We like goals. Having goals is healthy, and it keeps you on the right track. However, those events or statuses we reach towards are only milestones. As astronaut and space's first intergalactic rock star Chris Hadfield explains, the finish line isn't the most important part of the journey.
Picture: Wikimedia Commons
Identifying a singular goal and defining your success or failure by whether or not you reach it, Commander Hadfield explains, is a quick way to miss out on the rest of your life's experiences:
If you view crossing the finish line as the measure of your life, you're setting yourself up for a personal disaster. There are very very very few people who win gold at the Olympics. And if you say, 'if I don't win gold then I'm a failure or I've let somebody down or something,' .. What if you win a silver? What if you win a bronze? What if you come fourth? What if your binding comes apart? … What if all of those millions of things that happen in life happen. … Only a few people that go there are going to win gold. And it's the same in some degree I think in commanding a spaceship or doing a spacewalk it is a very rare, singular moment-in-time event in the continuum of life. And you need to honour the highs and the peaks in the moments — you need to prepare your life for them — but recognise the fact that the preparation for those moments is your life and, in fact, that's the richness of your life. … The challenge that we set for each other, and the way that we shape ourselves to rise to that challenge, is life.
Speaking as someone who's been places few of us will ever have the opportunity to reach, it's safe to say Hadfield knows a thing or two about appreciating the high moments in life. However, no matter what you hope to achieve or do in life, there are years and years of experiences, training and connections that lead up to that.
Chris Hadfield on Life, the Universe and What's Really Out There [Farnam Street via 99u]