171 – June 20
“Life is lived on the road—not at the inn.”—Spanish proverb
Many people have asked me how to choose the right goals. Or they anxiously cry that they don’t know what they want. I tell them, “Your best guess for today will do.” It doesn’t have to be the right goal, the best, brightest or perfect goal. Any old goal will do. Its purpose is to get you out on the road experiencing life.
Once you’re on the road, anything can happen.
It’s like you’re sitting in your car in Dallas, Texas, wondering whether you want to drive to New York or San Francisco. You can sit there for years, asking passersby which city they like best, collecting conflicting recommendations. You can send away for brochures from travel agencies and chambers of commerce, you can search the Internet for answers to your questions: How many people live there? What are they like? Will they like me? What’s the weather like? Will I be able to stand the heat, the cold, the rain, the sun, the crowds, the isolation, the fear? Will I be happy there? Will I be loved?
There is no way to answer these questions without putting the pedal to the metal and driving to one city or the other and finding out in real life and real time, instead of endlessly perusing your mental images of what might happen. Ultimately, you must go. Or you will grow old and die in that car without ever having been anywhere, inertia and fear your only companions. And on your tombstone, your epitaph will read: “Born—Waited—Died.”
But if you go, what adventures await you! You will experience Life at first hand; its richness, its vastness, the high roads, and rocky roads; your chance for heart-pounding joy will be paid for with heart-wrenching tears, but you will know you are alive, alive, alive! Panting and sweating and anxious sometimes—there are brigands on the highway—but success awaits you at the top of the hill with moments of radiance and complete love.
So choose New York—or San Francisco—it doesn’t matter. Just get going! You will find out when you get there if New York was the right choice. If it was, great; if not, move on to San Francisco. But it’s just as likely that on the drive to New York, as you pass through Nashville, you decide that Nashville is a pretty cool place. And you could decide to live your life, completely happy, in Nashville—a town that wasn’t even your planned destination. That is the magic of goals—they get you places you would never have gone if you hadn’t had them.
Life is lived on the road. You pick your goal, you choose your destination—and Life takes over. Put your pedal to the metal and drive!
“My best guess for today is my best plan for today!”
Kate Phillips of Total Wealth Coaching wrote a heart-wrenching blog post “When Money Becomes a Life or Death Matter”. It is the story of her “Aunt Faye” who was living beyond her means taking luxury cruises. When she couldn’t afford to do them any more, she took one last cruise…and jumped overboard. You can read it here http://http://www.totalwealthcoaching.com/wp/?p=1451&cpage=1#comment-34022
I wrote her this comment in response:
Oh, Kate, what a sad story. Thank you for sharing it so that hopefully, some others will be helped. Addiction is powerful, and many addicts die if they can’t get their drug of choice, be it cruises, or alcohol, or sex, or gambling, or shopping, or football, or whatever. Anything at all done to excess where it starts to be harmful to your overall well-being is an addiction.
I think it is particularly difficult in this day of hyper-interconnectivity, to maintain a reasonable idea of what lifestyle is possible for yourself. Television families live quite well-to-do lives, we hear about celebrities and their fabulous riches, multi-million-dollar homes, and glorious vacations to exotic locations, and we can’t help but want that, too. We have to have a spiritual center that gives value and meaning to love, service, kindness, caring, fellowship, and spirit, but those things are not present in most of the mainstream media that we are bombarded with every day. I think one of the reasons Oprah was so successful is that she was grounded in these principles and focused her show around them and her wealth flowed from that.
Thanks for the wonderful work you are doing in the world to help people with their financial issues and so that “living in abundance” becomes something people can do without overindulging in the glamour of cruises or unsustainable shopping sprees.
It’s always a question of balance, isn’t it? What do you love that you have to guard against doing to excess? How do you maintain your balance?