I’ve always been that person who has their eye on the next thing.
At school, I looked forward to each birthday and each new year. For five years, I couldn’t wait to leave and go to sixth form. At sixth form, I was desperate to finish my A-Levels and get to university. Then I looked forward to starting my Masters, my first full-time job, my next job, a better job and on and on.
I’m not good at living in the moment. I’m always searching for that next thing that will make me happy, but it’s always inching away, just out of reach.
The other day I read an article online about goals and how the people most likely to succeed were the ones who pushed through the discomfort and the unhappiness, their eye on a distant horizon. They weren’t distracted and felt a constant need to prove themselves by working hard.
In contrast, those who are more adept at living in the moment can find it easy to become content and not push themselves.
It’s an argument that makes sense to me: whenever I’m stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated by a project or a piece of work, I have to step away. And that often seems counterintuitive.
If I’m not working on something, it’s not progressing. I’m not dealing with the root of my problem; I’m just putting it away for later.
But sometimes you need to stop and appreciate the things around you. You need to allow yourself a break from the endless grind of achieving that goal and take a look back at how far you’ve come.
It’s okay to rest and replenish, before you take the next step.
Goals are a wonderful thing, but they make it all too easy to wish your life away because you’re always looking for the next thing, something to make you complete.
And there are two conflicting lifestyle movement at work, pulling in different directions.
There are those that would argue for discipline and self-denial in order to meet your goals, but also those that prize self-esteem and mindfulness first. The two things don’t sit easily together, but it is possible to strike a balance between them, especially if you understand the benefit of both.
After all, what’s the point in working hard to reach your goals if you don’t find any joy along the way?