What I’ve Learned From NOT Reaching My Goals

Man flying face down on pavement with shoes off

I used to have lofty goals. For one, I thought I’d be a millionaire by the age of 30. And I wanted to buy a pub for my parents who used to love drinking with their friends.

But my mum has since passed on and my dad’s stopped drinking, so that’s one goal out the window. And I’m nearing 40, so the before-30 goal’s out of the question too.

That’s how we arrive at my first lesson: goals never stay the same, because life never stays the same. So you best err on the side of action before your opportunities pass you by.

Of course, being the writer I am, I’ve also created my own writing analogy: Embrace the shitty first draft before you lose the idea entirely.

I figure that’s a great place to start.

1. Everything changes

As we’ve just established, you best strike when the iron is hot. It’s often better to start and adjust rather than wait for all the lights to turn green before you step on the gas. I know this because I tend to favour thinking over action.

My problem? The constant dive down rabbit holes, pondering useless questions before taking the first step.

For example, you won’t see me heading to the rock climbing gym to pick up the sport. Instead, I’ll look up every tool and source for the best prices and reviews, before I even climb my first route.

So if you have a goal in mind, it’s important to Just. Get. Started. Because more often than not, something will change, and your opportunity will fade.

You’ll lose interest. Your friends will lose interest. A pandemic will ravage the world and imprison you at home. Then you’ll feel real silly for having bought the best-reviewed tools, but not getting to use them.

We can also take chess as an analogy.

Millions of possibilities exist on the chessboard, and it’s pointless to process them all before making your move. You’ll need to choose, then follow up, but only after your opponent has made their move. Because it’s silly to waste time on possibilities that might not even happen.

Basically, don’t overthink things.

2. Reaching your goals is underrated

The problem with the results-based mentality is that you’re the exact same person before and after attaining your goals. Sure, you may enjoy harvesting the fruits of your labour, but then what? What next?

For eight years, I’d dreamed of being a traditionally-published author. And that goal felt so unattainable that I never even tried.

Then I did try and I saw my book in print. But reaching that milestone didn’t magically turn me into Neil Gaiman. In fact, I was probably worse off, because now I had to think about sales and marketing (or the lack of it).

My lesson from all this? It was that the actual writing gave me confidence, not the accolades. So every day, judge yourself not by the harvest you’ve reaped, but by the seeds you’ve sown.

3. Sometimes, timing and luck matter

…and they matter much more than you think.

When other countries were producing fighters like Sakuraba and Fedor, Malaysia had yet to even see its first MMA gym.

We didn’t have grappling programmes (wrestling in the USA), nor did we have roots in the striking arts (muay thai in Thailand).

So aspiring to fight in this climate might as well have been me trying to be an Olympic gymnast at the age of 40.

And while I do believe we can achieve great things in life, I also know that there are hard limits to our abilities. We can’t fly, for one. For me, I couldn’t become a fighter in a gymless environment at the time.

Here’s another example of bad timing.

Back in the nineties, you couldn’t choose to play Starcraft as a career without being seen as a loser. Today? The Malaysian women’s team just won a Dota 2 championship and the country is celebrating.

Am I bitter? Slightly. Maybe this is the genesis of my ‘when I was your age’ phase in life. You can’t be mad at learning though, and I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s just not the right time for your goals.

And that’s okay.

4. Time still passes

Just because the world isn’t ready for your awesomeness doesn’t mean you can’t get started. Because waiting for the right moment only wastes time. And someday you’ll realise that ten years have passed you by without you having anything to show for it.

Maybe that’s why I picked up jiu-jitsu. Because I’ll turn sixty someday. And when I do, at least I’ll be a sixty-year-old with a black belt (with all his joints intact, hopefully).

It’s the same with playing the piano or learning a new language. You could either whine about not starting during your formative years, or you could start at sixty and be a decent pianist by seventy.

Either way, life goes on, with or without your participation. So you best sow your seeds today.

5. It’s better to fail than to not try at all

Cheesy. Cliche. Ca-truth. (Sorry, 3Cs have a better ring to it than 2Cs and 1T).

You know how stupid you feel after telling everyone about your new blog, then dropping off after a month? Or how you pursue a new sport, only to quietly quit because you’re worried about being judged for giving up?

Yeah, you’re going to have to get over that.

Because if you try hard enough, you’ll inevitably come across more pursuits that don’t suit you than ones that do.

I mean, look at me. I’ve gone through three career changes, and that’s not including the mountain of odd jobs I’d cycled through either. And I turned out okay, right? Right?

