I turn 30 today (happy birthday to me, right?). Aging tends to force reflection. It gives cause to think back on decisions – the good, the bad, and the ugly. If we’re smart, that reflection offers lessons to help us improve ourselves over time.
Here’s one big lesson I’ve been meditating on:
Having the proper destination in mind does not validate your route to it.
Life is a series of goals. We make subsequent decisions in relation to our goals. Often we do the best that we can with the information we have.
But we don’t always have the best information. Nor do we always have the best of intentions. (Thought even when we do have good intentions, sometimes we’re bad at selecting the proper means.)
Still, with our limited knowledge, we aim at the highest, best goals we can fathom (if we are wise), and we dedicate ourselves to manifesting those into reality.
Except we’re not always great at bringing our ideas to life. Not to the level of perfection we all likely aspire to.
We choose our goals. Then we choose the route that we believe is most likely to get us there. Hopefully, most efficiently.
Sometimes, though, we choose the right goal but the wrong route. Which makes it incredibly difficult to see our own errors.
It can often feel like “selecting your goal” is the most difficult part of personal development. But that’s rarely true. Choosing a target is easier than hitting it.
But when you take special care in selecting which targets to aim at with your scarce resources, and you finally determine one that’s worthwhile – it can give you a sense of absolution about the means you select for getting there.
Choosing a good destination does not let you off the hook for using bad directions, though.
Even honorable goals are overshadowed by unworthy means.
The work isn’t done once you choose your target. You must also take special care as you work toward it, to ensure that you’re not allowing a desirable “end” is to justify bad means.