The 54th Deadline

A Motivation and Creativity Blog by Nhan Pham

The 54th Deadline: Goals in Mind

Janis (Glow)

Art by Hans C. Chow


A valuable, important lesson I have learned over the years is how crucial having goals are for the sake of productivity. Without goals in mind, you become directionless. Even if you are stumbling forward, you aren’t stumbling toward anything in particular.

It takes a lot of honesty with yourself to be like, yeah, I want to achieve this or that. The more ambiguous we make our ambitions, the more random they become.

But, more than anything else, you just don’t have any structure or sense of urgency without some kind of concrete goal to work toward every day.

After all, what can one hope to achieve without having an objective or two to accomplish?

Personally, I have experimented with various goal-setting measures. I have written them down, I have tried to keep tasks at the back of my mind (bad idea – you forget about them among everything else running through your head), and I have even tried more elaborate processes.

So far, there hasn’t been the type of consistency I would like. Perhaps I just need to try a bit harder with sticking with a strategy that will force me to be productive from beginning to end.

Getting the Grade

I look back at my most productive times as a student in school, and what was the common factor? Well, it was just getting that (good) grade. It was easier for me because the result was always the same – work toward that ideal grade. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But life doesn’t work that way, unfortunately. Things are a lot looser.

You can’t let a grade define everything about you, and life is no different. I wish I learned this notion from school sooner. It’s the intellectual journey that should be the focus. The results will speak for themselves if you don’t take shortcuts and skip some steps.

I would gladly admit I would have to flunk myself if I were to grade my past few years regarding staying on task. A big F would be quite fitting at this point. I deserve every ounce of it.

But that’s OK.

If there is something school does a bad job of teaching you, it would be just realizing that a bad grade doesn’t have to be the last mark you will ever get. Life gives you plenty of chances to make it up.

You aren’t tied down to it.

Fail. Fail often. But keep going. Keep hacking away until you finally get it right.

For me, with a stronger sense of “getting my life put together” once and for all, I have to do better.

I refuse to give up.

“Progress is perseverance.” – Nhan Pham

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