Not gonna lie though, it seems that I’ve only gotten much better at failing. And the only tangible achievements I have to show for my 40 years of living are a couple blog posts and a book. That’s it.

But I tried, and that’s what matters. So if death were to come for me today, I’d at least have the answer to my eight-year question of ‘can I write a novel?’.

And perhaps that’s what we should be striving for in life. Not just to achieve what we set out to do, but to fail, and subsequently become better versions of ourselves.

Because at the end of the day, everything changes. So we might as well change for the better.


Speaking of change, you might want to change your inbox by subscribing to the newsletter. It’ll change for the better, I’m sure. Also, you’ll get a free guide on how to grow your blog, so come on in!

209 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned From NOT Reaching My Goals

  1. “It was the actual writing that gave me the confidence not the accolades.”
    You are so right with this. My gut was like, ‘no, the accolades are nice too’, but really, that’s just me stunned and proud that my work is in print/online, alive and breathing. The act of the writing, when it’s good, it’s GOOD, whether I reach the ultimate goal of publication with the piece or not.
    Side note: This post really made me want to take that jiujitsu class I’ve been meaning to take.

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    • Yes! Please do take that jiu-jitsu class. You might discover a lifelong sport just like I did!

      And yeah, writing does fill you with the confidence you need, regardless of publication. The work instils the worth, and there’s no lying to ourselves when it comes to what we respect.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  2. It was a beautiful piece to read. I agree our life changes, and along with it our aspirations vary. It is also true to accept that not all things will happen the way you plan them out. But, again we are dreamers, and there is no better way to live, than dreaming and putting an effort. :)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I woke up this morning feeling this horrible sense of mediocrity: I’m mediocre at Jiu-Jitsu, mediocre at Taekwondo, I THINK I’m good at my job but how can I know for sure that I’m at the top of my game? I have yet to find an agent who wants my book, which might simply be too mediocre to publish. Blah blah blah. So, I’m trying to take the long view. Sure, it would’ve been nice if I’d started martial arts when I was younger and at peak physical and mental performance level. But. I didn’t. I’m doing martial arts now, though, and maybe that makes it even cooler. Even if I’m no MA savant, at least I’m having fun. My boss appreciates my work, so there’s that. And, at least for now, I haven’t YET given up on finding an agent. In other words, this post speaks to me today. :)

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    • I know black belts who still feel mediocre at jiu-jitsu. I wonder if that’s a permanent thing, or if they’re just being modest, lol. And yeah, I love your energy for this comment. The next best time to plant a tree is today, amirite? I try my best to live in day-tight compartments because of this. Thanks so much for your thoughts, Betsy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What an inspiring post. Thank you. As a person who has had a lot of failures I also embrace them and learn from them. Pick myself up, dust off and move on. It’s the best we can do in this life.
    Thank you for the wonderful post. ☺️

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  5. Hi Stuart
    Thank you for another excellent article. Nothing in life is guaranteed . # 3 and # 4 are true. Yes timing plays a part, luck is about hitting the right synergy of all that out there in the universe. But then is it really just a matter of luck? Anyway we do not want to look back and say we had wanted to do something , be it write, paint, draw, sing or dance but life took over or whatever. While setting goals is good, sometimes it is enough just the mere joy of being able to do or experience something that you never imagine you could if you had not tried.

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    • Yep, I believe that luck is more deep-rooted than we’re able to notice. Such as even being alive, which is like one out of a gazillion. Then being born in a stable country. In a stable time.

      But there’s also the other half to living, where we choose to act despite the hand we’re dealt. So we can also make our own luck. But so much is beyond our control. At least we can always control our decisions.

      Always enjoy you stopping by!

      Like

  6. I like #4. Time is the one thing we have no hope of controlling. A minute will always be a minute, an hour an hour, a day a day, the most we can do is live with the time we have been given.

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  7. I love this post! I failed far more than I have succeeded. Yet here I am at almost 31, still chasing my dreams. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. This is such an insightful, inspiring blog post. I’ve failed at so many things in life, but I pride myself in my ability to keep trying and never give up. As long as you try and keep trying, you can’t truly call yourself a failure. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this 😊

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    • I love your comment and I have a relevant message that I think about a lot to mirror it. “It’s not over when you stop running. It’s over when you don’t continue.”

