On Goals, Failure, and Choices

People prepare for a number of things. In youth, you prepare yourself for adult life. So you go to school and study well with the hope that, by getting a diploma, you can get a good job and see yourself in a thriving career. When you get older, however, such things will be superseded by more aggravated concerns.

Graduating from school is in itself an achievement, but eventually you need to move on from savoring the moment and get a job. At this stage of life, it feels like everything you have dreamed of is finally coming through. The thing is, reality dictates that you have to compete with other job seekers - some of them may even be more aggressive than you are. You will realize that finishing school and graduating with flying colors are not the real peak of your goal seeking. You cannot be complacent because they are just the icing on the cake - the tip of an enormous iceberg.

Because of the stiff competition among fresh graduates and old timers, some job seekers may have to settle applying for a job not even related to what they took in college or something that is not really their expertise. The need to earn money for a living - so you can pay the bills and rent - is manifesting itself to be more important than fulfilling your passion. Getting your dream job and establishing yourself in a career you want will have to be put in the back-burner for awhile. The thing is, your soul will be burdened with restlessness and ill-content until your heart finds its dwelling. If it takes too long, you become unsettled and, eventually, unhappy.

Some Goals Are Futile

What you thought would give you happiness, when you were still striving for your goal, was in fact futile now that you have achieved it. You now realize dreams can become void when they have finally been fulfilled. Yet, the struggle does not end there; you have forgotten that they were your dreams in the first place.

A Filipino capitalist and diplomat said that the secret to his success was he never rested on his laurels. Once a goal has been achieved, he would move on to another one and begin another quest. There is truth to what he said, not because it is a wise advice, but because it sums up prettily the reality of your life’s journey.

All kinds of happiness that you experience on this Earth are all but permanent. They are always fleeting albeit in varying durations; some lingering while others span a short time, yet all of them are temporary. Examples of lingering happiness are being in the company of loved ones, being cared for by family and friends, and caring for them in return.

Yet, even if you are experiencing such lingering happiness, the minute details of life may distract you and superimpose themselves on your face, thereby blinding you and reorienting your focus to something of less importance. You once again feel unhappy because you allowed yourself to be engrossed on things that may not really matter to your life.

Which Is More Important, Journey or Goal?

Some people say that the journey itself is more important than the goal. I say both are equally important; you should enjoy the journey and you should also savor the moment when you have finally reached your goal. But what if you failed in achieving your goal? Does that mean you have not gained anything? Of course not, failure in itself has its own benefits. It teaches you lessons of what went wrong, it makes you embrace humility and see the reality of your humanity.

“Speak for yourself, Kiddos! Who the heck wants to fail?” You react. The thing is, wise men and sages of all ages preach that failure is the one thing that makes our greatest human values manifest. Humility, hope, prudence, determination, and even magnanimity all come out because of failure. The greatest feats, discoveries, and inventions of mankind were all wrought because of failure.

Failure provides the discipline to aspire for better and more important things. Ironically, it is also the cause of discouragement to not a few people. I guess it all depends on people’s choices.


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