On goals

Almost any goal no matter how impossible, insurmountable or ludicrous it seems at the start, is in fact achievable. There are a few essential ingredients when combined yield the ability to achieve almost any goal. The first ingredient is self discipline; it is arguably the most important skill one can learn. Mastering self discipline is in fact the key to most of the successes in life. One has to be in control of oneself at all times, physically and mentally. With self discipline comes mental fortitude, the ability to handle adverse psychological conditions and unexpected stresses without straying off the path to a goal. 

The second ingredient, which arises out of mental fortitude, is persistence, the ability to continue striving towards the goal in the face of adverse situations and circumstances. Most meaningful goals take time to achieve so it is essential to develop the mental fortitude to persevere day after day making incremental gains until the goal is achieved.

The last ingredient is consistency. As mentioned previously, most meaningful goals take time to achieve but the only way to achieve them is to put forth a consistent effort over a sustained period of time. The most important aspect to consider is that every goal must be approached with a day by day mindset. The total length of a goal should be disregarded but rather the focus should be on each individual day and what can be achieved, improved or gained within a single day to help propel one towards the goal. When a consistent effort is put in every day, the days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months, the months turn into years and the years turn into decades. The simple principle of “taking it day by day” will lead to incredible results over a longer period of time. 

Setting goals is of paramount importance in life because it gives us a mental roadmap to achieve personal development and fulfillment. Once a goal is achieved, one realizes that rarely in life is achieving the goal as fulfilling or glorious as one has made it out to be in the mind. I have learned that as cliche and possibly counterintuitive as it may be, the journey towards realizing the goal is where the optimal amount of knowledge, fulfillment and achievement occurs. The journey truly is better than the destination. There are discrete instances in life where achieving the actual goal leads to a feeling of great achievement and fulfillment. But more often than not, one realizes after achieving the goal that the feeling of extreme elation and happiness one imagined somehow always seems to escape them. Happiness is an emotional state and as with all non-pathological emotional states, it is fleeting. There is a measure of happiness and elation but it is somehow never lives up to what was imagined. The reason I surmise is that a large part of the achievement and fulfillment occurs during the journey to reach the goal.

When taken as a whole, the journey plus the destination, the total amount of happiness, fulfillment and elation, would likely equal the amount that is imagined by arriving at the destination. The obvious conclusion from all this is that the journey towards a goal should be relished and enjoyed rather than be thought of as a necessary nuisance or a chore simply to achieve the goal. Learning to derive satisfaction, pleasure and enjoyment out of the process of achieving a goal is the ultimate route to maximizing fulfillment and satisfaction in addition to optimizing the acquisition of knowledge. The global focus should always be on the goal in order to prevent one from staying off course however the quotidian focus should be on the journey towards the goal and how to get the most out of the journey itself.