      That helps me put things in perspective, that it’s okay to walk and take a breather (or many), as long as I continue. Thanks for your lovely vibes!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you so much 😭 I love it! I’m definitely going to think about this as I continue. I haven’t worked on my novel in about two days. I didn’t realize I would get withdrawals from it haha 😅

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  9. This made me cry more than I’m willing to admit, but it was well worth the salty cheeks. And you missed an incredible opportunity there- Cheesy. Cliche. and Correct. Don’t worry though, you’re still my favorite blogger 😊

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  10. Great post! I used to get so pissy when people would say, “You can be ANYTHING you want to be!” I appreciated the positivity and intent, but it was setting many of us up for failure and then feeling shitty about that failure. So thanks for this positive but realistic look at goals.

    Like

    • I like the Key & Peele sketch because of this. “You can turn into a car and fly down the highway!”

      At the same time, we can at least put in the effort to turn into a car. And if we judge ourselves based on said efforts instead of the results, then we’re at a much better place to be happy with ourselves, regardless of the outcome.

      Love your comment. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  11. This post popped up on my feed a few days ago and I couldn’t wait to read it. You never disappoint my friend. I think success comes from how we measure ourselves and sometimes it’s not so much about the money we make or the things we fail at as it is in achieving happiness and fulfillment. Does writing make you feel fulfilled even if nobody is reading it? Do you have more days of happiness than days without? Goals make us feel fulfilled but as you said… sometimes you find yourself along the way even when you fall short. So hopefully you feel fulfilled regardless.

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    • Well said, LaShelle! I think that’s why I enjoy martial arts so much, because it’s not about beating somebody, or pulling off a tough move. It’s the self-discovery, and the daily journey of overcoming myself. It’s all a matter of perspective, but it requires so much practice to adopt one view over the other.

      Always great to see you here!

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    • Oh yes. There’s much to be said about appreciating our present, because we’ll never get it back, no matter how mundane we think it is. Definitely adds to why we need to enjoy the small steps. Thanks for your thoughts, Stacy-Ann!

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  12. The fastest way to make the gods laugh is to say, “I have a plan!” And life has shown me this time and again … you’re absolutely right about it being necessary to sometimes accept that the circumstances just aren’t right for a particular goal. Disappointment is rooted in expectation, and expectations are like anchors: they serve a good purpose, but we need to know when it’s time to cut them loose.

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    • What a great way to look at it. Expectations can detract us from living sometimes, but even _that_ depends on how we look at it. Sometimes it’s good to expect more of ourselves. There’s so much we can’t control though, and we have to come to peace with that. Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, Nimbus!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I like what you say about trying something new without worrying about your age or if you’ll be any good at it. Do what you like! I need this reminder more often. Some of the most fun adventures I’ve had were doing things I didn’t expect to do or ever be good at, but the opportunity arose and I gave it a try.

    And I couldn’t agree more about the importance of timing and luck after my wanderings into query-land this last year. I read more than one post from other writers about how they queried a manuscript to so many literary agents with no response, only to try again the next year with the same piece and find that suddenly everyone was interested– that timing element is certainly key! I just wished I understood it better in the literary world. :D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, the timing thing really is something beyond our control. In my old company, a colleague of mine got her job (and her subsequent career) by sending in her resume despite there being no vacancies. My boss was free that day, and took the time to go through her resume. That effectively changed the path of her life.

      Had the boss been just sliiiiightly busier, we’d have been living totally different lives.

      I think about that every time I get rejected or accepted. So many things are beyond our control, and the only thing we can do is keep moving. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Thanks for the great post. It’s timely inspiration. I am often that rock climber that researches all the tools and never climbs the rocks. Or rather, I buy the domain, make a logo, put together a business plan, grab the DBA and then that whole execution thing comes in and we’re back to square one.

    I’m nearing 40 also and perhaps something about the age makes me care less about looking stupid. Five years ago it was a struggle for me to even post a comment like this. I suppose I’ve survived looking stupid enough at this point that I’m more willing now to ‘go big or go home’. Haha. Thanks for writing! You’re blog is often an encouragement.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “I’ve survived looking stupid enough that I’m more willing to…”

      That’s such an important sentence, Anna. I guess that’s why I try and do hard things every day too, because I want to tell myself that I’ve survived enough hard things to pursue more hard things.

