What Happened After I Achieved My Life Goals?
I achieved all of my life goals eight years ago, two months before my 30th birthday.
Some would call that a success story, to be sure. I was on top of the world, or so it would seem. It turns out, achieving all of your life goals can be a terrible thing.
What I had achieved
I’m an easygoing person with simple goals. Since I was a young child, I only ever wanted three things:
- To tell stories for a living
- To have a family
- To be a martial arts instructor
That’s it. No million dollars, no sports cars. Not that those are not worthy objectives, they were just never my objectives. But having achieved success, I can see why people tell you to enjoy the journey, and why rich people are among some of the most depressed in the world.
In 2005, I got married and had my first child (I have three now). In 2010, I sold my first story and started a career as a storyteller. In 2012, I earned my second black belt and instructor’s certification in Jeet Kune Do.
I had achieved everything I had set out after. God, did it suck.
Why it was so bad
It’s a simple problem, really: once you have arrived, you have nowhere else to go.
Achieving everything ruined my desire to continue with my life’s work. Each story after the first was just another notch on the belt. Each martial arts lesson was just another group of entitled people who didn’t want to work as hard as they should — it really is lonely at the top.
The only thing I continued to find joy and fulfillment in was my family.
How I solved the problem
Finding new meaning is a difficult thing. I mean, I already got to where I wanted to go. Having another list of achievements would feel just as lackluster. Wouldn’t it?
So I flipped the script.
Instead of chasing new aspirations, I began sharing those aspirations with others. Over the past five years, I’ve given my daughter the tools and motivation she needed to get invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, trained four black belts, and helped build several businesses.
Changing my outlook from what I could achieve for myself to what I could help others achieve has fixed everything. No longer do I lament the lack of consistency toward goals I don’t care about.
There is no shortage of people out there for me to help. It’s work that I’m excited to do. And as someone who’s achieved everything they’ve ever wanted in life, let me tell you: excitement for what you do is everything.
Sign up for the Intrepid Journal, a newsletter dedicated to inspiring creativity.