When I was 15 my goal was to become a rock star. Having that goal motivated me to learn guitar, learn to write songs, attend Berklee College of Music, form a band, and ultimately start licensing my own music and create my own internet business focused on music licensing. As an indirect result of setting and pursuing this one, admittedly lofty goal, I made many new friends, met my first serious girlfriend, moved to Boston, then back to Chicago, wrote dozens of songs and eventually started my own business. I could probably write several pages of things I accomplished that are directly or indirectly related to setting that one goal. One goal. Dozens of rewards and benefits.
The interesting thing is, I didn’t actually become a rock star. At least not in most people’s minds. But in a way it doesn’t matter, because just the act of setting and pursuing that singular goal, created dozens of positive ripple effects that spread into my future and are still spreading out into my future to this day. Had I not set that particular goal, I probably wouldn’t have attended music school, I wouldn’t have formed my first band, I wouldn’t have made the friends I made, I wouldn’t have met my ex-girlfriend of five years at one of my band’s shows, I wouldn’t have gotten into licensing my music, and I probably wouldn’t have formed my online business that allows me to continue my passion of writing and licensing music.
When you set big goals, the point isn’t to simply set a goal and achieve it. Some of the goals we set for ourselves we’ll achieve and some we won’t, but if we set goals that are big enough and that we’re aligned with, our lives will be better off because of all of them. If a goal is big enough, it will force you to expand as a person and take actions that will benefit your life in a myriad of ways. When I set goals today, I don’t just think about the end result of the goal it is that I want to achieve, I think about the entire process and how I’ll grow as a person as a result of pursuing my goal.
One of my newest goals is to become more successful on Youtube. It’s a fairly recent goal, and I have a long ways to go. But already, in the last few months. as a result of setting and pursuing this goal, I’ve recorded new music to use in my videos, I’ve created several new videos, I’ve added hundreds of subscribers to my Youtube channel and generated thousands of new views. I’ve also met new people that I’m collaborating with to make my videos, I’ve created a course with composer Dhruva Aliman who has generated over 300 million views on Youtube and more! Just one goal that has led to numerous benefits.
Setting goals also gives us a sense of purpose, which is critical to feeling fulfilled and happy. When I have goals and things to channel my energy into, I feel motivated and invigorated. Especially If I’m really excited about the goal. Whenever I find myself feeling down, it’s almost always related to a feeling of lacking direction or purpose. Life is a puzzle and one of the most satisfying aspects of life, to me, is trying to figure out how to best put together the pieces of my life. It’s a never ending process, but it prevents my life from ever getting close to boring.
If your goal is just to make money and pay your bills, that’s not necessarily a bad goal, but think beyond just survival. What are the things you’re really passionate about? If you had all the money you needed and knew you didn’t ever have to worry about money, how would you spend your time? The more you can blend your passions with your pursuit of money and survival, the happier you’ll be in my experience.
I have the great fortune of being able to spend most of my time doing things I’m passionate about and make enough money to survive comfortably. I may not have reached my original goal of becoming a bona fide rock star, but that single, original goal led me to learn so many new things, that led to so many new, related goals, that I now live a life better than I could have imagined, albeit different than I expected.
Set big goals and then watch the magic that unfolds. Reach for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.