      It’s a continual process though, so here’s to growing in life together. And thanks so much for your lovely words!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You are right on all accords. I lost my mom as well just to realize life will keep changing and I will have to accept the blows it comes with. The challenges made me more vulnerable and I am scared of everything now. I want to be able to do something with my life but the fact is my life is failing me in so many ways I can make a list and it would probably be long. Anyways I want to write and I want to succeed but I am failing. I have no idea what to post. Or what to do. I am just lost. LOST ! I want to get out of this space and do something but my mind and brain are in hibernation. I have no clue what to do. Can someone help. Sorry to barge in with my troubles but I need advice guidance and support and guidance I can emphasize this point enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Heya Mehreen. I’d love to say I have a solution, but that’s definitely not the case, especially since we probably lead very different lives. But I can totally relate to feeling lost, as I believe we all do at one point of life or another.

      I’m not qualified enough to give advice or guidance, but I can give you support, and I just want to tell you that I’ve read and listened to what you’re going through.

      Whenever I myself feel lost, I don’t aim to achieve things. Instead, I look to address any pains I may be facing. This change in perspective usually allows me to take stock of my life and see what’s within my power to change.

      Anyway, I’m wishing you all the best!

      Like

      • Thank you so much I really appreciate when people like you come out and take the time to respond to a small and irrelevant person. I don’t know how to put this into action but I am thankful to you for listening and reading and I want guidance I wish you can give me some actual blogging advice it doesn’t have to be using this platform but I genuinely need help. I am so lost. And aimless in my life. I am depressed and any content I will put out right now will reflect that hence I’ve been away from my blog to give myself time to regain composure but it’s not happening. Thanks though if you do intend to help me out let me know I am sorry for pushing so hard but all the youtuber videos and everything else has failed or I have failed at all of them. I just don’t know what to do .

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I think I got very bitter because of certain goals I didn’t reach. While it was my fault, there’s no point in wallowing in bitterness over it. I just try and extract a lesson in humility and move on. Maybe it’s freeing in a way–if I didn’t meet the big goal, then I guess I can just spend my time doing the little things I want to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ah, but reaching the big goal requires us to complete the small ones first, doesn’t it? Regardless, the path we want to take and the path life gives us often differ. But as long as we step on the path, all’s gucci, as they say.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The time for the big goal has passed, but there are other things I can do–and maybe in the final analysis, it wasn’t the best thing for my life anyway. There’s something to be said for dodging bullets.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I am actually struggling with a decision I need to make soon and the fear of failing again is what’s stopping me from making the jump.
    I have lived my whole life by the philosophy that one must go for what they want and if they do they will prosper (or just living by the seat of one’s pants) and It has never let me down. Then I was assaulted by a co-worker and was injured so bad i have been out of work for over a year. I lost everything and to me the biggest failure of my life was having to move back to my dinky home town. Now I have the chance to move back to where I was and where I was thriving at life and I’m scared to death.
    Thank you for the post because I really needed to hear it from someone else. even though you don’t know me or my story it was exactly what I needed to hear today! Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, what a lovely comment to receive, and thanks for sharing all the things you have on your plate right now.

      I’m just some dude writing blog posts on the internet, but to have you sharing your thoughts and appreciation just makes everything worth it. So conversely, YOUR comment was what I needed to hear today. Thanks for takign the time!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. What a fantastic life lesson! There is a lot of pressure surrounding setting achievable goals, followed by guilt when we do not meet what seems like a simple thing.

    Life changes. Circumstances change. It is the effort that counts!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Exactly Stuart, everything changes in this life and I love the points you stated here. Also, I definitely 🔥agree that it is better to try and fail than not to do try and become a coach potato. Have a great day and weekend brother🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  20. After reading this post, I am confident that everything must happen for a reason.

    I’m going through the hardest, craziest times in my life currently and every single point you made hits close to home and has given me hope.

    Subscribed

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perhaps you going through hard times is also a great reminder for me to always be grateful. Or perhaps it’s a start to a great blogging friendship. Either way, I’m glad you came over!

      Like

  21. a great post Stuart and lesson learned with your great message START Somewhere my friend. Something we all need to do. I’m going to hit the gym for my rehab well in just a few more minutes of reading here before my 12:00 ……oh I guess i missed that window.. lol. Today for sure though really as soon as I get to that amazon order and review i NEED TO DO. 😂😂😂 Thanks always for the insight that always leaves me shaking my head… YES!
    💖

    Liked by 2 people

  22. The main thing is that you tried and you’re continuing to try. Most times if you continue to try something, you get better at it. So, you just might become a millionaire yet. 😀

    And why do we assume that we’re going to be an expert at something right out the gate?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We readily assume we’ll suck at a musical instrument, but we expect to be great at things like writing, running, fighting, without having tried them once, lol. It’s weird how we’re wired, aren’t we?

