As someone who has never really lived a goal-oriented life—I have no list of life goals, a bucket list, or anything of the sort—this piece by Jason Fried on never having goals really resonated with me.
I've always found it hard to explain to people that instead of having a goal, I have an ethos: I want to do good work with good people, and make someone smile every day. Mr. Fried's piece articulates the idea of goallessness quite well:
I can’t remember having a goal. An actual goal.
There are things I’ve wanted to do, but if I didn’t do them I’d be fine with that too. There are targets that would have been nice to hit, but if I didn’t hit them I wouldn’t look back and say I missed them.
I don’t aim for things that way.
I do things, I try things, I build things, I want to make progress, I want to make things better for me, my company, my family, my neighborhood, etc. But I’ve never set a goal. It’s just not how I approach things.
If I’ve used the word goal, I didn’t mean it that way. It was just the word I picked, a synonym for something else.
I really like what Jim Coudal said about goals:
“The reason that most of us are unhappy most of the time is that we set our goals not for the person we’re going to be when we reach them, but we set our goals for the person we are when we set them."
That pretty much sums it up for me.