I have a book of positive quotations that my mother gave to me a few years ago. For every day of the year there is a quote followed by some insight as to what you should take from it. I read them every day and try to think about what they bring to my life or what I can learn from them.
Today’s quote is “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” After I read it I began to think about it. I tossed ideas back and forth until I finally looked the lion in the eye and entertained the thought. The more I thought about it the more I realized that it was true. I thought about the many goals I’ve had in life. Many of them were goals, but they were wishes because I didn’t really have a plan.
When I analyzed all of the goals that I’ve accomplished it was very easy for me to see that for each and every one of those goals I had created a plan and followed through until the end. About 10 years ago I wanted to write a book. I jotted some things down. I organized thoughts in my head and loosely laid out a plan. That was as far as that goal ever went.
Years later I was motivated and I created a true plan to reach my goal. I constructed my outline, set deadlines for parts of the project, purchased the things I needed to purchase and sought help in areas where I was inexperienced. As things progressed I knew that I would finish as long as I stuck to the plan. Some parts of the plan came together easily and other parts were a bear. The end result was extremely gratifying and somewhat humbling. I still don’t feel like I did anything special and I’m not sure that I ever will. A lot of people think that my accomplishment is a big deal. I haven’t had that type of feeling. I’m proud and all, but I feel like anyone could do it if they put their mind to it. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s how I feel.
I remember the thousands of arrows I shot when I was making my climb to the top in the archery world. I came up with a plan and stuck to it. I created a bunch of small steps to get better. I stood on each step until I had it mastered. Then, I climbed to the next step. The steps on the archery mountain seemed like they took forever to climb. A few times I lost my way but I stuck to the plan. Eventually I reached my goal and was able to compete at the highest level in national events where I was able to achieve success. My goal was reached through a lot of hard work. I got there because I had a plan from day one.
I’ve recently set a few new goals. I also have plans for these things. I’m making steady progress with one of my plans while the other one is on hold right now. The only reason it’s on hold is that I promised myself to see the first plan through before I jumped headfirst into the next one. If my health allows me to I know that I will achieve both of the goals that I have set.
I set my goals in order to keep moving forward. I don’t want to live a stagnant life where I’m “satisified.” I have an underlying desire to achieve better things. I don’t want to stop learning or moving forward. I want to keep my brain working and I want to keep myself motivated to do things that I didn’t think were possible.
A lot of people base their lives on material possessions. I do not base mine on anything material. I base my life on my mental well-being. If I am satisfied mentally I can live in a cardboard box without a mode of transportation and still be happy. I don’t need an elegant house, a fancy car or the best clothes to be satisfied. I try to surround myself with people who are similar to me in that respect. People who are mentally happy will have successful lives in the areas that matter the most. They will be fulfilled rather than seek fulfillment.
People who base their happiness on material gains are almost always unhappy with their day to day lives. They try to buy happiness with money. They seek acceptance by having things that portray themselves as being better than other people. While I like to have nice things I don’t feel that I need them to be considered successful. When they say that money is the root of all evil I firmly believe that.
I chase dreams just like the next person. I try to make my dreams realistic and simple. It only sets me up for failure if I chase dreams that have no chance of becoming a reality. When I choose to do something I usually give it everything that I have. I will not give up until I achieve my goal or I realize that there’s no way of getting where I want to go. Winners never quit and quitters never win. I’ve never quit in my life and there will never be a first time. If I go after something it’s because I believe that I can accomplish the task or make the dream a reality.
I have a few goals right now and a few dreams. I’m not sure if they might be one and the same. A long time ago I didn’t believe I would ever be blessed with an opportunity to chase a dream and achieve a goal at the same time. Something in my gut tells me that I might get the chance sometime in the future. It won’t be right away, but I think it’s a real possibility that the opportunity might present itself. If it does I will be ready to jump on the magic carpet and let it take me where I need to go. After all, when these things happen you have to be ready to take advantage before they pass by in the blink of an eye. It’s our job to recognize a potential opportunity, prepare ourselves mentally and jump on the chance when it appears.
At that point the ride will be worth the wait. All the struggles will slowly dissipate behind you and new doors will open in front of you. Being ready is the key. As the great John Wooden said, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” I’m mentally prepared to chase my dreams. I’ll leave you with another one of my favorite quotes which I will keep close to me during my journey: “If you’re going after Moby Dick you might just as well bring the tartar sauce.”
I will be prepared and I will make sure of it. That is the only way that I can ensure that I will get the things that I want the most when the timing is right.