Last week, Diana Nyad completed an amazing swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida. You had to be living in a space ship cut off from all contact with Mother Earth to have not heard about it. Eric Zorn, a columnist I have long enjoyed in the Chicago Tribune, commented on how the naysayers were putting her down for pursuing a meaningless goal that cost time and money that could better have been spent on charitable causes. They were saying her personal goal had no meaning in the world at large and therefore was worthless.
NUTS! NUTS to all of them! The message to all of us is ANY goal is worth pursuing, if it's your goal. What do have on your bucket list? It doesn't have to be mind boggling costly pursuits that would garner world attention. Maybe you want to learn to knit socks, or play the piano, speak a foreign language, sky dive, learn to sail a boat, volunteer at the soup kitchen, write blogs, walk 2 miles without panting or visit all 50 states. The message is, it doesn't matter what your goal is. It's important because you want to do it. And no one else anywhere gets to say it isn't!
The challenges we face in life are what strengthen us and inspire us. Setting goals to overcome the challenges, to learn new things, to experience new things - these are what give our lives meaning and focus. It may seem like we are being self-centered. But our goals can also get us out of ourselves, help us meet new people, and give back to the world around us. It's part of the reward of growing older that we reflect on what we have done and what we still want to do. There's a sense of urgency sometimes that gets us moving toward defining and eventually, hopefully, reaching our goals.The example set by Diana Nyad was inspiring for the older people around us, but was equally inspiring to younger people. I was impressed with the young college students from Nyad's alma mater, Lake Forest College, who commented on the TV news about her reaching her goal. They were impressed that a 64 year old woman, who walked the same paths they were walking, had tried 5 times, and had finally succeeded. It wasn't that it took five tries to swim the Florida Straits, it was that she kept trying until she did it! It was a clear example of "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again".
We tend to want everything to happen in a nanosecond these days, but not everything does. Get used to it. Sometimes you don't succeed, ever, and sometimes it takes many attempts before you reach your goal. It doesn't matter how old you are, how young you are, or what you want to accomplish. All that matters is discovering your goal, pursuing it, and hopefully, accomplishing it! There are no guarantees you'll succeed, but the journey will never be boring and you may unexpectedly accomplish other things along the way.
So go set yourself a goal and work like hell until you accomplish it! Discovering and setting the goal may be reaching a goal of sorts. And the journey that your goal inspires will be an accomplishment all by itself.
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