Work toward your goals.
We all have an idea of success in our heads. Personally I have three. I would like to start and run a small business. I would like to write for a living. I would like to travel the world and work from wherever. These are pretty lofty goals.
When I think about them, I tend to think that I just need to get there to be happy. I just need to open up a bar or write a great book or quit my job and move to Europe. It seems like there is always that one thing you need to be happy.
We start to develop this perfect idea of our ideal lives in our head. I think, if only I could start that restaurant, everything will be happy and perfect. We get these ideas of what “success” is, but they never seem to come true. Even if we do achieve our goals, there is always something else we need. We crave change and excitement.
I’ve spent a lot of time doing this. When I was a kid all I wanted to do was get out of my hometown and go to college. I couldn’t wait for this big new thing that was going to change my life. I spent more time thinking about what it would be like that I forgot to enjoy my time in high school.
Then I went to college. It was fun, but nothing really different. I was older and learning more and in a different town, but that didn’t matter. So then I graduated and decided that I needed to move out of the state and to a whole new part of the country.
I did. I drove across the country all alone to try this whole new world. I got a job, found a place to live, and made some friends. Then I realized that it’s still pretty much the same. I live in a new place and know different people, but life is still the same as usual.
Recently I’ve been tired of the cubicle life. I start making plans and have thoughts about opening my own business or traveling the world. I think of how awesome it will be when I get there. I think about how all I need to do is start that perfect business idea or come up with the great book idea.
I spend so much time thinking about this stuff that I forget to enjoy my day to day life. I forget that I have things pretty good. I have some great friends and a good job. I can still work toward these goals, but I need to stop dreaming about the future and start living in the present.
This is part of the reason why I started writing “Surviving the Cubicle”. I just needed to get going on something instead of thinking about it.
See where I’m going here? We’re never going to find that one thing that makes life perfect. We can never be complacent. Whenever we achieve something we find something new to look forward to. I think a lot of people are just like me. They spend too much time thinking about how great things will be once they “succeed”, but there is really no such thing. It’s all just about doing what it takes to make yourself happy.
If you want to quit your job or start a business or write a novel or buy a house or whatever, you just have to start working on it.
What I’m saying is that success is not the end goal, but the process of getting there. If you can enjoy yourself along the way you’ll truly be happy.
So stop thinking about the future. Stop dreaming of a perfect lifestyle where everything will be easy. It doesn’t exist. If you want something, start working your way there. Set realistic goals and get them done.
The future will get here fast enough so enjoy the present while you still can.