This is an interesting question one can ask at the beginning of a journey or deep into one. The person who’s at the beginning asks out of fear of failure, of wondering if he/she will regret all that investment of time, money, energy with nothing to show for it.
The person deep in the journey will wonder if they should quit and do something else. Here’s the thing. When it comes to that ONE thing – and that ONE thing will be different for each one of us, it’s GOT to be a LIFETIME thing. For other goals, you can always adjust. But for that ONE THING – it’s got to be a lifetime thing. In other words, you have to have TRUE commitment – that no matter what happens, you’re still going to continue to do it.
You’re going to commit to getting better, to trying new things, advancing, improving, and still try to achieve your goal, and if it happens, great, and if not, that’s OK too because it’s just the icing in the cake. You see, when you’re at 99.9% commitment – all those fears of failure, regret, wasted time, embarrassment, shame, guilt, etc., – it’s at its highest level. But when you commit 100% – when you tell yourself no matter what happens, you’re still going to do that ONE thing, for the rest of your life, then all that fear and tension is gone. You relax. It’s so damn FREEING.
You can stop worrying about “what ifs” and start focusing on doing. On getting better. On trying new things. On Improving. Innovating. Because it doesn’t matter what happens because you’ve committed to keep on going despite whatever happens. Suddenly you don’t see any more roadblocks anymore. It seems like nothing is standing in your way. And another great happens when you do this.
You make the important shift from goal to growth. It can’t be about the “top of the mountain I did it” yell because if it is, now what? It’s got to be about the climb and you have to like that climb. You have to want to like the climb of your ONE THING. And if you do all this, chances are better you’ll achieve your goal faster, because you’re doing the very thing that will give you the best chance, but it’ll just be a nice pit stop and you’ll go back to doing what you’re doing.
This is how you build something that LASTS. A car company can have the goal of being the #1 reliable car in the world by a certain year so they’ll do everything they can do to get it and they do. Then the normal outcome is a let down. The cars that follow aren’t as reliable anymore. Then they vow to make things right and be #1 again. Then you get a let down. You get into cycles.
This is how you can see if you’re focused on goals or growth. Goals tend to lead to cycles. Growth leads to consistency. A goal leads to a one hit wonder. Growth leads to consistently making music, far after a one hit wonder. The Beatles could’ve packed it up after a couple of one hit wonders, but they kept going because they were committed and built something that lasted. What do a lot of those one hit wonders do after their one hit? Something else because they weren’t committed. That’s how you know if somebody is really doing their ONE thing – if they keep doing it after they’ve achieved their goal. It’s rare when this happens. It’s the writer who keeps on writing despite winning multiple prizes. It’s the painter who still paints after making millions.
The composer who still composes after winning Academy Awards. If it’s that ONE thing – commit. If you achieve the goal, great. If not, that’s OK too. Because it wasn’t about the goal. It was about the commitment to keep on doing and to grow.