Why You Should Give Up On Long-Term Dreams
Give up on your long-term dreams. And thrive!
I heard this phrase a while ago from a 17-year-old boy diagnosed with terrible cancer. That phrase hit me in a very powerful way and has been nagging at me since then.
Some time after that a 45-year-old friend of mine, Tony, said to the lads one night over a beer: ‘Oh, I’ll worry about that when I’m really old….like when I’m 55.’
He’s a hugely smart man that Tony, but for once I was able to say to him: ‘Tony – let me tell you something I know that you don’t. When you’re in your 50s as I am now, 55 does not seem old.’
Being in your 50s feels older than I thought. But I am very much thrilled about it. Because I have the answer to looking to the future with abundant optimism, hope and enthusiasm.
It was given to me by a desperately ill 17-year-old boy.
Here’s what I learned:
BE MICRO-AMBITIOUS. FOCUS ALL YOUR ENERGIES ON SHORT-TERM GOALS.
“Forget about long term dreams,” said Jake Bailey, the 17-year-old school captain of Christchurch Boys’ High School during his valedictory speech, a week after being diagnosed with a deadly and seriously advanced cancer.
Don’t get too far ahead of ourselves, encourages Jake. Be micro-ambitious. “Let’s be passionately dedicated to the pursuit of short-term goals. Work with passion and pride on what is in front of us, today.”
This is indeed sobering advice and not everyone will agree with it. I do, however, have loved it and applied it to my own life.
Sure, I have long term plans and I have strategies about how I want to get there in 5 to 10 years but I write them down and put them in a folder. Then I file them away, make a note in my diary and go back to the drawing board. I re-shift my focus to the year ahead.
What do I want to achieve in all aspects of my life? What am I aiming at? What are the milestones? What are the events I want to see unfold? What am I looking forward to? What’s my ‘reward’?
My micro-ambition for this year concludes with a vision for the December / January school holidays….11 months away. That’s my reward. And there’s a diary note on my birthday- just before Christmas- to double check my list: to see how I went with my micro goals.
That’s as far ahead as I’m looking. Long-term plan and strategy in place and written down. Very occasional moments of daydreaming about what could be in some distance, opaque future. And then clarity around the next 12 months. Short-term micro-goals that I am throwing myself at with passion and pride. “Don’t get too far ahead of ourselves.” Want to join me?
**Great news: Jake Bailey is now in remission after inspiring millions. His future lies ahead of him. Good for you, Jake. A very warm hug from someone you touched across the ditch.**
Chris Savage regularly gives us great advice for our blog about career, business and life in general. If you like to write your musings down about accounting, finance, banking or just career in general, why not get in touch with our marketing manager? You might be seen here next.