What we think we want and what we truly want are two very different things.
After more than 12 years of going through the school system, we are all prepped and ready to pick a career. Most of the time not because we really know what we want but because the system dictates so. And most of the time since we were kept on a leash and so busy trying to fit inside a predefined path, frankly we have no clue what our next step should be. After you’ve been trained through a funnel-like process most of your life and had more or less anticipated a path or next steps with defined rules of what you need to accomplish in order to move up the food chain (grades, diploma, football team etc.) when it’s time to face the empty playing field things all of a sudden change.
And what is the first thing our untrained minds do? We cling on to the first system that is presented to us again (college, masters, phd, a clear established career path) because we are afraid of not knowing and being confused. Funny enough is that all of us collectively go through this phase but somehow we think that we are unique in our distress.
People in their 20’s (and not only) often mistake and confuse “means goals” with “end goals”.
We think getting into an Ivy League College, getting hired as financial broker making 500.000 $ or becoming a tech startup founder will make us happy. Now think about it, when you were a kid were these really your aspirations or were they later molded into your consciousness by what you thought would make you stand out in the world? Most likely you were dreaming about traveling the world, exploring new places, drawing art, creating toys, meeting new people, writing stories, studying nature or honing in on any of your particular curiosities, or any other similar spin-offs.
Let’s say you want to visit Paris, your favorite city. That is your end goal. Your company is putting up a contest for best employee of the month to win a free trip for two to Paris. Winning this contest is a means goal, it’s not the final outcome you are looking for but it’s one of the many ways you can reach your ultimate destination.
We are all looking for fulfillment but due to the funnel system that our brains have been subjected to so many years, we are trained to think in means rather than in ends.
When you start asking yourself what people do you want to be surrounded by, what skills do you really want to learn, what places do you want to visit, what do you want to contribute with, what lifestyle do you want to have, you will start skipping the “means” steps that are actually taking you further away from these things. Once you start thinking like this, you will realize that the in-between stages of getting to your end goal are numerous and they will accelerate towards what really matters the most.
A powerful individual has a strong vision for his life. All the rest are strategies to achieve that bigger vision. The vision is non-negotiable and the strategies are interchangeable. The problem occurs when people start holding on to bad strategies and negotiate their vision instead.
What holds people back is asking HOW AND WHEN when in reality they should actually be asking WHAT AND WHY.
Realistic people look at what they have right now and project where they could be one year from now. Visionaries look at where they want to be and direct all their resources into that. The first type of people try to forecast a complete A-Z plan and stick to it. When they get stuck at step “G” everything falls apart. The latter plan 2–3 steps ahead and then they learn and adapt while on the road.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” -Buckminster Fuller
Ask yourself what you truly want because whenever you are in a rut you will see that your mind will figure out a different path to get to that end goal, to what really matters. Don’t get sucked in the “means” goals and don’t get caught up in them when they are in your way because they are not important.
Means goals always assume a delay, a sort of kidnapping from the present moment.
50 years from now what do you think would have mattered more?
How and When? or What and Why?
Most people are not unhappy because they go through the means goals, we all go through them.
Happy people cherish each experience either way because they see the stepping stones as interchangeable, they live in the present moment.
The unhappy ones are those that chase the things they don’t need to get what they really want and when they get stuck they beat themselves up thinking “this is it”.