Saturday, January 7, 2012

Improve or Enjoy. Pick One.

When I focus on accomplishing goals I am not good at stopping and enjoying life.  For better or for worse, I immerse myself in reaching the destination to the exclusion of enjoying the ride.  This mindset has worked for me as I have reached many goals over the past couple of years both personally and professionally.

Yet, on the heels of reaching a major career goal I was left with a weird feeling.  I jotted the following down a couple of days after reaching the goal:
Kind of floating through life right now. Is that a bad thing? Probably not a good thing. I am feeling more settled so what do I mean by “floating”? Not having control? Something like that.
After I reached my goal I was missing something.  I realized that almost as soon as I hit success I started looking for the next challenge.  I can’t help but think that this is just a cycle of hollowness.  What is the point if you are never content?

The obvious solution is to just focus on being content.  But this seems like an easy way out that avoids the underlying problem.  I think, for me, it is almost a mental head game where I convince myself that if I am content I will not have the proper motivation and thus will be unable to succeed.  In retrospect this seems illogical.

How does one actually break out of this cycle? I can’t help but think there is a certain irony to pinpointing this problem and then setting a goal to overcome it.  I don't think there is a clear answer besides just enjoying the journey and the process of overcoming challenges. Because the once-I-do-this-I’ll-be-happy-cycle doesn’t end with happiness.

Photo: Salim Al-Harthy