limbs and eyes and ears dont work any more and all that you have working is your brain. Since you cannot see, hear or speak, all you have is your memories. So try and be “remember” the things that you would have done in your life.
“Remember” the day you graduated from college,the first job and your dream job; the first car you drove and the dream car you ended up in, remember your dream house and your wedding day and so on.
As you do, write these things down and they would become your life goals. When I had done this, I went so far as to cost my dream house and dream car and so on (factoring in inflation and such). Then I asked myself how much I should be making to buy my house in 10 years/ 20 years and so on. I used that as my motivation to work hard – at some points working two or three jobs.
Where I grew up, there was a saying that in effect was “make your plans but allow for God to change them.” Things for me never panned out as I planned. I have got some of the things on my life goals and others I am still working towards. I have got things that I never planned for that I realise are critically useful to my life. Most importantly, the experiences that I have had in the process of all of these are invaluable.
It has been challenging in that journey, when you realise that you are not moving. It has been painful to sometimes feel like my friends and peers are achieving their goals way faster than me, while I am mark timing.
“Will I ever make it?” “Can’t I find a fairy God mother, some good samaritan, some wealthy person to die and live me all their wealth so that I can short cut my way into my dreams?”
These and many other questions have plagued me from time to time – especially during those times I suffer set backs (that rejection letter, that tender I lost, that unexpected broke period that seems to last for years – even though its days or months).
In those times, I have needed to call myself out of my worries – literally grab one of my ears and speak to myself and remind myself to focus on whats inportant. To get off my ass and leave my self-pity behind and do what I can just then. To stop looking too far outwards and focus inwards. To listen to messages and to read things that remind me to focus. For me, Joel Osteen has been one of the most useful resources in that respect.
I speak often to younger folk who get frustrated by their goals – they get so much so they want to just chuck it all and do whats easier. At least then their hearts won’t hurt so much. I have seen people get disillusioned by the direction that their lives have taken.
“By now I should have been driving.”
“I had planned to have my Masters by the time I was 25. Now I am 32 and no Masters.”
“My last quarter’s goals failed…”
These thoughts cause such anguish in people’s lives. They paralyse them because they ask themselves, why plan. They embitter and cause one to lose focus.
Lesson 10: Life Goals are guidelines not hard plans written on stone. We have to allow for God and for life experiences to add value or course correct as you proceed through life.