It’s not that big of a deal.
We set goals like throwing out a life preserver into a river. Like the last hope for our lives, if we don’t catch it then who knows what will happen. I’m going to run this race, win this match, make this money, get the prize, win the day…If it’s the last thing I do.
Goals simply aren’t that important.
So what if you don’t win? Who cares if you aren’t first? What does it matter if you don’t make it to the finish line? If it’s really about you, about your growth, your improvement, your betterment, then the goal means nothing. It’s simply a tangible marker in the march toward progress in whatever direction you are consciously seeking to explore. Not achieving the goal can be as important as achieving it if we have any idea what it is we are consciously pursuing.
But most of us don’t. We’re so wrapped up in the pursuit of a goal that we forget why we are achieving it in the first place. The un-questioned, un-challenged, dogmatic drive to achieve something blinds us to any consideration of the futility of its attainment. Reinforced by the fact that, when we do cross the finish line, it is the first thing we forget in the frantic search for another goal to achieve. Up for a small breath and back to drowning.
The goal isn’t the life preserver.
Getting to the other side provides no more safe harbor than the ground you stand on at the moment. And, if you refuse to acknowledge where you stand, you shouldn’t be surprised if it feels like it is becoming less and less solid. You feel less and less connected. A failed vessel sinking in the river, surrounded by life preservers just out of reach.
Goals just aren’t that important. You are.
Those things you’ve earned in the pursuit, the lessons you’ve learned in your shortfalls, the perspective you’ve garnered in the fire of pain, the time you got up, when you kept believing, not in the potential achievement of some subjective end point, but in yourself. When you stop to consider the reason you’re pursuing the goals in the first place, you might just realize you aren’t drowning, you’re not even in the water. You’re actually standing on pretty solid ground, and wherever you choose to pursue, the foundation you have built is always there to support you.