I used to have a goal in life. Not that I don’t have goals anymore, but in this case, I am referring to a specific goal. I had a goal of a job/career that I wanted to do. And lately in my life I’ve become frustrated because I felt like I’ve been straying away from this goal, this end-state that I desired. I wanted to be a fancy, big-shot, network engineer. I wanted to work for a big company, maybe do a little traveling, and generally be somebody important.

But what I’ve started to realize as I’ve come a few steps closer to that goal was that I didn’t like the life that surrounded it. I’m not comfortable with a lot of travel, I’m not willing to relocate, and I don’t like the idea of the long hours it would take to reach that goal. And that was making me mad. I was mad and upset because I wasn’t reaching my goal, even though I didn’t like the life it required. This has really been bothering me for some time. I was wanting to do X, but felt stuck doing Y, and I was frustrated.

But I just read this article. And it struck me that what I’ve been doing is actually a much better thing. That article discusses a letter Hunter S. Thompson wrote regarding how to find meaning in your life. And what the author, Maria Popova, discusses in that article and Thompson’s letter is the subject of fixed goals. You set a fixed goal in life, yet you are not in a fixed position in life; your perspective is constantly changing. When you focus on a fixed goal such as a career, you are going to be forced to mold yourself around that goal, changing who you are to achieve that fixed target.

Hunter S. Thompson purposes that it is much better to focus on being yourself. Focus on the life you want to live, and pick goals that are aligned with that life. I’m not saying that changing yourself to reach a goal is a bad thing. Without that change, we would have no self improvement. What I am saying is do not try to force yourself into a mold just because it looks cool, or it’s what everyone says you should do. Focus on the life you want, pick goals in line with that, and you will be much happier. For me, I don’t want to relocate to a big city, I don’t want to travel (a lot), I want flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life balance, I want to serve my Church and spend time with my family. If that means I can’t have that fancy job, so be it. I don’t want the life that goes with that decision.

I’ll pick a new goal, aligned with the life I want.

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