"People are accustomed to consider the goal (purposes, vocations, etc.) as the driving force, in keeping with a very ancient error; but it is merely the directing force -- one has mistaken the helmsman for the steam. And not even always the helmsman, the directing force." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Goals are created to inspire; inspiration is sought for the sake of inspiration; but nothing is accomplished. This is regressive, outside-in behavior; it is useless energy--entropy.
The saying, life is about the journey--not the destination, is true but many people distort the wisdom and choose only a journey. Or, an equal and opposite mistake, they choose only a pleasing destination and use it as inspiration to continue an unsatisfying journey. In both cases, the inspiration becomes the motivation, the purpose to plan, the goal.
This brings to mind the so-called self-motivation movement. How can anything self-motivating come from outside sources? Think of this quote from George Carlin: "I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose." This is simultaneously funny, sad, true and too common. People spend their time looking at maps, dreaming about destinations, drifting aimlessly or failing to ever leave the shore.
"It is indeed beautiful to see a person put out to sea with the fair wind of hope; one may utilize the chance to let oneself be towed along; but one ought never have it on board one's craft, least of all as pilot, for it is an untrustworthy ship-master." ~ Soren Kierkegaard
The solution to this aimless activity is simply to observe it for yourself--within yourself. Ask yourself reflective and introspective questions:
- Why do I live? What is my purpose?
- Is what I do aligned with who I am?
- Am I the greatest influence on my journey or is it just hope and inspiration?
- Are financial goals created for financial purposes or for life purposes?
There is a redeeming quality in aimlessness; discovery may not occur if the course is too rigid; and drifting with your hands off the wheel can be both rewarding and necessary at times. However, even if hope and inspiration can push your craft along, the purpose of the journey is not to fill the sails with wind.
You are the driver--the helmsman of your journey, your life. You choose the craft, the destination and the journey. However, none are more important that being your own driving force.