Goals, success, and motivation to achieve

I am not really sure why I am writing this. Some people in my life have came up to me since I put this writing online, and said things like, “I like your blog," and "I didn't know that about you." I usually respond curtly with...well first of all its not a blog, and second, what I wrote wasn't meant for you, I write for myself. After having said a version of this to enough people I thought about taking this all down. Not only that, but I had a summer employer tell me that they had a meeting about me after making an offer, but before my start date, because of what I wrote. Shockingly, I even have gotten an email or two from who knows who they are. Some people really must have far too much time and no lives if they have time to correct the spelling and grammar of what I write. None of this was ever meant to be a law review article. I figured that if I am going to keep this online, I don't want the first (and most likely last) thing that people take away from this to be something political. There is so much more to life than politics, and it certainly is not the center of my life. Too many people live their lives as career politicians or in careers completely surrounded by politics. I feel bad for those people, but whatever works for them, it certainly isn't me though. If anyone, who this is actually meant for, which I don't even really know what that means at this point, reads this far I would like there to be a worthwhile take away. I think there are some people who are struggling right now who could come away with something worth remembering after reading what I am about to write.

In a yearbook somewhere from when I was pretty little it says that my most likely job is a motivational speaker. I think that they might have been on to something. I would never do it for money, like so many nutty, generic, motivational manipulators do at those conferences. But, I would do it if I could leave someone better than I found them after they heard what I had to say, and I think I could.

I have been beaten down, battered, told no, physically hurt more than most people will ever know, and emotionally hurt more than I will ever show, but I am still standing up in the ring and fighting for what I want working towards my goals. All this being said, none of my experiences are unique. Everyone has experienced these struggles, some more or less to a greater or lesser extent, but they are not unique.

What I hope to share with people is that success through reaching goals, aka the promotion you want, the job you want, the wealth you want, the relationship you want, the power you want, whatever it is that you want is not something that is just going to come one random day and change your life. The vast majority of people are not innately successful. I wish that I was. I wish that I was always picked first, got a call for the first summer associate position I applied for, or got into every law school that I applied for, but as much as I want this to be my reality, it isn't. There is an entirely different category of success, one that I think is much larger, although still very small compared to the population as a whole. I believe that most successful people are not innately successful. I think most people who achieve goals have been beaten down, battered, and told no more times than I have. I believe that what these people did and do is fight through the pain to achieve what they want. I think that true strength and success is found in this journey. I will go even further, I think some people find this strength, but see that the journey hurts too much and they eventually quit and settle. I don't judge these people. The road to ones goals is often lonely and painful, I can attest to to this. In so many ways it would be easier to just accept that I am regular, take a menial regular job, buy a regular house, live a regular life. If I did this so much of my own pain and stress would immediately go away. I can't do this though. For me it is not so much of pain in the negative sense, as pain is something that is molding me into who I am by burning off the layers of myself that I need to lose to get to the core. I guess this is my version of growth. If I settled I could reduce my stress, get more sleep, have so much more time, probably have a decent house within a short period of time, watch more TV, have the opportunity to actually relax, and probably build better friendships that I have always neglected, among so many other things. If I did this the physical stress, uncertainty, and quite often rejection would go away, but the emptiness I would have would turn me into someone that I am not. To be honest, I enjoy everything about the journey towards my goals.

It is interesting that I am sitting here today writing about success. For all intents and purposes I have not achieved my goals or objective success. That being said, let me say this up front. Success is not found in the destination, it is found in the journey. I have three goals, none of which I will bore the reader with, but I have not achieved any of my goals. Furthermore it is quite uncertain, and far from a guarantee that I will achieve any of them. I will tell you what I have done though, and what I hope that maybe this can help someone else to do. I found what I wanted and I got on the path/ road towards those goals. One could say my path is one that may have been open to me earlier in my life, but due to mistakes I made, is a road not well kept up, and in many places almost impassable without someone reaching a hand down to help me over the next hurdle. I am continuing to go down this road, whacking away the overgrown vines with a machete, and climbing through the potholes I can on my own. When I get to the hole in the road that I can't get over on my own I am going to be the only one still on the road, and I hope that my own growth will make me someone who someone else wants to reach down and help to the next level. If that doesn't happen I will find another way, and it will be a dirt path that goes around the main road and takes a very long time. If the main road to success isn’t a well kept smooth road, this dirt path is in even worse shape. It may even be a path I need to make for the first time through uncharted territory, but, I know that I can take this dirt path to get around the hole in the the road if I absolutely need to, even if it isn't what I want to do. Basically I know that I am on the road to where I want to be, and that if I keep fighting and never settle that I am going to eventually, and maybe not even in a time frame that I want, but eventually and ultimately, achieve my goals. The people who achieve their goals the ones who find the strength to keep going down the road towards their goal, regardless of anything and everything else.

