With so many promoting the goal-seeking attitude, have you thought of why they are so important?
Burger King Drive-Thru
I’ve been told I’m obsessed with goals. Goals, goal setting, achieving goals, etc. You know, the whole shebang.
And while it’s partly true, I didn’t want to be one of those guys. You know, the guys that people hate because they are constantly talking about how to get better at something.
Sure it’s great to aspire to great things, but talk about it too much and it gets annoying, like the guy in the group who won’t stop talking about his football team, or the girl who never shuts up about what she just bought while shopping.
So, I think, if I’m going to be obsessed with goals, there had better be a good reason, and while driving through a Burger King Drive-Thru, I found my answer.
This Is It?
Maybe she was just having a bad day. Maybe it was the fact that she was working the night shift at a 24-hour drive-thru, where the drunken night crowd is double the customers they get during the day.
In any case, it was just the look on her face that gave it away. She hated where she was at. It was the kind of look that showed resignation, the look of having given up some time ago and settling for where she was at.
It was then that I realized why I care so much about having goals, about having a path to follow.
It wasn’t her job, I have respect for those working in fast food trying to make some money. A job is a job as they say, and sometimes you can’t afford to be picky.
No, it was that look. I’ve seen that look on other people, with other jobs, at other places. It’s a look that shows either one or a mixture of two things.
- The lack of a direction, a goal, an objective.
- The lost sense of passion to work towards a certain goal.
It’s the look that whatever they do at that job, they will not move forward. They are stuck. Maybe it comes from ignorance on setting goals and going after them, or maybe they’ve just been beaten so many times they are just ready to give up.
In any case, they can’t get out of it.
What Does A Goal Do?
Remember when you were younger and you started working during the summers? How sometimes the job would not be fun at all, or the pay horrible. But you stuck with it. You stayed with it because it was temporary. It was a momentary thing that sought to fulfill some goal.
Maybe it was wanting a car. Or a new fashion for the next school year. You had a reason for working so hard. A reason that meant something to you.
It pushed you through whatever crap you had to deal with.
The Indiana Jones movies are famous for their over-the-top action sequences in which Indy must overcome some obstacle in order to get an ancient artifact or treasure.
Now, imagine if there wasn’t a Holy Grail. There wasn’t a Temple of Doom, and there sure as heck weren’t any crystal skulls. Imagine Indiana Jones just did these obstacles as an everyday routine. He had to get up at a certain time to run away from a giant boulder. Had to meet up with somebody before lunch to have a brawl, and had to escape a trap room filled with bugs before leaving at 3.
This might be pretty fun at first. He would probably get better at doing each thing and quickly become an expert.
But the job would soon lose its glamour. Indy would no doubt get tired of the boulder routine, tired of how his rival throws the same punches everyday and tired that the bugs have become his best friends.
Without the treasure at the end of the adventure, those activities just become work.
The Power Of A Goal
That’s how a goal can be so influential in how you perceive what you are doing.
On the one hand, the bad jobs are part of the storyline. They act as some obstacle the the hero must overcome in order to reach his destination, defeat bad guys, get the girl, and save the world.
On the other hand, they are just jobs. Work. They don’t lead to anything in particular. Doing the job better doesn’t equate to anything. Your only “goal” is to try to get through each day of work without punching a customer in the face.
Doing a job with a direction in mind, though, gives meaning to the job:
- However tough the job is, if the end really means something to you, you can still move forward with determination. Even if you have those bad days.
- The job is part of a storyline. A drama. Something with twists, turns, adventure, and emotion. It matters to you because it is the story of your life.
- You gain respect for others in those positions trying to accomplish their goals, and hopefully act with that respect in mind.
I want to be all about goals for now. I want to find out what I would like to do and try to get there, even if the jobs don’t always agree with me. As long as they are part of the process, they have a place in the overall picture. They are a step towards advancement.
Without them we slowly get that look of resignation, of boredom and exhaustion. That look is the enemy of living. It is retreating away to your mind while your body works like a robot to perform the same function everyday.
Break out of the routine. Strive for something and even the worst job will be meaningful to you.