Sunday, November 14, 2010

Attaining Your Dreams...At Any Cost?

Life strategy

2010.11.14_TwistedRoad I've had many conversations over the past few months about goals and dreams with friends, colleagues, and those I meet in the course of my business. Many of these conversations seem to focus on what mindset we need to have to achieve our goals in life.

A tangential discussion revolves around paths to our dreams, in other words the choices we make to reach them. This is what I refer to as the multiverse of journeys for each goal. The use of the term is because as much as we'd like to believe there's only one right way of achieving a dream, there isn't. As well, each choice creates a whole new universe of who we are and how we arrived at our destination.

Let's clarify through an example. Let's say I set the goal of becoming a successful businessman, as measured by creating a business from ground-up and gaining 30% market share in my industry with a 35% profit margin and doubling of company revenue for the second to fifth years of operation.

I could achieve this by starting a drug-trafficking business, or a legitimate, legal one. If I choose the latter, I could sell my house and invest it all in the business; or keep the house, but invest all of my savings, then borrow the rest from Angel investors. If I borrow from Angels, then I could approach my family, friends, professional investors, questionable lenders, or all of the above.

Each of these steps has its own set of trade-offs (risks and rewards). Not a single one is THE right one. The key is to determine what's your risk tolerance, whether you're concerned about exposing anyone else or yourself to excessive risk, and how committed you are to your cause.

Each one creates a new universe or path to my final destination of becoming a successful businessman. Some of them will have negative consequence for me, my friends or family, or the society at large. In other words, I have many options to reach my goal, and some of them will mean I'll get there "at any cost."

The question then becomes, do I want to reach my goal at any cost? I don't think so. Reaching a goal at any cost means I'll consider nobody but myself in reaching my goals. It'll mean I'll have to step on and pummel many other people's dreams. It'll mean I consider the end justifies the means, even if the means will destroy relationships with friends, family, and coworkers, or the very fabric of my being, transforming me into a person I never intended to become.

So, choose the path carefully and insure your choices lead you down a path, through a journey, out of which the new you is the person you truly intend to be. And forget about reaching a goal at any price. Your sanity and relationships aren't worth that "price."

What Do You Think?

Feel free to share your thoughts below.

Photo Credits

bala