Are Goals Good For You?

Josh Koerpel
3 min readNov 17, 2020
My goal in India? Don’t die.

Josh, here.

Once upon a time, in the absolute middle of nowhere, there was a girl I met who was riding her pedal bike through the Himalayas. She appeared as a little dot in the distance, and as I motored closer to this strange silhouette on the road, I realized it was a girl…with huge calves.

You could learn a lot from this girl.

Naturally I had to stop. This was the first person I’d seen all day, let alone the first person on a bike I’d seen in like a month. She was going in the opposite direction as I was, and after the introductions we chatted about where in the world she came from. Just two crazy kids, a girl from Norway and a guy from Pittsburgh, PA, chatting it up at over 8,000 ft on a remote cliffside road in the Himalayas.

What was she doing all the way out here? Alone?

It turns out she’s ridden her bike all the way from Norway. All that way, solo.

What was her goal? To ride all the way to Vietnam.

That’s 7,408 miles. Straight shot. Now THAT’S a goal.

Coming back to you for a second…

Step back and ask yourself…”what’s the point of achieving anything, really?”

Why not do absolutely NOTHING everyday?

Well, imagine it. Imagine that all you did was eat and sleep and repeat. Nothing more. The same thing each and every day, forever.

Would you be satisfied?

Doubtful. Any opportunity you could get your hands on to break free of your mind-numbing routine? You bet you’d seize it.

This is what goals do.

What A Goal Is At It’s Core

Think about it long enough and you’ll see…

What a goal does is give you a reason to break free from routine. A reason “to do” and experience new thoughts and feelings. To escape the rut of mediocrity and challenge the body and the mind.

We are beings that thrive on stimuli. If you found your true purpose and it was “to simply exist,” would you feel fulfilled in that pursuit? Probably not. We as humans search for new things to feel, new emotions to have…constantly.

Why do we do this?

Each new experience lets us better understand our old experiences. It provides a point of comparison. And thus, get a better understanding of who we are at our own core.

That is the ultimate goal, right? To understand ourselves.

Because once we do, we can love ourselves more, and feel fulfilled as we project that love onto others.

So…Are Goals Useful To Have?

Yes, but probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

I bet you’re thinking…

“Goals are useful because they help me achieve things.”

I beg to differ.

I believe that as humans we are instinctively drawn to ways of experiencing the new. Goals give us hope that this “new” is possible. However the goal itself doesn’t shine a light on those new experiences we anticipate. Instead, it’s everything that happens in between the starting line and the finish line that matters.

Those are the twists and turns that truly enlighten us, and that give us the new stimuli that we so savagely seek.

Back To The Bike Girl…

Her goal was to get to Vietnam in one piece. To not get captured or kidnapped. Break a leg or have her bike stolen. Contract a foreign disease or be denied entry at a border crossing.

But do you think it was actually the goal that was driving her? Or do you think she became addicted to the journey?

I’d argue the latter.

Her goal provided context for it all. It became a distant light acting as a reason for the suffering. But that’s all the goal did…it provided a general direction.

The day-to-day journey was what really drove her. The smiles from strangers. The tea shared between friends. The laughs, the fears, and the peaks and valleys of human emotion. She was making progress everyday, and that filled her with hope and drive. “Vietnam was far in the distance…but where am I going to be tonight, though?”

So to recap…

Goals are great for points of reference.

But if you really want to succeed, become addicted to the journey itself.

Like I said, you could learn a lot from this girl.

To life, amigos!

Josh

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