I met someone this summer who is very objectively successful at a young age for the position she is in. When we really got to talking about how she got there I heard the truth. This person didn't just walk into the office she is in. This person was initially in a job that she didn't really want to be in, but she knew exactly what industry and what she wanted to do within that industry. She filled out many applications, and never heard back from anyone, with the exception of one company, where she has now become someone who is is objectively very successful, and who has even greater goals. I didn't need to ask to know that working initially where she didn't want to be, while being ignored by the industry that she really wanted to be in, was not a fun experience. What did she do though? She got the education she needed and kept applying to what she really wanted to do, and eventually she got the opportunity she wanted, and she took advantage of it. She could have given up at any step along the way and settled with a comfortable job, probably a less stressful job, that she didn't really want. She didn't do this, she choose the strength inside her to pursue her goals and reach success. She didn’t become a successful leader the day she got the opportunity she had been looking for, she became successful when she kept working towards achieving her goal.

This is getting to one of my points. Success isn't really measured by reaching your goals. That being said I think that all people who are successful will reach some version of their goals, and in most cases eventually, their exact ultimate goal. But reaching that ultimate goal isn't the success in itself. Being successful is getting on the path towards your goal, and really working towards it no matter how much it frankly sucks, at times. It is through making yourself into someone who goes after what you want, someone who keeps trying, and someone works hard and intelligently for a goal that a person becomes successful. I don't think I am any better than anyone else, and trust me, most people that know me will gladly attest to that with the so many mistakes I've made. Yet, here is the difference between me and most people. Most people give up on their goals and settled for something nice and comfortable, but not special. They are very happy, and many even consider themselves successful. Objectively though their success is not earth shattering. In order to achieve high level success you have to commit to the path and your goal, and keep at it. There will be so many times where people will tell you no, ignore you, and where you might be lonely in a library on a Saturday night reading for White Collar Crime (only if law school is part of your journey) or doing problem sets if your goal requires a graduate degree in Engineering. Furthermore, you can work as hard as you want, but deep down you will know, there is still not any guarantee that you are going to reach your goal. Strength and true success comes when you accept these things and still fight for the goal you are trying to achieve because you believe you can achieve your goal without any hint of external validation. In every single case when you do this you will eventually get what you want. But, eventually is not always when you want it to be.

I decided I will share one of my goals to make a point. I want to go to a certain law school. I didn't initially get into this law school, and I didn't get admitted as a transfer student. Most people told me that I need to just accept it and move on, that it is impossible. It is not impossible. It is only impossible to graduate from the law school I want to within the normal three year law school time frame. I have taken a situation that has almost entirely denied me one of my goals, and yet I am still on the road to achieving that very goal. When I do achieve this goal the success will not come in the acceptance letter, it will come in the person I molded myself into. The layers of myself I am shedding to become who I really am and achieving the actual goal are not mutually exclusive. For the vast vast majority of the few (kind of paradoxical isn't it?) who achieve their exact goals, the person they have to find within themselves to achieve that goal has to happen before the threshold of achieving the goal can be inferred.

Maybe I am crazy, and I am likely going to get more than a few comments on this, but maybe someone I don't know will read this someday and take something away from it. If that happens it was worth keeping some of my writing online. If you found this and you are going through a hard time trying to achieve a goal you have, I promise you that you can achieve it, if you commit to getting on the path towards your goal. It won't be a short path, it probably won't be objectively fun (although I find joy and happiness in the process), it definitely will be stressful, it will often be lonely (but not forever), and for almost the entirety of the path there won't be media, money, power, attention, or anything like that. When you are going after a goal for yourself none of these things really matter anyways, they are but a byproduct of goals that people achieve for themselves. Not many people will choose to go through the sacrifices needed to achieve their goals, and I'm not just saying this. For many of us our goals will literally take years. I read that during Navy Seal training there is a bell. Anyone can ring that bell at anytime. When a person gives up and rings the bell they are given a steak dinner, a cold beer, a lawn chair, and all the comfort they could want just a few feet away from the misery of the Seal training. Anyone can ring that same bell while on the road towards their own goals in life. Short term it is better, but those with goals think long term and play the long game because that is what goals require.

Keeping in line with the Navy Seal training analogy, there are probably three types of people. Those who have literally zero interest in starting to work towards their goals or do not have any goals, those who start working toward their goals and do not finish, and those that start and finish. Next time you wonder why you are not a partner or the CEO ask yourself if you got on the road towards your goal and if you truly stayed on the path towards your goal? I can almost promise you that whoever is in the position you want went through a storm to get there, and that storm didn't always look like a corner office or whatever the equivalent is for your situation.

You don't win a game during the game, you win a game during practice. Most of the work you do towards your goal is going to come when no one is looking. No one is ever, or rarely, going to tell you good job or compliment you. When you feel lonely, rejected, and like you are getting no where but you stand up, pull yourself together, figure out the next step (because there is one) towards your goal, and take that step, that is when you know you are on the right road towards achieving something for yourself.

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