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“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Henry David Thoreau
Upon completing the 102 mile (53 hour) endurance swim from the coasts of Cuba to Florida, 64-year old Diana Nyad found the ability to walk of her own strength to the finish line that she had set for herself. After four previous failed attempts, she had finally completed a goal she had set at the age of 28. However, it is the character that was revealed and the example of fierce determination that she set that surpassed even this most momentous, and as many wrongly deemed impossible, feat.
In an interview with Oprah, Nyad shared her mantra for her fifth attempt – “Find a way.” Not as simple as it sounds and quite revealing of so many truths about the doer.
No matter what goals we set out before ourselves, it is the metamorphosis that occurs while we are on the journey that we can never quite predict, but often in retrospect, provide the most amazing and memorable opportunities to create a fulfilling life.
Much like a scavenger hunt, we set out wanting to complete the task and prove that we can find the proper destination that the clues lead us to, but it is the winding trail along the way that offers the most amazing treasures and gifts. Had we not set out to achieve the goal, none of those gifts could have been unearthed.
If we remain determined to find a way, we discover what we care most about. And on the flipside, if the going gets too treacherous and unpredictable, and we choose to not find a way around these obstacles, we reveal to ourselves what we do not hold as a priority in our lives.
Whether it’s being dedicated wholeheartedly to one’s marriage and remaining determined to find a way to keep the relationship strong and healthy or never losing sight of finishing your screenplay and finding a stage that wishes to produce it, if you are sincerely passionate about something, you will find a way. And while the end goal will be extraordinary, the person we become will astound us.
A quick cautionary note when it comes to goals. While finding a way to achieve what we wish to accomplish, we must be sure not to tie goals to people or things (the perfect husband or a specific amount of money). Free will is a wonderful thing, but in appreciating that we have it, we must also appreciate and understand that others have it as well. And if we value free will as a basic right for all people, we must come to terms that there will be times when someone else’s goals don’t align with our own. So long as we set goals that have to do with our own abilities, then finding a way is always possible.
We can learn so much about ourselves and others based upon what they are willing to fight for. What we see may not always be what we expected, but when it comes to ourselves, there is so much knowledge to be gained.
Today, ask yourself, what is a goal I am willing to remain absolutely devoted to and thereby, always find a way? Whatever it may be, ask yourself, why am I so determined? By achieving this goal, what am I hoping to achieve? So long as the achievement you seek is something greater than who you already are and leaving the world better than it is at the present moment, track it down like it’s breakfast and you haven’t had anything to eat for days. If you are determined, you will find a way, and what you will find at the end is a person you may not have thought you could become, but are so thankful you did.
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