Stop Chasing Finish Lines
What goal are you running towards?
Quitting your job to travel?
A fat end of the year bonus?
Getting hired at a dream job?
Finding your right person?
Launching your business?
Take a second to visualize that moment. Imagine signing the contract, the direct deposit hitting your bank account, pushing send on your resignation email or filing your LLC paperwork.
Isn’t that going to be a great feeling?!
Well I’ve got some bummer news : you’re never going to accomplish that feeling.
That moment you’re hoping, waiting and working so hard to achieve will never actually happen.
It’s a finish line you’re never going to cross because you’re in the wrong race.
“It’s going to be a six figure check.”
A realtor friend had been working with a high dollar client to buy a four to six million dollar home. For two years he showed house after house, working tirelessly to find this client their dream home. On the other side of the purchase awaited a fat payday.
For nearly two years my friend worked to finalize this monumental sale with visions of closing the deal and getting a check for $100,000+ dollars.
And then the sale finalized!
His clients purchased a multimillion dollar house and all of his hard work paid off and he accomplished what he’d been dreaming of for years.
“I had been dreaming of the moment they handed me a six figure commission check. I thought in length about what I would do with the money.. but when they handed me that check I felt none of the feelings I expected and in turn felt the opposite.”
My friend had interwoven internal expectations to an external situation and then those feelings didn’t actualize like he expected.
Years of expecting one thing and then, in a split second, he realized those feelings weren’t going to happen.
After winning the NBA championship, the pinnacle of accomplishment for a basketball player, Kevin Durant felt this exact same feeling.
“After winning that championship (last season), I learned that much hadn’t changed. I thought it would fill a certain [void]. It didn’t.”
How many times has this happened in your life?
How many times have you reached an external checkpoint only to be let down by the resulting feelings that didn’t actually accompany that checkpoint?
A raise at work
A new dream job
Launching a business
Starting a romantic relationship
Taking a vacation
Did they ever actually live up to the expectation?
The idea of the finish line of accomplishment is engrained deep in modern culture and manifests in infinite ways throughout daily life.
“I can’t wait until…”
The reality is that moment never arrives.
Running for the finish line with hopes, assumptions and expectations is the wrong approach because it ties our internal feelings to an uncontrollable outside situation, making our feelings a dependent variable.
Whenever we attribute a feeling or emotion to a destination, we’ve started the journey to accomplishing that destination on the wrong foot. We’re starting from a place of external expectation that lies outside of our control.
Ralph Waldo Emerson never actually said “Life is a journey, not a destination.” He said something much better..
“To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.” - RWE
There’s no finish line down the road.
Starting any race expecting a finish line means you already started that race on the wrong foot.
What Ralph was saying, and what we need to remember, is that every moment is the finish line.
We have the potential to accomplish those feelings we’re expecting someday, right now.
Find the finish line in the process, the daily, the smallness and life is filled with daily accomplishment, success and love of the journey. That way we’re not trying to get somewhere, we’re just simply trying.
“That’s when I realized in the offseason that the only thing that matters is this game and how much work you put into it. I mean, I’m crazy about winning, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not obsessed with winning championships. It’s not the only reason I play. I play for my individual growth.”
Stop playing for the championship because it never arrives. Play for the sake of playing because then everyday is the championship.