We need to think ahead. To look around. To be aware of more than we think we need to be aware, of. Or if we can't think ahead, to set goals for ourselves to keep check on our progress through life. Like when you are out in the wilderness, you need to pick a landmark ahead in order to avoid going in circles, or simply getting lost.
George Carlin said that if you are an artist you have a responsibility to always be going somewhere. "An artist has an obligation to be, 'on route'. To be going somewhere. There's a journey involved here. And you don't know where it is and that's the fun."
I think that is something in life that's important for everyone, really.
I've found that the best way to do this (for me) is in three levels:
- Choose a goal for the day, week or the month, depending on your life and lifestyle.
- Choose a goal for the year, a mid-range goal.
- And finally, choose a goal for the next five to ten years, or even a more long term goal.
Adjust these as fits your own life. The point isn't to do what I say here, but to do what best increases the quality of your own life and therefore, the lives of those near you.
Choose a lifetime goal, but I find that those seem to change too easily with trends in the country, society, your work situation, partner in life, and so on. It's good to have an overall lifetime goal to shoot for, but realistically, things just change on you.
When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut. Then more realistically in Junior High I was leaning toward Jet Pilot. By the time I got out of High School, I was looking at some kind of behind the scenes work in government and so, I joined the military.
But things changed during that period, to make a long story short. I learned things I hadn't known. That I couldn't have known until I got into the situation. Reality set in. And so in my case, I ended up leaving the Military and going to a University. I got a degree in a vast lifestyle change, in Psychology. From there I got married, we had a child and life changed again. I remarried, suddenly found myself with a new life partner and another child. I thought that finally I had found my path and it would be like that till the end.
But then things unforeseen changed on me again and that situation too ended. Whether or not I remained married, the kids would eventually grow up and leave and maybe start their own families, or certainly, their own lives. There is no stopping change. And therefore there is no setting goals that will never change in life.
We have to update, learn, alter things, to find tune them. Make good and informed decisions in life and make the best of what Life throws at you. And one of the ways to doing that, is to have goals. But not just a single goal. Don't abandon your goals, don't give up on them, but do adjust them as is necessary and most productive for you and your life as it evolves through time.
If your goal is to marry someone and have a family, but you find major elements in your life have changed, maybe you find that you really hate kids, or you come out of the closet, or you find you're a serial killer, or a politician; these are cases in which you shouldn't stick to your original goal(s) but you should update things so that you are on the best path for you and your loved ones, and hopefully, society at large.
Life is about living. But it is also about learning and thinking and choices. It never hurts to have a path to follow and to be able to handle whatever comes at you while you are upon that path.
I wish you all the best of luck on your own path. And luck is not always a random thing in life. We can cultivate it and it definitely plays a part in where we are headed and where we end up. Luck and random opportunities in life have a lot to do with who makes it and who does not.
But that is another topic altogether.
May you choose to steer yourself toward the best opportunities possible that can and will be available to you. Remember that when opportunity comes, you have to be ready to accept it. Accepting it means change and change can be scary and disruptive. Be ready for it and don't shy away when it is really the best choice for you. Too often people only see their opportunities in life much, much later, when it is far too late. Live your life to revel in your choices and not regret you indecisions.
Just remember to choose and adjust your goals in life. Position yourself to be "lucky". Grab opportunity as it presents itself to you.
In closing I'll just say, all the best to you my friends. May Luck smile on you. And may you smile back.