      And here’s to my millionaire goal!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Lots of things to think about here. I like the seize the day mentality; that’s important. Otherwise you can procrastinate forever. But I’m also interested in the idea of the writing not the accolades being more satisfying. As I’ve been poking more into the professional side of writing, it kind of sounds exhausting. All the marketing and business side of things. Being published has always been my goal, but I also don’t know if I’m cut out for that side of things. Maybe the writing will have to be enough.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s a step-by-step journey, for sure. I still can’t handle marketing, and would probably flounder badly, but having experienced the writing side of things, I can now focus on the new experiences of marketing.

      But there’s no reason to worry about all the extras if we haven’t completed our novel, so it’s a hierarchy we have to tackle.

      The business side of writing is exhausting indeed, and the extra skills we need definitely don’t suit the stereotypical writer, I’m afraid.

      Still, I wish you’ll give it a chance, because I too am going to keep trying, no matter how much I suck at the peripherals.

      Thanks for your comment, Alena!

      Like

  24. I love this! Absolutely true. I like to use ‘Opportunity’ over ‘luck’ though. I was reflecting the other day … because I’m a thinker too … I’ve missed a great deal of opportunities along the way. (I’ve even written a post about action – back in 2020 – didn’t get around to posting it though. Blah!)

    I can do better, and will.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there kind stranger! Would love for you to finish that 2020 post and share that link so I can read it. Yeah, ‘opportunity’ is a good way of putting it. Because after all, luck = opportunity + preparation, amirite?

      Thanks for your wonderful comment!

      Like

      • 🙂 I see you’re using the “Luck is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity” quote. I’m leaning more on the side of Preparation plus opportunity equals success. I reckon luck stops short of doing the “action” required to ensure we’re ready for the opportunity that knocks, therefore seeing it by chance only.

        I’m sure we could debate on this forever. 😁

        Hopefully I’ll post my ‘action’ post soon, though it’s not nearly as thorough as yours.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lol yeah we could definitely debate this forever. Doesn’t help that I just watched a Veritasium video on whether successful people are lucky or if they got there through grit.

        Some might say that being born in a prosperous country is already a huge leg-up where luck is concerned.

        But it doesn’t matter to me either way, because whatever I believe won’t change how I choose to live today, amirite?

        Waiting for your post for sure!

        Like

      • Interesting. I take it you agree with luck over grit…

        Some might say this, yes, but life is what you make it, wherever you are in the world.

        🙂 I love that amirite at the end of your comments. I think it’s waiting for a ‘yes, you’re right’. Well … I reckon what you believe informs how you choose to live each day. Your choices (whether sub/conscious) are rooted in your overall beliefs about life.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. At times we are so focused and engulfed in our desired results that we forget the reason we started and this clouds our judgments and then we tend to overthink things without actually executing. Funny thing is that most times we get our desire results while other times something entirely different from what we actually visualized. My point is trust the process because it is only when you start, you can keep on heading towards the goal.

    Thanks for the inspiration Stuart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wonderful words, and what a great contribution of a comment. I can’t add onto this because you’ve said it so well.

      On a micro level, I’ve found this to be the case for writing too. Sometimes you write what you want, but other times, you end up in a totally different place than when you first planned. But it’s the starting that matters.

      Thank YOU for writing this!

      Like

  26. So much of this resonates for me! I got a notification from WordPress the other day that I’d been with them for about 12 years! I started a blog to chart my progress as a painter. We had a baby around the same time and in the following 6 years I did about 1 painting and 1 post a year! In 2016 I told myself that I’d try to post once a week. Which meant trying to paint at least once a week so I’d have something to write about! I’ve managed to keep that up pretty much every week since. I’m still no great shakes as a blogger, but when I compare my paintings now to when I started… it all makes sense and seems worth it! Everything has to start somewhere! Thanks for a great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow, what a lovely comment, John, and thanks for sharing your 12-year journey here. I was like you, in that my beginning years were so haphazard in posting, and that’s only for writing! I can’t imagine having to paint, and write about it. And my word, you do have amazing talent in your craft for sure. I love that you stopped by!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. OMG! this post of yours. so connected every part of me. “Embrace the shitty first draft before you lose the idea entirely”. the shitty first step we failed is the results of many things. couldn’t agree more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is especially important for me because I always feel like I have great ideas, but after a week, those ideas would seem stupid, and what could’ve offered so many possibilities will now become part of my idea graveyard.

