There is a zone between “reaching for the stars” and “biting off more than you can chew” in which we accomplish the most toward our life goals, with the most joy in the process. It is a very personal zone. In it there is a blending of things like
- social support
- needs and desires of those we love
- government policies
- interest and desires of others
- discretionary time
Another major source of impact is how you think about activities and choices.
- Are your goals both broad and specific?
- Are you thinking long term, but still being flexible toward the unexpected?
- How do you think about the daily tasks needed to move toward the goals?
- Have you taken time to understand the unavoidable dynamics of the world around you? (the concepts of economics covers more than money, as is explained in this article about The Nature and Significance of Economic Education. One good quote is “Without the subtlety conferred by the subjective perspective, the market process appears to consist of endless sequences of exchanges. From the subjective perspective, however, it becomes possible (if not indeed imperative) to recognize the market process as involving processes of mutual discovery (to use a Hayekian phrase) on the part of market participants.”)
- Do you have the confidence in your choices to keep you from being battered by the unexpected reactions, misunderstandings, and sheer brutality of others?
None of this should be misconstrued to think I am recommending a selfish approach to reaching goals. At least not in the terms of arrogantly disregarding how others are affected. We all operate out of self-interest, but it is not impossible to balance that with humility and active concern for others. However, we each have desires and opportunities that are unique to us. If we work on finding a place where we are constantly stimulated to achieve, but not paralyzed by the impossible, we can feed a perpetual energy from within. It shouldn’t be like walking a tight rope. Rather it should be like hiking on a pleasantly invigorating path, that is not always necessarily well marked, but you know the general direction. Do things like
- understand the role of guilt in our lives
- explain to ourselves specifically how a certain choice is beneficial or not (i.e. my recent list of fall garden clean-up motivators)
- engage in continual learning about the area of interest
- evaluate your frustrations without getting depressed or unreasonably blaming others (even if others did do some damage, be able to move on)
- find a rhythm of rest and work that is maintainable
One of my favorite songs is titled “Joy in the Journey” by Michael Card. We don’t know what each day will bring, but we can have a plan to help us make the most of it. There is joy to be found in the big and the small steps toward our goals, even as those goals get adjusted by unpredictable currents of life.