There’s No End Goal; It’s a Way of Life
Remember when you were young and had ideas about what you wanted to be when you grew up?
Maybe you’re going through that now, or maybe you’ve allowed life to wash away the vibrancy of it all. You took someone’s masterclass, joined the 5 AM Club, and got a t-shirt that says “hustle hard!”
My sympathies. Truly.
Why the question matters
We answer that question — what we want to be — often with a career choice. There’s nothing wrong with that. But is that really all there is to it?
The question is hardly ever phrased: what do you want to do when you grow up?
It’s always: what do you want to be?
The distinction is important.
Who you are is more important than any series of monotonous actions that bring an income. In fact, the more you allow monotony to set into your life, the more you wash away who you are.
I wanted to be a martial artist. That was it. Instructor? Sure. Stunt-man? Maybe. Professional fighter? Why not? It didn’t matter so much what I did with it; what mattered was that I was the thing that inspired me to get up in the morning.
Where did you go wrong
So you wanted to be an all-star athlete, but here you are, fat, middle-aged, working a desk job. Where did you go wrong?
You got specific. You took that goal of getting better at whatever your thing was and made it S.M.A.R.T. — I hope the seminar didn’t cost too much.
Why would you take a way of life and turn it into a goal? Being an athlete, a storyteller, a soldier…whatever…is not something you arrive at one day, having achieved the goal and collecting the trophy. This isn’t Monopoly.
Work it out
Fortunately, it’s an easy fix when you’re this lost. You flip the question:
When did I stop being me?
It could be when you took a job, fell under the wing of a mentor, or got into a relationship. You may not like the answer because the answer will tell you what you have to change to get back to who you are.
Here’s a cautionary tale: I had a relationship almost twenty years ago. I had two jobs but wasn’t interested in moving up — I didn’t associate my identity with my job. So long as I had money to attend martial arts classes at the end of the day, I was golden.
My girlfriend called me lazy. She said I would never amount to anything. Here’s where I went wrong: I believed her.
It took me almost two decades to get back to myself. I wasn’t lazy, and I amounted to exactly who I wanted to be: someone who lived for his passion. So what if I didn’t drive a Lexus?
Turn off hustle radio, stop letting algorithms tell you what to think, and for God’s sake, don’t set a S.M.A.R.T. goal for your life’s purpose. It’s a life purpose. Are you planning on dying after? I hope not. That means it’s not a one-time thing. It’s a way of life.
You don’t arrive at it. You live it.
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