      Much better to pursue that idea while I still have the hubris and see where things go, am I right?

      Anyway, loved that you stopped by!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I used the ‘Gallery’ block instead of the typical ‘Image’ block. I’m not sure if that’ll cause any design issues, but it seems to be working all right for now, lol. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. This was very inspirational and motivating! I also struggle a lot with overthinking and wanting to be able to do something PERFECTLY or not at all, which only leads to frustration, disappointment etc. etc… In the end, it is always better to work towards something (even though that thing might change) instead of just waiting or procrastinating a goal! Thanks for sharing your insights!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I get that way with exercise. It’s either I sweat like I just took a bath, or I don’t start at all. But each time I have to convince myself that it’s okay to not go hard, because something is always better than nothing.

      Here’s to taking action rather than overthinking (which is easier said than done, to be sure)!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. “It’s the same with playing the piano or learning a new language. You could either whine about not starting during your formative years, or you could start at sixty and be a decent pianist by seventy.”

    That part really hit hard, cause I didn’t get to learn any of my parents’ languages and I keep whining about it [and it’s not really like I wanna learn rn], but whenever I get asked about it, I quickly pull up the “I wasn’t taught” card.

    And then the one about failing>>>not trying, I remember telling some people about how I wanted to have a podcast this year, but I never really got to making it.

    At the moment, I’ve decided to just focus on the little things I have already at hand. I’d surely do the rest, eventually.😅

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, that’s me and Chinese too. In the end, I decided to just start, and at least now I can read a smattering of words, and am not TOTALLY illiterate in a language I ‘should’ know.

      I’ve started enjoying small goals again. The way I see it, if I can’t even do the small things, then I don’t deserve to do the big things.

      So if I were in your shoes, I’d outline my podcast. Then I’d write it out, like 250 words a day, depending on if I have a guest. Then I’ll record a paragraph. Repeat. Mash them together into a 10-minute one or something. Voila! If all goes well, I’ll have hour-long podcasts.

      You’ve sparked my interest in perhaps adding complementary podcasts for my articles, so thanks for this comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  30. Lovely post, Stuart.
    I found out that the only thing standing between my teacher’s certification in the US and me was the dreaded college-level Algebra! I had opted out of algebra many moons ago in high school.
    In my fifties, I had to start from pre-algebra and reach college level in less than 6 months. Thanks to my family, that supported, chided, threatened, coached, and loved me in equal quantities, I stayed the course (not without resisting, complaining, and finding excuses to give up!) I am glad that I did. Because had I been adamant about not even trying to learn algebra, I would have missed out on my passion, teaching.
    Therefore, I agree, “Because at the end of the day, everything changes. So we might as well change for the better.”
    Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, your journey is a true testament of how we should all embrace change, Chaya. You’ve made me take stock of my current situation, which is at somewhat of a crossroads too. I’ve written for a living for a decade now, but I think I’m looking for the next steps now. I can’t be a content writer all my life, but posts like creative director or editor require vastly different skillsets.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story, and in turn, inspiring so many different thoughts in my head!

      Liked by 2 people

  31. I do like this post. As a woman who decided at 40 that I still had no idea what to do when I grew up, but who also had a light bulb moment when I realised that while trying to figure it out I’d done loads of good things… I ditched goals.

    Now I live in a series of steps, redirects and the by the phrase, ‘shake the tree, see what falls out’. And that’s just fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, I love the fact that you’re living by the tree-shaking phrase. In many ways, a great life is an accumulation of great days, which in turn, requires us to make the most out of each day we’ve been given. So you’re definitely on the path right there. Thanks for sharing, Helen!

      Like

  32. I think this is such an important thing to bring up. The world tells us we can only learn from reaching our goals. It forgets that sometimes the journey itself is as or even more important than the destination! All writers know this all too well, often painfully too! But hey, no pain no gain right? Thanks for this wonderful post to remind us that it’s ok to fall flat like your post’s lead picture (you gotta tell me where you get these pics bro; they’re so spot on!). Cos out of the ashes rises the phoenix!! Onward!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. “So every day, judge yourself not by the harvest you’ve reaped, but by the seeds you’ve sown.” I love this. In our achievement-oriented world, it’s all-too-common to get so focused on the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey. I always feel it’s important to do the right things, no matter where they take me. I’ve enjoyed a successful and rewarding career in a field that I didn’t even know existed when I was growing up. I’ve stayed in a middle-management position which, to some, would be perceived as a failure. But, I’ve had the opportunity to positively influence the careers of others through coaching and mentoring, and I’m viewed as an expert in my area. Those are some pretty decent seeds, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that quote too, because it gets me to take action instead of wishing for a better outcome. Same circumstances, different mindset.

