So, you achieved your goal early. Now what?

Last Updated on May 9, 2022 by Rat Race Running

I recently watched Queen’s Gambit, and in the fourth episode, there was an exchange between Beth Harmon (protagonist) and Georgi Girev, a brilliant young Russian Chess player, after their match. 

I found the talk very insightful regarding the topic of goal setting and goal achieving. The conversation starts with Beth asking a series of questions for the young man.

Beth: How old are you when you started playing Chess?
Georgi: Four… I was district champion at seven… I will be world champion one day.

B: When?
G: In three years.

B: You will be 16 in three years. If you win… what will you do next?
G: I don’t understand.

B: If you’re world champion at 16, what will you do with the rest of your life?
G: I don’t understand.

What will you do next?

The question of ‘what will you do with the rest of your life after accomplishing your goals early’ is something many goal-focused and career-driven young people don’t think about.

Maybe many are just inspired by the successful people they meet, read, or see. But what if you make it early? What’s your plan?

Imagine if you plan on earning P100K per month, and you accomplished that at age 23? What will you do next?

If you become the youngest senior executive of your company’s history at the age of 25, what will you do next?

Or if you dream of becoming an Internet sensation, and you hit it after just a few months? What will you do next?

What will you do next? How will your life change if you achieve your goals early? Will you suddenly question the purpose of your rush?

Suppose you are young and just starting with your journey as an employee, an entrepreneur, an athlete, or a social media influencer. In that case, you need to ask yourself what you will do after reaching your goal.

Will you just call it a day and find another hobby, or will you just increase your goal to fill the void left by your recent accomplishment?

At the end of the day, you can’t just say that something is your goal without digging deep for a reason behind it.

Rushing into the endgame.

I remembered when I was younger. I had my goals fixed — I wanted to graduate on time, pass the board exam, then get a job.

But after accomplishing those goals, all of a sudden, I felt lost. I asked myself, what should I do now? Will I just work and work for the next forty years and then retire, then wait for a few years and die?

I think that was the beginning of my bout with quarter-life crisis and my journey away from the rat race. The sudden void left by accomplishing my goal without another one lined quite messed me up for some time before recovering and finding a deeper ‘why.’

It’s like the question asked by Wile E. Cayote after catching the Road Runner, “Okay, wise guys, you always wanted me to catch him, now what do I do?” (You can watch the video here.)

Focus on the journey, not the destination.

Like what I previously wrote, I always wondered why so many people are obsessed with reaching a certain level of success as early as possible, like before hitting 25 or 30.

Rushing to a goal is like riding a bike so fast that you overlook the beautiful flower fields on the sidewalk because you’re just looking straight, and you’re pedaling so fast. 

Then you heard someone say, “Have you seen those flowers?” But you asked yourself, “What flowers?”

Sometimes, we are too focused on the destination to fail to enjoy the journey. We need to understand that the journey towards the goal is much more important than the destination itself because of the lessons we will learn, the people we will meet, and the person we will eventually become.

We, human beings, are natural dreamers that when we finally realize a dream, we just move on to a new one.

Finally, when we achieve something that we always dreamed of, we can just look and stare at the finished work, give thanks to the Lord, give a nod of approval, and move on to the next one.

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