How To Know If You’re Ready To Pursue Any Goal

All goals have resistance along the path to achievement. At every instance of resistance, you have the same choice.

A) Give up.
B) Continue.

At this point in history, it’s been shown repeatedly that persistence works. Overcome resistance on the 341st try and it still counts. People have conquered so many different types of challenges with bleak odds that “I can’t” doesn’t even make sense anymore. So how do you know if your goal is one that you’ll go the distance with? The short answer is passion to see it through, and here is the long answer:

It’s only when your own failure, safety, and embarrassment become secondary to your goal that you are ready and willing to go the distance with it. Anything less than that will result in hesitance or giving up in the most critical stages of adversity and uncertainty.

It only takes one obstacle that you’re unwilling to overcome to ruin your goal.

Why We Give Up

We give up sometimes because we know there are easier ways. The easy way is rarely the best way, but easy is always tempting because it’s the most comfortable way. Life is a balancing act between taking risks and feeling secure/comfortable. As risk rises, comfort falls. This is why passion is necessary to succeed (see this link to read my own counter argument) – it increases the importance of taking certain risks above the importance of staying comfortable.

In regards to the goal you’re thinking of right now, if you find yourself worried about failing, finding a way to make it work, how inconvenient it would be, or avoiding embarrassment, you aren’t passionate enough. You shouldn’t start a goal unless you’re committed to it (or else you’re abusing motivation).

Do You Have The Passion? Here Are Two Ways To Get It.

1. Focus on why you want to pursue this goal.

What about it is important to you? Are you willing to take a risk on it? How important can it be if you’re not willing to risk much for it? With reflection and consideration, you’ll discover if the goal is or is not important enough to you. When you grasp that something really does mean the world to you, you’re going to pursue it with reckless abandon, and that’s how stuff gets done.

If nothing you know of stirs up that kind of passion, even after reflecting, maybe you haven’t found it yet. Some people don’t find it until late in life. It isn’t always obvious, and it isn’t always easy to find like the movies have you believe (“The chosen one” BS, haha). For some of us, it actually takes adversity to “awaken” our passion. It did for me.

2. Adversity may trigger your passion.

I graduated college with a degree in Finance in the summer of 2010, and I began to look for jobs. Due to the high job seeker/job ratio and perhaps bad luck, I was unable to secure a job for about one and a half years. My mindset as I graduated was to “get a secure 9-to-5 job and earn a decent living.” After feeling so rejected and still believing I was capable, my career plans were turned upside-down.

“If they won’t give me a chance, I will,” I said out loud. My passion was growing.

For 25 years, I toyed around with the idea of entrepreneurship and being my own boss – never very seriously because a regular job was supposed to be a given. My passion was average. But when I failed to get a job after going the safe route, I thought, “Now I don’t see why I shouldn’t try something myself.” The reason I hadn’t tried before was due to my mediocre passion, which could be seen in my fear of failure.

Getting rejected was exactly the adversity I needed.

I never would have started the blog if adversity hadn’t cornered me. Adversity and passion are counter-forces and one will lead to another. In this example, adversity made me passionate, but also, once you pursue an important goal passionately, you’ll face adversity!

The way to lose is to respond to adversity with passivity and submission. Do this and your life will be bland. You won’t get what you want out of life.

When I finally did get a job 1.5 years later, I was supposed to be thrilled to have any job, but I quit on the first day. For the first time, I was able to confidently say, “this job is a hindrance to my dreams.” I never would have dared to say it before, but I was full of passion. Since then, I’ve been working a flexible contract job that pays exactly twice as much as the job I quit and gives me freedom to pursue other ideas.

When adversity is the inciting catalyst for your passion, it is due to a “back against the ropes” feeling inside you that removes fear. You become just like the hero in the movies, hanging on to a thread with nothing to lose. I became many times more passionate about life as a whole after I struggled. If you don’t think you’ve faced this yet, maybe you have but haven’t acknowledged it. Maybe you’ve already chosen to react passively to it. I can’t know everyone’s situation, but nobody has smooth sailing from birth to death. Use “negative” events and situations as positive catalysts for passion. Taste defeat and you will no longer fear it.

Martin Luther King, Jr – A Passionate Man

In King, Jr.’s case, he began with a passion for the cause of racial equality and the adversity he faced fueled him further.

To further illuminate King, Jr.’s passion, examine the following excerpt from one of his speeches. Notice how he values his own life less than doing God’s will (his underlying passion). Observe his complete lack of fear. See how he acknowledges adversity, but doesn’t let it affect his plans.

This was the last speech Martin Luther King, Jr. ever gave. He was assassinated the next day.

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats… or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. [applause] And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! [applause] And so I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 3, 1968

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s passion was indisputable and his purpose was clear.  It’s why he succeeded with, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most difficult feats in history.

Don’t be afraid to set your sights very high. In fact, easy goals are more challenging in a way because they lack the meaning and adversity that fuels passionate motivation. Lofty goals have the highest passion potential, and as we’ve discovered, great passion is a formidable force.

Discard fear. Be passionate. Go.

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Riley Harrison

That’s an excellent post Stephen. Have you identified your goals with specificity (I believe that vagueness is the enemy of personal growth) and if so what are your specific goals.
Riley

Stephen Guise

That’s a great question and I agree that vagueness is lethal to personal development.

I have some vague goals that I’m trying to sort out into specific actionable goals. Well, they are primarily unrefined ideas that need to be refined more to be useful. That said, I at least know my next project is to write my second book. I’m in the process of gathering ideas, doing market research, and ultimately deciding the topic.

Cheers,
Stephen

david

Thank you for sharing your personal story in this post. I always find that the most interesting. I do not think everyone can find a passion. For myself, I do have some things that I want to see happen, but passion may not be the right word.

I feel there are things I want to accomplish because they ‘should’ be accomplished. I feel more a sense of duty than a passion. I don’t know if that makes sense to you, but I do not think everyone has a ‘passion’ to pursue – I could be wrong and I often am! any thoughts?

Stephen Guise

I’ve often thought about that question – “Does everyone have a passion to find?”

It boils down to interests and emotion.

Passion is really an emotion, so if someone isn’t very emotional or suppresses their emotions, then I could see them not being passionate about anything. Then again, if nothing in the world is of great interest (typically the starting point for passion) or if many things are on the same level of interest (so that a single passion could not be identified), maybe that could be a reason for not having “a passion” (i.e. your greatest interest above all else).

Speaking generally of passion, it’s important to me. It isn’t necessary to live life with passion, but it makes everything more exciting. It’s a matter of what level of emotion you choose to live life at. Some are calm and steady, while others are fiery and a lil’ crazy. 😛 Both are solid ways to live!

One thing I don’t believe in is a single passion for each person. I have several passions that are all fairly strong and prominent. They all compete for my time and attention.

Hmm…I think I’m going to write a post about passion. You’ve sparked a few ideas.

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