success advice

Lifelong Goals vs. Short-term Goals (What’s Yours?)

A lifelong goal can be compared to a destiny, calling, ambition, purpose or what you’re on this earth to accomplish. A lifelong goal can’t be completed in one’s youth. Unlike a short-term goal, it may take over sixty years to complete your lifelong goal. The reason I mention all this is because every majorly successful business has based its motto and modus operandi around a lifelong goal, and almost every business that fails really failed because they gave up and didn’t have a lifelong goal to begin with. Having a lifelong goal means there’s no possible way you can fail because you never give up. Even in the face of bankruptcy and staff hunger riots, the business with a destiny pushes onward.

So I invite you to reflect on your goals. Do you have a lifelong goal? It isn’t impossible to succeed without one, because after all it’s not too difficult to find a service that people need and provide it. The special thing about businesses with lifelong goals is that their services are often unique in the sense that they may be new to a city or a phenomenon brought about by technology and evolution in general. For example, Steve Job’s lifelong goal couldn’t have existed in the 19th century. Most lifelong goals worth while are in direct relationship to the time they exist in.

If you don’t have a lifelong goal but you feel like you’re on a right track in life despite this, that is very good because some people don’t realize they’re life goal until near the end of life when they can look back and see the main theme behind all that they have accomplished. For example, a mechanic friend of mine dying of cancer realized his life goal had been to teach youth about old muscle cars in an age when engines were quickly becoming replaced by electric motors. During his career he wasn’t able to articulate this but this proves that even if you’re unaware of it, we all have a purpose.

A man like Jesus would not call it petty if your life goal is to put a smile on 300 people’s faces every day working full time at a fast food restaurant. To track the impact a person like this is having in the world is impossible. And you might want to call it a blessing if you aren’t aware of your purpose yet, because many people who know their purpose at a very young age have reported that it’s more like a curse than anything else. I know this feeling all too well. Knowing my calling and having an articulated lifelong goal for me means I am restricted to what I can do in life, and if I try to stray from my path my curse will haunt me right until my dying moments.

But how does a lifelong goal relate to short-term goals?

A short-term goal is something that in large or small way is something you need to do in order to accomplish your lifelong goal. For example, if your lifelong goal is to teach people about history through entertainment, your short-term goal might be to receive a major in history at university. What a short-term goal ISN’T is a chore. People make the mistake of writing “clean dishes” or “get car fixed” in their planner and thinking they have accomplished something. These are merely chores and although you might need your car to go to work, it isn’t crucial to completing your lifelong goal. For example, you can still buss or ride a bike to work. So really think about your goals and separate real ones from mere chores. Chores like doing the laundry and taking out the trash should not give you the same satisfaction that completing real short-term goals like writing a book or a taking dancing classes do.

My advice, as someone who studies small business success, is to spend a good hour writing down your goals and from that point onward remind them to yourself everyday. A life with a purpose may be cursed and restricted, but a life without one is meaningless.