I’m an ambitious person. When I want something I go after it with laser focus, and I work hard enough that I usually get it. So, over the years I’ve developed a sense that I can achieve pretty much whatever goal I put my mind to. That should be a good thing, right?
That kind of focused drive works wonders when your goals are closely aligned with what you actually want. Work feels like play. Energy abounds. Ideas flow freely.
However, that kind of striving is draining if your goals aren’t in alignment with what you really want. The pursuit feels forced. Each step is laboured with lead-heavy legs. It’s exhausting. I bet you know what this feels like. I’m guessing so because many of us set goals that are really out of whack with our true desires.
Why would we do this to ourselves? Why on earth would anyone work toward a goal that’s not aligned with what they really want?
Sometimes we blindly strive for things we think we want, or things we think we should want, which may or may not be what we actually do want.
Crazy, I know. But it’s easier than you think to confuse those things.
The next time you’re pursuing a goal, ask yourself, Is this what I really, truly, want? Be honest.
I don’t really want to do this MBA. It’s making me sick. I’d love to take a photography class instead.
I don’t even want this promotion. My boss looks miserable. I don’t want to end up like her. Why am I even bothering to apply?
Maybe I should forget about going for partner at the firm. I rarely see my kids as it is.
I don’t want to keep pouring money into a failing business. A steady job would feel so much better.
If you’re chasing after something because you’re looking for approval or status or because it’s what’s expected of you, it’s just not worth it. You’ll get to the finish line and think, This is it? This is what I killed myself for? Talk about anticlimactic.
We’re a goal-obsessed society. Stronger, better, faster. More, more, more. Striving and driving and pushing and climbing. There’s nothing wrong with ambition. Ambition is wonderful! But only when it’s aligned with what you really want.
You only live once, and your life is too important to waste it chasing after things that just don’t matter.