Allot of people I know claim to be ambitious, and goal driven. They seek success and want to become millionaires as fast as possible. A commonality among these people is that they see the end goal as somewhat easy to get to. As a straight road, from A-B. And that when you hit that fictitious “goal” you’re done. All you have to do is imagine it, and it will be so. As easy as that. That’s probably why self-help books like The Secret have become bestsellers – it requires absolutely no skill, what so ever. Not even that much work either. Just think it.
People do not want to work tirelessly. Have a non-stop dedication towards what you want. To stay determined to reach that ultimate goal of yours. And accept that when it doesn’t go your way, which happens more often than not, you reevaluate yourself and your process and start over. Where did you go wrong? You thought you had it figured out, so you’re bewildered as to how it is even possible you didn’t make it. And the thought that you could actually be doing something better is inconceivable.
Self-awareness is a powerful asset.
Recently, I received a promotion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I earned 2 stripes on my blue belt. Being a proficient MMA fighter I was sure I would be promoted faster and earlier. I was convinced I was getting 3, maybe even 4, as it had been a long time since our professor had graduated us. I was dumbfounded, and envious when my training partner, whom in my opinion was lesser skilled than I was, received 3. I was profoundly disappointed and saw all my work the last couple of months/year as a complete waste of time.
I kept thinking of what I’d done wrong and why I hadn’t received the promotion. I was better. There had to be something my professor wasn’t seeing. It had to be his problem, not mine. Then it finally dawned on me. I was thinking of the short-term goals as absolutes, not respecting the process or journey, or what it takes to achieve the “ultimate goal”. This particular promotion was a very small step towards something bigger. I was, in effect, extremely short-sighted.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu
It was a very humbling, and to be honest, great experience. A reality check. I was shocked at my own arrogance. I was really happy for my teammate but still couldn’t shake the feeling of envy. I actually really loved the feeling of having my ego checked, and that the experience forced me to re-evaluate my progress and training methods – which I was sure were pretty perfect.
The truth is that when you hit what you perceive as your final, ultimate goal, you realize that this is just another stepping stone in an endless voyage to better yourself and be a positive influence on people around you. It never ends, and thank Odin for that.
We never stop learning, and getting to grips with that reality is hard. You never hit some level of total understanding and conclusive objective. For example; in bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger is seen as the unobtainable perfect body. But do you think Arnold in his prime would be content and satisfied that he finally achieved perfection? Probably not. Why don’t Warren Buffet and Bill Gates stop working? You might think they have nothing to prove. That they have it all. It’s just not the case.
I see myself as very ambitious but have learned that in business, life and all other things, you have to stop and appreciate where you’ve been, to what you have become, and to the endless possibilities, there actually are. The sky is truly the limit, however corny that sounds. There’s really no one stopping you once you hit a goal. Be happy and move on to the next. Take whatever lessons learned along the way, and make yourself better.
If you for some reason aren’t happy with your current situation, or promotion, be brutally honest with yourself and make a change. The changes do not have to be all-consuming, huge changes. Make small incremental positive changes to how you work, train or speak, and you’ll see a massive improvement in your situation. Always strive to better yourself, and be your harshest critic.