      That’s so cool how you’ve positively affected the world, and yes, who cares what your outcomes were, as long as you went through life with benevolent intent? I’m sure you’ve changed many people’s lives, and in the end, that matters more than getting to C-level. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Michelle!

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Ah! Talking of timing and luck..it always seems to go back and forth for me. But I do believe that nevertheless, we should put in all our efforts for the things we really want in our lives and see what the universe has in store. At least, you can live with the fact that you gave it a try!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good point! And you know what they say, luck is when talent meets opportunity, so we need to put in our all to grow our talent. Then when opportunity comes, we’ll be equipped enough to seize it. Thanks for stopping by, Ashwini!

      Like

  35. It may be cliche, but it is much better to play the game and fail than not to give ourselves a chance. I don’t have many regrets about my life, but one is that I wish I had embraced new challenges more when I was younger. Maybe we don’t get hurt as much by choosing that approach, but we also miss out on what might have been a great opportunity. I’ve been failing at my fair share of things lately, yet I’ve seldom been happier. Here’s to those who make that leap of faith, whatever their pursuits may be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes. I’m all about the cliches, because they must be cliches for a reason. So I’d rather err on the side of doing instead of thinking.

      Of course, that’s much easier said than done, since I’m pretty cowardly when it comes to breaking out of my comfort zone.

      Glad to hear that you’ve started failing more these days (what a weird thing to say, eh?), and yes, here’s to always taking that leap indeed!

      Thanks for your wonderful comment, Pete!

      Liked by 1 person

  36. At 40, your words flow as gem, bringing smile to the face of the reader, and I think that how good you are in your writing can also be added to your list to show 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha. There are so many things to be bad at when it comes to timing. I’m bad at timing real-life conversations, which means I always end up having awkward small talk, lol. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  37. Numbers 2 and 5 resonated with me. I’m in my thirties now, and my dreams and goals certainly changed. I also learned not to take achievements for granted. If I don’t appreciate my achievements properly, I won’t be able to be satisfied with my life. I’ll want more and when the next thing happens, guess what? Yes, I’ll want more than that, too. Gratitude keeps me grounded.

    I personally needed to read about publishing a book. I’ve been thinking of writing my book and getting it published for a long time, but I know it won’t make me the next prominent writer from my country (yet), and I will also have to deal with the marketing and publication industry too. I sometimes wonder if it’s worth the hassle, but as you said, it’s not the reaped benefits but the seeds we sow.

    Like

    • Wow, what a great perspective to share. While you’re grateful for achievements, I’m grateful for thoughtful comments like yours.

      And yes, you definitely need to finish that book, then publish it, then build up your sales and marketing specific for books. Because the only thing I thought about once I reached those goals were ‘I could’ve gone much further had I not waited eight years’.

      Also, which country are you from, if you don’t mind me asking? And do you have a website? Since the link in your current Gravatar profile seems to be broken. Thanks again for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much for your lovely reply. I’m glad my comment added some value to this interesting conversation. I’m from Turkey, but I currently live in Japan. You can find me at bahanursawao.com :)

        Liked by 1 person

  38. Fantastic post, grounded and down-to-earth, rooted in reality and wisdom. I can apply all of these things to my search for a love partner (decades long search!) and it’s all the same stuff. Making peace with it is what I’ve been exploring now, but I also continue to take action. It’s kinda like if you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, something’s gotta stick, right?! 🤣 🍝

    Liked by 1 person

  39. SOOO TRUE! My core personality trait is waiting for perfection.. waiting for that perfect moment but like you said, waiting for that perfect moment is just wasting time! If you wait for your perfect audience (or even an audience, period), you will never start.. I always think of that famous quote by Jodi Picoult: “You can always edit a bad page but you can’t edit a blank page.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • More and more I’m coming to truly embrace that blank page quote. Because let’s face it, we all say it’s better to edit a bad page, but we STILL try our best to write the perfect first draft.

      Lately, I’ve taken to writing crap like ‘this section will be about time passing, and it’s going to contain points like: jiu-jitsu black belt and being old’, then properly fleshing it out in the second draft, lol.

