Why goals lift us out of the mud

gunners-of-the-2nd-heavy-anti-aircraft-regiment-rca-pushing-a-3-7-inch-anti-aircraft-gun-through-mudImagine you’re trudging through a muddy field.

It’s up to your knees; the mud is sucking at your feet, every step forward is a battle; the wind and rain are lashing your exposed face and body.

It’s a miserable experience and you’ve got at least another 8 hours of this before you get where you’re going.

By all accounts, you’re having a pretty shitty time of it, and it’s not going to get better any time soon.

But while the current situation might be objectively cold, wet, miserable and hard – there’s no requirement for you to feel bad about it if you’re working towards a good enough goal.

How you feel about trudging across the field is going to depend on what you’re telling yourself about WHY you’re doing it.

If all you can think about is the field itself, then you’re in for miserable time. The road will be slow, the effort will be immense and the experience will be unnecessarily painful.

But if you can keep your eye on the prize, if the goal is meaningful, then it can transform the experience.

Meaningful goals put our current experience within a bigger, more meaningful context and this can drastically change our perspective of the here and now.

Suddenly we’re not just trudging though the mud, we’re going home to our family. Each step gets us closer, so each step now has great value.

If we’re in training, then each step makes us stronger and gives us more of an edge against our competitors.

If we’re making art, then each step, no matter how painful, becomes an expression of our work, a mechanism for our message.

But if we haven’t taken the time to give ourselves a meaningful goal, then guess what? We’re just trudging through a muddy field.