On the drive home from Barnes and Noble today I witnessed a yellow butterfly cross the street successfully, a Eurema lisa, I believe. Although I cannot guarantee the actual species, this is what I found when looking on the internet. I thought back to the times I had seen butterflies crossing the road gayly, only to be killed by something as seemingly innocuous as the air stream off a car on front of me. While the butterfly is both innocent and ignorant, we all pass through life this way at some point on our journey.

When we step into the street to cross it, or into a marriage, mortgage, or conflict, we make a choice. This choice should not be made whimsically. Our choices should have purpose and direction. When we are young we dream and forget to plan the road to those dreams. When we are older we dream and relive the folly of our youth. A dream begins with a plan. A dream is more aptly referred to as a goal in adulthood and should be pursued haphazardly. A plan begins with an investigation of the goal. If we don’t know the ins and outs of our goal it cannot be achieved. A goal is not a job title, a trophy, or a trophy wife, for that matter.

To truly understand a goal you must seek out those that have attained such a goal or made progress on the journey to it. The journey of self discovery need not be in the dark if others can hold a flashlight for us on it. Some of the things to ask yourself are; how long does it take the average person to attain this goal? what skills will I need to acquire? The answers to these questions and others reveal bullet points for your to do list. Each item on the list is a goal in and of itself, and should be taken no less seriously than the final goal. Failure on any one item ends the pursuit. Remember, the devil is in the details. This is not just a question of the means to and end, the means are the substance that makes the end possible.

As you complete each intermittant goal you will need to reflect, and possibly redirect. If the path were strait and without obstacle it would cheapen the goal. Life is rarely easy and dreams are such because few attain them without the proper preparation. This action of reflection and redirection will require humility and honesty, but will act in the vain of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Use each opportunity to round out your bullet points, identify weaknesses to add to these bullets and enrich your appreciation of the final goal. In time you may achieve your goal, you may not, but in the case of the former there is no place for resting on your laurels.

At completion of their goals many people rest without focus on the view now available to them. The greatest gift of each of our achievements is possibility. In the completion of our goals we create a grander plan on the way to self actualization. Before the moment of any one particular achievement we cannot fathom the heights to which we may be able to soar. We each begin on our backs and fight to crawl. This achievement is the foundation on which we walk, run, and climb to new heights. Henry David Thoreau said it best: ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.’

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