Goals: You May Not Get There, but Almost…

Ryan - Ames, Iowa
Entered on November 19, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

Everyone has goals. Some have big goals, some have little goals, and some have none at all. No matter what kinds of goals they have, though, it has a great impact on their lives. There is a quote from Arnold Toynbee that says, “It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself, but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.” Basically, we should aim higher. I remember last year’s senior quote: “Aim for the moon. If you miss, you will land among the stars.” Obviously, this seems to be an important concept.

This applies in all facets of life. Take running for example. I’m not the fastest runner every year during the mile, but there’s a reason I keep getting better every year. If I start out thinking that there are four laps left, I wear myself out before I can finish. I’ve discovered that if I pretend like I have to run eight laps, the first four go by in no time at all and I’m done! I always find the run goes by faster when I aim for the much loftier goal of two miles, even if I don’t actually run it.

Of course this also applies in the work world. When I am closing the store, I usually get off work around 11:00. If I aim right for 11, I will get out later than that. The main idea with getting out earlier is to aim for some really amazing goal. Usually my goal is to have everything finished by 10:35. Now, this doesn’t mean I get out that early, but what it means is I try harder, and I might get out as early as 10:45. This really helps me and it is a big reason why I find this strategy helpful.

Goals are a unique concept. They can help us or hurt us, depending on where we set them or whether we set them at all. They apply everywhere, even in this very essay. I aimed for 400 words, and I didn’t quite get there, but I at least got 350.