Somewhere along our life’s journey, we each begin to focus on a singular outcome. It’s usually a mid life crisis or, after college or after retirement.
Maybe keeping score is more fun if there’s only one metric to which we compare ourselves to others. So we start to focus on and measure our work and life in with the following criteria;
- Facebook likes
- Twitter followers
- Instagram followers
The point is not the point. Points are the point. Life is too important to be lived quickly. It’s hard to believe, I know… Trust me I know.
So maybe We digress by natural instinct. We push past the hard stuff (relationships, depth, meaning, religion, mystery) and keep score artificially. At least then we know where we stand.
But sadly, where we stand is on a soft uneven podium of our own making, one built on ridiculous measurements that neglect the very finish lines we need the most.
Someone sold me a finish line I don’t want (or need).
I’m the worst person to meet with if you’re a financial advisor or planner. You’ll ask me where I see myself several years from now, how much financial security I want in retirement, and what I need to have saved up by the time I’m 60. I’ll listen to your questions until you’re finished and then I’ll smile and laugh, tell you I have no idea or concern, and tell you that retirement is an outdated concept, for me at least. I don’t want that finish line of retirement. I want something to work towards for as long as I can breath.
You may disagree with me, we’ll chat about it a bit, I’ll thank you for your time and then you’ll be on your way to the next sales prospect. I’m not interested in running this race. I’m not interested in making my retirement plan solid. For me…. that’s the plan b trap. I don’t like traps because traps are there to keep those who want to sit on the beach all day, get tan and drink coronas. That’s not my bliss. My bliss comes from progress on a new idea and inching towards that idea and ruthlessly turning it into reality.
As I reflect on my upbringing I realize that some adults told us that there was a clear path to follow that consisted of various steps that included making good grades, going to college, getting a job, climbing a ladder, getting promoted, earning a nice living, owning a home, and then doing all of this in increasing measure until we died.
And so went the story of a happy life. (I can honestly say this is the biggest piece of bullshit that’s been administered.)
Many of us bought into this race we needed to run. (Many of us still do.)
But this race misses a lot. Isn’t there more?
Yes. But it’s not the race you think it is. It’s not even the race you may know how to run. But it’s the only race your true inner being was born to run.
It’s a race bigger than any singular finish line, bigger than what your parents told you, and bigger than your job.
The finish line keeps moving. (I know, it’s a real ankle biter.) And more and more of them pop up day after day. Some you’ll decide to stop chasing, and that’s ok. The point isn’t to get to the end of the race.
The point is to run the race with everything you’ve got.
Chase something big
Go start a company.
For me personally, making money doesn’t mean shit. Making an impact does. That’s my revenue. Instead I want to induce life into your idea and watch as the goal isn’t just to build material wealth, but also to train people how to work hard, to please clients by listening to their needs, or to bring ethics to a place where they are rare.
Go fall in love. This ones tough…
But don’t only think the only worthy end is to die beside each other at 90. Maybe you simply love each other for a season, teaching the other about vulnerability and honesty, leaving the relationship wiser and more rich, your heart can also obtain wisedom and strength for someone or something else when the season is right.
Go to school. But understand that the point can’t be a diploma some years down the road. You’ll need to learn how to learn, what endeavors are worth your intellect and attention.
Get good at pursuing
All of our races – our life’s pursuits – may start heading toward one finish line. But then along that route, we learn that the point of that race wasn’t to finish it. It was just to start it. To get to the first distance marker. To meet someone else along that same course and then veer off with them, hand in hand.
This is just a hunch
Maybe the point of this race was to show us another race running parallel to ours and so we hop over to that lane. And then we realize we are running in the wrong direction, so we stop and start over, now destined to where we want to go. The finish line is further off, way less clear than we thought, but that’s ok. At least we’re running.
If the race is only about speed, even if you win, you miss out on what could have been an incredible journey. The race that’s all about speed instead of a race with obstacles and walls to overcome was probably not a race worth experiencing. Fail hard, and fail again but harder.