On Not Having a Goal

I’m a very goal oriented person.  Everything I do is towards this or that short or long term goal, and anything else seems like wasteful fluff.  I’m pretty efficient at only doing things that advance toward my goals.  I used to feel bad for people who didn’t seem to have many goals, and would kind of float by, just taking in the scenery, with no real purpose to many of their actions.  Now I see something valuable in it.

How many of my goals arose just because I had nothing to focus on, craved it, and picked the first thing that seemed right?  I’ve put tons of energy into things that were goals almost for their own sake, not because I took the time to find it really resonated with me.  Certainly some things were gained and learned, but often in a haphazard, accidental way.  Contrast that with people I know who are slow to adopt a goal.  Sure, they have some long periods of aimlessness, but they are often taking the time to discover what they want and what goals are truly worthwhile.  When they find one, they are not as burnt out, and they’re ready to dive in.

That will never be me on an instinctual level, but I have definitely learned from observing such people to resist the urge to pick goals just to have them, and even be comfortable for periods without really clear goals.  This has helped the truly important things come into clearer focus, and let me hone in on a smaller number of more valuable goals.

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