Goals are Useless: Reflections on Life, Success, and Happiness, with a Special Appearance from the Seven Deadly Sins

I’m superman.  Always have been.  But, having two major surgeries this year, due to the superman antics I’ve done with my body all my life has me reflecting a bit.

I had some quiet time yesterday and as I sat, sipping bourbon, my life thus far came flooding out of me and into my note pad.  Maybe a bit messy, but here goes …

In school, on motivational posters, and so many “success” books teach us to set goals. 

We’re taught to set goals, but not to act or do.

We are taught to plan but not be bold.

We’re taught to listen, but not engage.

Then there’s the pressure, the guilt, and expectations.

“Make us proud, Johnny!”

Okay, quick side note.  I steer clear of the seven deadly sins.  I don’t do pride, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, and certainly not envy.  Just not good for the soul.  Besides, I don’t want anything to have that kind of power over me. 

And how pompous is pride?  I have a great family and my kids are doing incredible things.  They impress and amaze me.  I’m very happy for them and they make me happy, but I don’t say, “I’m proud of them”.  It’s weird.  It’s like I’m superior and accept praise somehow for their achievements.  “I’m so proud of you.”  “Oh, okay … thanks for your approval.  I’m glad you’re pleased.”  Right?

I don’t know; maybe I’m weird.  No … I am weird.  Whatever.

I’m just so tired of hearing about goals, purpose, passion, and other empty bullshit. 

Just go do shit.  I’ve never set one goal in my life. 

My dad worked part-time as a plumber, because he was on disability from a heart attack.  He was illiterate until the day he died, but you’d never know it.  Manly man and a hard worker.  I had awesome parents and I grew up below the poverty level.  We didn’t have much money, but we made it work.      

From that perspective, what goals could I have possibly had.  Everything seemed impossible.  A poor and violent, crime-ridden neighborhood, where everyone talked of any kind of success with such negative tonality.  Even my parents.  I’d see a sports car and say, “Wow, I’m gonna get me one of those.”  And my parents would chuckle and say, “Yeah; lots of luck.” 

And you know what my thought was?  “Fuck you and fuck that” I don’t do luck.  I do doing.

Today; right now, I can go out and buy a Porsche or a Ferrari.  I have that ability.  But it’s financially stupid and I don’t need it to validate me.  And to whom, for that matter.  Besides, I really like my Durango.  She feels and looks good without all that high maintenance drama.       

I never had any goals.   

Yet, I started three businesses, sold one of them, and dissolved the other two.  I wrote the incorporation papers, hired attorneys and accountants, managed the accounting, sales, and marketing, as well as carried out all the actual work.  Great experience.   

I lost over $41k on one business investment when we didn’t have that kind of money to lose. 

Resiliency.  They don’t teach that shit in school either. 

I worked as a bartender, waiter, a haberdashery salesman, personal trainer, and even a yoga instructor.  I know; crazy, right?   

I wrote and published a book in 2012, and wrote over 200 articles on business, life, and wellness.  I’m published in two magazines, I publicly speak, and I even had my own YouTube channel for a while.  It wasn’t very good. I write this blog.

Writing a book didn’t make me money but I didn’t do it for that reason.  However, it made me credible to some opportunities and from those I made money.  I still get opportunities because of it. 

No goals.

I’ve bought and sold five houses without a real estate agent.  Wrote the add copy, took all the photos, did the open houses, posted them on the internet, and hired a real estate attorney to complete each transaction.  Not easy, but it’s really not that hard.

While I trade stocks, invest in crypto currency, and have other small sources of income, my primary job is leading a sales and business team that produces about $20 million a year. 

Just doing.

I don’t wear a tie and have never owned a suit.  No need.  No want.  However, I can put together some damn handsome ensembles.  Remember, I worked in a haberdashery.  Mostly it’s a t-shirt and jeans for me.

I love when my friends grow in wealth, happiness, and acquire awesome shit!  I’m so happy to see people enjoying this human experience to the fullest.  Buy that fucking mansion!  I’m crashing your pool, but I’ll bring a bottle of bourbon for the house motherfucker.  I love you!

I’m genuinely happy to see good people succeed, be happy, and love life.  I love my family and friends.  This is where life’s true value is.

Money and any form of success I’ve gained came as an indirect result of continuously improving myself every day.  I wasn’t very smart in school and I barely made it through college.  But since then, I’ve read over 600 non-fiction books and continue to read about three a month.  I read and write every single day to improve my knowledge and thinking muscles. 

No goals attached to any of it.

I’ve found that the more improvement I make, more money and opportunities come as a byproduct of those efforts, sort of like six degrees of separation.  The universe is not transactional. 

I get gratification and joy from the doing; the process.  The results, when they come, are a nice bonus. 

We’re taught to focus on the results.  The result is the goal.  We’re taught that happiness and success is in the achievement of the goal.  Until then, we must grind and toil and work.  Ugh!

In my business, like most businesses, we have goals and quotas we must reach by a certain date.  These are handed down and mandated by the corporate monster and it is what it is.  We surpass those goals all the time, but only as a byproduct of the process.  We live in the doing and we enjoy it.  We don’t live for the goal.  And guess what happens when the goal is reached; they set a new one and the accolades and any joy are extremely short lived.  I know those who live by the goal and they are stressed out, unhealthy, and not fun to be around.  It’s very sad.

Go do shit, be bold, engage with people on a human level, laugh, don’t live for someone else’s expectations of you or to “make them proud”, and don’t acquiesce to mediocrity or “this is our lot in life”.

Be you.  Do you.  Have fun.  Now. 

Love you.  Namaste.

Photo by Kevin Chinchilla on Unsplash

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