The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving. Oliver Wendell Holmes
Many of us must be reasonably happy that we have a comfortable life, possibly a reasonable bank balance and a harmonious family life. Yet there could be times when we find ourselves restless, rudderless and rootless causing both anguish and distress because we are unable to pin point the exact cause of our frustrations. Our frustrations are not so much of our fear of the future as much as it is because we are unable to chart our progress in a planned, focused and goal bound manner. For the fortunate few, life will go on in a serene and placid way even if they do nothing, but they will always be frustrated by their inability to effectively leverage their time and talents.
The biggest frustration for people is their inability to identify and define their personal goals in life. Some goals look too intimidating, other goals look too insignificant, still others lack the flair and panache to sufficiently tantalize us but for the vast majority we are clueless as to what we really want to achieve. To compound our problems, we undervalue our personal strengths, over emphasize our perceived weakness, constantly worry about the hand that fate will deal us in the days to come and are forever looking around us to see what others have and what we don’t. In this rigmarole of lack of confidence, insecurity and envy of others we lose focus on the future we need to chalk out for our self fulfillment and instead let ourselves into believing that our future is preordained and that we cannot alter it. This is both a safe and convenient option but unfortunately a very frustrating option.
One effective way to chalk out our future is to set a long term tangible goal, align it with a personal passion and a lofty ideal while never losing sight of our strengths, weaknesses and potential. This will ensure that you are pragmatic in setting up your goal, realistic in chalking out the direction of your life and insulate yourself against frustrations and disappointments along the way because a personal passion is involved and a lofty ideal eggs you on. A long term goal must always be supplemented by short term goals that ensure that one is on track, helps one be motivated by monitoring the progress and facilitates realignment of goals if needed by reviewing the progress.
A sense of achievement is perhaps the greatest motivation for the human race. The conquests of the kings of ancient times were an expression of this inner urge that directed their actions. If Alexander the Great took pride in conquering the world, King Ashoka was motivated by a desire to give it all up to follow his heart. Take a wide spectrum of people be it athletes, scientists, politicians or film stars the common thread that binds all of them is their quest to attain recognition for their achievements. We too crave to be recognized for our achievements big or small. Setting our course towards those activities that give us a great high and sense of achievement would perhaps be another effective way of ensuring personal progress and success.
Remember: “In no direction that we turn do we find ease or comfort. If we are honest and if we have the will to win we find only danger, hard work and iron resolution.” Wendell L. Willkie
- Irrespective of what age you are evaluate the progress of your life in 20 year spans i.e upto the age of 20, from 20-40, from 40-60 and beyond. Recollect your childhood dreams/ goals and see if you went close to attaining it. Ask yourself why you are where you are today. Is it because you didn’t set the direction right or because you lost steam on the way or were you indecisive and slipshod on the way? Also ask yourself how you can realign your goals and reset the course of your life forward.
- Jot down specific details of what would have made you/ will make you happy if you had to specify the following for the various 20 year spans of your life.
- Money (how much) at the age of 20, 40, 60,80
- House (describe your ideal house)
- Spouse (describe him/her)
- Job (as much details of it you have in mind)
- Personal non professional activity (like charity/ playing golf/ teaching the under privileged etc.)
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