      Oops, a bit of a tangent here.

      What I meant to say is, thanks for visiting, Jen!

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Heh—As a new reader around the younger end of things, there’s a lot in this post I feel me and my peers could use as life reminders!

    Cultures I grew up in and now live in have always been unhealthily result-centric—Just about everyone in my circle’s had the same rough journey of ditching their own goals to appease their families, only to come out drained, then discover happiness or stability elsewhere… I guess most of us learn one way or another, yeah? (。-∀-)

    I’ll probably forward some of this post to someone who just may need this kind of perspective- to my ears, this is pretty sound advice!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh wow, what a kind comment to leave, and a super thoughtful one too. Yeah, I live in Asia, and I don’t want to just put blanket statements out there, but over here, we’re super results-centric too, and all for familial expectations.

      You’re awesome for even intending to share the post, so thanks once again for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  41. “judge yourself not by the harvest you’ve reaped, but by the seeds you’ve sown” – who are you, old wizened one, and what have you done with Stuart? (wink wink nudge nudge)

    While I agree that your points are valid, I, too, am a queen of procrastination (seems to be rooted in lack of self-confidence more than anything) and a dreamer (most artistic people are). Currently unemployed for the last six weeks (temp jobs not as plentiful as in first part of the year) and spend way too much time thinking and dreaming over doing. Driving me crazy but thinking and dreaming have their place, too. All that ‘gotta always be busy doin’ somethin’ wears me out and at my age (61) I’m ok with slowing things down a wee bit.

    I like the point about failing – it’s the one consistent in my life! If there any one thing I’ve actually succeeded in (rather well, actually), it’s failing. Over and over and over again. The hard part of failing is learning what went wrong and not repeating the mistake. And I have failed miserably in that, as well. Thanks for the reminders!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a well thought out comment with so much knowledge packed in! And I guess we’re united in our susceptibility to procrastination. Though some might argue that procrastination is simply our mind’s way of telling us what we like and don’t like. I myself don’t agree, since I procrastinate on my writing, and I think I like writing. I think. :P

      Oh yeah, we do need to post-mortem our mistakes and see how we can improve the next time we face a similar situation, but it’s easier said than done, for sure.

      I really appreciate your comment, Denise. Thanks so much for sharing!

      Like

    • I forget where I heard this before, but it’s much better to start a journey, then adjust based on how far off course you are, than to think you’ll get it right the first time. Which is why, for me, good enough > perfect.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  42. I’m so glad you mentioned Sakuraba, Stuart. Younger MMA fans don’t l=know about him (I consider myself old before my time), and if they know of him, they never respect what he has accomplished.

    Also, I sometimes think that the saying of “It is journey that matters” is actually some good advice. I wouldn’t have learned so many things about computers, if I didn’t learn programming. I wouldn’t have learned anything about chess, if I didn’t went all nerd on it. I wouldn’t have learned so many things about martial arts history, if I wasn’t interested on them. I wouldn’t be writing today, if I didn’t like being challenged.
    Goals are fine, but sometimes, it is important to enjoy the journey. Because you’ll remember your experiences.

    Thanks for this wonderful article, Stuart!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, and to think Sakuraba still occasionally does exhibition fights at 53. I’m nearly 40 and already I feel my joints being held together by pieces of string. It’s no wonder he’s always taped up, lol.

      It’s so cool that we share similar interests, though I’m probably super casual in the programming and chess departments.

      I appreciate your kind words here as always, Tanish. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  43. When I hear some go-getter ask what is the quickest way to reach your goals, I always think – Lower your expectations! If the goal post is only two feet off the ground, you have a really good chance of hitting it. For instance, my goal today was be up by 7:30 and start applying edits to my new book. That goal post was apparently way to high. So I lowered it. My new goal is to eat a sandwich at some point during the day. Wish me luck.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lol you know you’ve got a lot on your plate (heh) when your goal is to eat a sandwich.

      But yes, micro steps are amazing! 250 words per day seems almost juvenile, but those 250 words have helped me achieve more than any binge-writing session ever did.

      Here’s to hoping that you eat that sandwich, Shawn! Wouldn’t want to be a starving artist now, would we?

      Liked by 1 person

  44. At 40, you’ve gained a competitive advantage on most with your goal perspective. As I reflect on my life spanning 14 United States presidents (and I’ve outlived 9 of them), my summary goes like this: goals are my servants, not my master. Keep the inspiring posts coming, Stuart!

    Liked by 7 people

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