Despite what we've been told our whole life, pursuing goals isn’t like climbing a mountain but skiing down one.
If life is about the journey, not the destination, then why the struggle and hardship to get to the top? Doesn't it make more sense for that experience to the goal be an enjoyable one?
For this reason, I see skiing a more apt metaphor.
Bare with me.
The fundamental purpose of skiing (and snowboarding), is for the experience of going down the mountain, not to reach the bottom. The joy you experience comes from the challenge of the journey. You find yourself in flow when your ability is matched by the difficulty of the task you've undertaken. In this instance, the run you've chosen. Upon reaching the bottom you feel accomplished, not because you’re at the bottom but due to the tasks you undertook to get there.
When you're at the top of the mountain, you're not restricted to one path, you have a choice, do you stay on piste? Go off into the trees? Or traverse to less known areas? Each path presents its own challenges.
Similarly, for every goal in your life there is more than one way to get there and the tasks required to achieve a goal vary in difficulty depending on your knowledge, skill and experience.
You can see your choice at the top of the mountain as a metaphor for the journey you will embrace when striving for a goal. If you want to stay within your comfort zone, you can take a familiar route and stay on piste. However, if you do this forever, you will fail to progress because you will never learn anything new.
You can choose to challenge yourself by going through the trees. The more you take these routes, the more ingrained the tracks through the trees become, reflecting your knowledge of the skill being learnt.
Similarly, traversing to uncharted areas of the mountain where only the most experience skiers go may require jumping on additional chairlifts. Chairlifts symbolise educational resources such as mentors or courses that are required to acquire the most difficult parts.
So, if to achieve a goal you need to conquer a mountain, rather than obsessing about the top, you should embrace each day like you're already there and focus on the run you choose to tackle.
The end is simply a by-product of the journey you took to get there. So, we should no longer glorify goals, instead, we should glorify the directions we choose to go, because ultimately it doesn't matter where we end up, all that matters is we undertook the journey.
What is a current goal of yours?
What required tasks would you define as being on-piste?
Where are you travelling through the trees and refining your skills?
Where do you need a chairlift?
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