When I think of goals, I think of destinations on the map of life; places that we want to get to because we believe these places will provide us what we want. Having hard and fast goals in life is a good way for most people to set their sights on what they want to accomplish. Many of the most successful people in this world have maintained the efficacy of diligent goal setting as a means to focus on moving forward in life. Setting goals gives us a certain drive. It gives us something distant to focus on as we traverse the winding roads of life. The problem with goals as destinations, though, is that we cannot guarantee that we will be able to reach them, no matter how much effort or discipline we have. Life has a way of constantly sending us on unplanned detours that end up completely derailing our ability to achieve a goal we set or, we find that the goal we were trying to achieve is no longer something we want. This leads to a sense of failure, lost effort and a deflated sense of confidence, because everything we were doing was simply to achieve our destination.
With this in mind, here are 4 reasons that you should have a direction in life rather than a destination:
Moving in a direction is always possible. Achieving a destination is not.
Ugh. People don’t want to hear this shit. They want to visualize and achieve! They want to believe that, no matter what it is they set as a goal, they can attain it through hard work and diligence and patience and mantras and magic. Well, I am sorry to tell you, but there are some goals you are just not going to be able to achieve; through no fault of your own. While it is not always possible to achieve your goals, no matter how hard to try, it is always possible to maintain your direction. A destination is usually some external landmark we are trying to get to. A million dollars. A smoking hot girlfriend. A ripped body. Sadly, these things are not directly under your control no matter how hard you work for it. Focusing on a direction allows you to internalize your goals so that nothing is out of your control. It allows you to always make progress and making progress is what life is all about.
Direction allows you to enjoy the scenery.
Having a direction instead of a destination allows you to enjoy the ride. When we are focused on a particular goal we want to accomplish in life we can lose so much of the journey in the progress. We develop tunnel vision and see everything that is required to achieve our goal as nothing more than temporary stops to be endured so that we can get to where we want to be. The beauty of setting your direction in life is that everything can be a part of the journey and we don’t see anything as some meaningless stepping stone only passed because we need to get somewhere else. Living this way will never fill you up because you will spend a lot more time looking forward and not enough time looking around.
Direction celebrates all forward progress.
Having a direction in life instead of a destination allows you to always feel like you are moving forward, because you are. If we decide that financial stability is a direction we want to take in life, any movement we make towards that is something we can celebrate. We save. We can celebrate. We pay off a bill. We can celebrate. Anything is a celebration of our progress because every movement we make is a movement in the right direction and all we care about is moving in that direction. With a destination, we never feel we can celebrate that until we achieve the exact goal. This can lead to fading momentum and an eventual abandonment of our destination all together because we just feel all the work and none of the accomplishment.
Direction is malleable.
Having a direction allows for a lot of flexibility. We might find, while moving in the direction we want to take our lives, that we find something important to us that we never even considered. This might take our lives in a completely different direction, but one that is more relevant or important to what we want to accomplish. Direction is just a sense of where you want to go. Moving in that way allows for you to adjust quickly, be malleable, make adjustments and still make progress. By setting a direction you are less likely to get lost as you move forward because forward is always the way you want to go.
Life is full of twists and turns and detours and backroads. Destinations in the form of life goals can be a huge motivator to begin us moving towards what we want, but if we set our sights on a destination, we might never actually be able to get where we are going and the pains we suffer getting there might never let us celebrate the small victories to achieving our goals.
You see, a destination is a place you are going; a direction is a way of getting there. Moving towards a destination is much different than moving with direction. Moving with direction allows you to enjoy the ride and that is what this crazy life is all about!