If you want to live an extraordinary life, you must have a big, clear goal in mind.
Something that gets you out of bed every morning. Something that you are accountable to. Something that directs your being & your daily toil.
Without it, you’ll be floundering around like the rest of us, going a bit in one direction, a bit in the other. Never quite sure of what the point of it all is.
I’m an atheist. I don’t believe that there is some higher purpose to our lives. I do believe, however, that that this should not excuse our apathy & lack of ambition.
Doing something that excites you every day, having a positive impact on other people & finding purpose in work is something that is consistently scientifically proven to lead to a fulfilling life.
The pursuit of a goal, a life ambition, is one way of achieving this.
Making the assumption that people want to be happy, in some form, it therefore follows that finding a goal to pursue is a logical step for you to take, regardless of which goal you dedicate your life to.
The Goal is not The Goal
The goal itself is actually largely irrelevant.
For the vast majority of us, our work will outlive us by a mere moment, if at all. Most of it won’t last past next week. Some of it may last a generation. Some lucky few may find that their work is still relevant after a couple of centuries.
But recognise the facts:
We are only a moment in time, one of countless billions that have come before us & will come after. Only your ego can convince you that your life will have anything other than an imperceptible impact on the universe. And that’s OK.
This is not nihilism speaking. I don’t say this excuse you to live a life of apathy & lack of ambition.
I do it to stop you making excuses. To stop you (very legitimately) picking holes in the whole “self-help, find-your-purpose” doctrine that is so pervasive.
“Well, what’s the point, when we are so insignificant? What is actually impactful other than preventing global warming or preventing nuclear war? Why can’t I just treat work as a necessary evil & enjoy my moments down the pub or watching Netflix?”
My answer to these excuses is the following:
You need to set an ambitious goal for your life for the simple fact that, without one, your life will be a series of monotonous, dull days that slump into each other.
That is because each goal is accompanied by a quest; a journey of struggles, successes & surprises that moves forward in its own unpredictable way. Your days become full of excitement, from novelty & fear, rather than the comfort of routine & the known.
Without a goal, what’s your story? What’s your journey been like so far? What struggles do you expect to face? Which mountains will you climb?
A life with purpose is a richer life. A more exciting life. A happier life.
So are you going to reject the science? To continue living a tolerable, relatively happy existence devoid of purpose? Or are you willing to pick a goal & see where your journey takes you?