Should we be flexible enough to change our goals in life as we grow up? Isn’t this a natural phenomenon? Goal setting is a great concept, but it should not make us rigid in our thinking and behavior. Often, we need to view things objectively and change our goal posts and reorient the path of our lives in order to progress collectively as a family/society or nation.
Let’s cross the bridge when we come to it – such a beautiful concept that liberates us from the stress of detailed planning. It gives us the leeway to expect the unexpected. It makes us factor in something as wonderful as the miracles of life. We can park our worries for the time being and focus on enjoying and experiencing this beautiful moment of life now.
Yet, we are all creatures of routine. We wake up at a certain time every day, report for work punctually and get about the business of earning our bread and butter with briskness. Things have to be done. There is always a lot to be done and within the blink of an eye, the day has whizzed past us.
We are all educated enough to understand the value of goal setting in our lives. We all have our fair share of dreams. Some will openly share it, and for others, it will be a closely guarded secret. They will work on their dreams quietly because they want to direct all their energy into realizing it one beautiful day.
We want to make our lives count. We want to spend our time on efforts which are worth our while. We all read inspiration on a routine basis. At the end of our lives, we do not want to find that we were so busy climbing the ladder of success that we failed to notice that it was leaning against the wrong ladder all the time.
In fact, a thinkable suggestion would be to create a vision for ourselves for about 5 or 10 years at a time. What do I want to do 10 years from now? This will force us to think about our job satisfaction level. If we are content with our jobs, we would think about – where do I want to be 10 years from now- which would make us plot our financial goals – of maybe buying our own house. What kind of life do I want to live 10 years from now? A healthy life? A more lavish lifestyle? A more relaxed pace of life? A life of retirement? A life where I could take at least one fort night’s break to a destination of my choice in a year? Different people different dreams!
The best part of having to bite sized goals is that we can create the next milestone based on our current experience. For young children – the most important goal would be to clear all their exams with great marks. Whether they yearn to become sports stars or artists or journalists – the basic foundation is sound academic qualifications. Ask them about their long term goals at this stage…….and they make take a while to come to an answer – but they will have something to say.
We all know that by the time they really get around to realizing their goal/dream – a lot of major changes would have taken place around the world. So, even as they sincerely discuss their goals with us – we know that it sounds a tad immature. But we indulge them……..we simply don’t feel like puncturing their happiness and exposing them to the bitter practical reality of an ever changing world.
Ask youngsters who have just started working professionally about their goals, and they will immediately say it is to become financially stable. Maybe they will scrimp and save so that they can take that dream holiday of theirs. Several people save every penny that they earn so that they can set up their own enterprise after they are financially stable. Many youngsters work on their jobs during the day and go about creating their own online enterprise after they return home.
Ask the person in his 30s or 40s about his goal – and he is bound to say – it is to devote as much time as possible with his family and to ensure that his children get good quality education.
Around the 50s the goal will be to take that well-deserved break and go for a long holiday – maybe even take a year off from work to travel. Their goal will now shift to maintaining their health.
And when we are 60+, the orientation and time for spirituality will maybe become a prime goal of life. At this age, they have experienced the richness of life – the goodness of good money, great relationships, grand holidays and great bonds of friendship. They may have faced an equal number of setbacks in their life so far and may have understood that ultimately the challenges have to be faced squarely. But a big dose of faith in themselves and more importantly faith in a higher force helped them along the path.
At this stage, people will look at youngsters with amusement. When they see such youngsters painting rosy idealistic pictures with lofty goals – they are able to relate to it because they had experienced the euphoria of all of this when they were young.
They have gained a lot of maturity over the years and know that there is no harm in setting goals in one’s life – as long as one is flexible enough to keep changing the goal posts now and then.
The 80+-year-old seniors have only a single purpose in their life now – of helping as many people as possible in whatever measure they can whenever it is possible to do so. They want to give back all that they got from this world. Ultimately, they realize that they are neither going to take any of their material possessions or relationships along with them when they take that final journey to the next realm. So, they define the goal of their life into breathing positive energy into all the things that they do. They will bless the money that they donate; they will bless the work that others are doing and bless the man who is worried sick about his enterprise.
Unfortunately, most of us do not have such goal posts in our life. We do not believe in crossing the bridge when we come to it. That looks like a lot of chaos to us and we stick on the comfort of our comfort zones. We will once and for all create a goal or a few goals in our life and then will go about chasing it mindlessly. We will hang our hearts and our souls out to dry in the process. One house, two houses, money, more money, one enterprise, expansion, more enterprises……leading to more employment and more wealth generation and then we will employ others to manage our enterprise and our wealth.
We breathe, live and eat our goals 24x7x 365 for the best part of our lives only to realize that we have lost more than what we have gained along the way. Broken relationships, a conscience that has been trained to overlook all the ethics and principles and values of life, children who are so distant and remote despite living under the same roof – children who treat us as complete aliens from another planet……….and the blinding flash of realization strikes us too late.
Perhaps, our struggles pushed us to this extreme. But we all know, that life is one big struggle for every one of us. We chose to block out everything else. We refused to listen to sage counsel when it was given by caring family members. Our goal was the only thing that mattered – and now we are left with only our goal and nothing else.
No, the picture is not so rosy. Neither is it excited and displayed in unproportionate dimensions. That is the reality, and we just hope to get the message across in black and white. Hopefully, it will have a ripple effect and bring about some change in the thinking pattern of our overzealous youngsters.