As kids we were told that hard work would take us to our goals.
As we grow older we realize that people around us and all over the world work themselves to the bone but still don’t get what they want.
The old adage “Hard work brings success” is no longer true, if it ever was.
As a kid I worked my tail off to reach other people’s goals for me. I thought that getting straight As in school was really important.
I was taught at an early age that pleasing the adults and authority figures around me was one of my highest priorities.
I never thought about pleasing myself. Many of us have the same problem.
We are too goal-oriented.
We don’t ask the question “I’m goal-oriented — but what does that get me? Why is the goal I’m working toward the best goal for me?
“Maybe I could have a wildly different goal — a grand vision for my life and career — if I weren’t so fixed on hitting the goals I’ve already committed to.”
We think we are really making progress when we’re charging ahead, head-down, toward one of our goals or one of our employer’s goals — but that may not be true.
When you are working your hardest, are you working toward your own goals or somebody else’s goals? Many of us go to work and plod forward on a path we didn’t choose.
When you are in head-down, nose-to-the-grindstone mode you are only working, and not thinking broadly.
You are not imagining possibilities then. You are not allowing your mind to wander and come up with impossible, incredible, world-changing ideas when your focus is simply “working hard” or “knocking down the items on my To-Do list.”
Your To-Do list will always be there, and it will never get any shorter.
The more items you tick off your To-Do list, the more items will appear. Obviously working hard on your To-Do list is not the path to success — so what is?
The path to success leads in a different direction.
Yes, it will require hard work to realize your vision, but it’s not the kind of hard work that involves working your tail off to get a promotion or a raise or a good performance review.
What difference do those things make?
This is your lifetime.
You get to decide how to make your mark on this planet. The first step on your path to success is to stop working, stop stressing, and let your mind wander.
Some people do it on a bicycle or in the tub. They take off their mental shackles and ask “If it were totally up to me, what would I do with my life?”
It is totally up to you. For many people, that’s the scary part!
It takes courage to dream expansively, because your conscious mind wants to break into your dream to say “Forget your dream — it’s not practical!”
The point of a dream is that it’s not practical — not yet, anyway. Every dream that was ever brought to reality started off being crazy and impractical — but then things shifted.
Your job is to envision your future first.
Later, you can refine the vision and start to see how it can become reality.
Making tiny, incremental steps along a path that your parents or your employer laid out for you is far less exciting than what you’re capable and worthy of.
Quit working so hard, and give yourself the gift of imagining your future in brighter colors than you do now.
Write the story of the life you want. You have to see the movie in your head first — then you can make it real!