If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Take You There

If You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Take You There

Reading about the struggles and success journeys of eminent personalities is always a source of inspiration for us. We are in awe of their resilience, how they worked to achieve their dreams and turned them into reality. Sometimes, we attribute their success to their good luck. We think of other factors such as their hard work, consistency, and discipline as a non-important aspect of their journey.

I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

Thomas Jefferson

One of the primary reasons why some people manage to change their lives is due to having specific goals. On the contrary many individuals around us live a mechanical life devoid of any purpose. They are unsure of what they want, and as a result, they either make poor decisions or hand over the reins of their lives to others.

The aforementioned quote hints at the risk of living life without an aim. In the absence of clear goals, we will become vulnerable to making wrong choices and live the rest of our lives according to the will of others.

What Is the Origin Of The Quote?

The aforementioned quote is widely attributed to Lewis Carroll. However, these exact words are not found in any of his works. The quote appears to be a summarization of the conversation between the characters, Alice and Cheshire Cat, from Lewis Carroll’s popular novel Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland, published in 1865.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
Alice’s adventure in wonderland, Chapter 6, Pig and Pepper

Who was Lewis Carroll?

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, popularly known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English poet, writer, and mathematician. He worked as a mathematics lecturer at the University of Oxford and used to tell humorous stories to young students to cheer them up.

Lewis’s first novel ‘Alice’s adventure in Wonderland,’ was published in 1865 and was based on the same comical stories he shared with his friends and students. After the immense success of his first novel, Lewis, published its sequel, ‘Through the Looking Glass,’ which describes more adventures of the novel’s protagonist, Alice. Both books are now popular novels for children, filled with humor, wit, and hints of valuable life lessons. Lewis’s famous works also include the novels ‘Sylvie and Bruno,’ published in 1889, and its sequel, ‘Sylvie and Bruno Concluded,’ published in 1893.

What Is The Meaning Of The Quote?

Compasses and maps are crucial prerequisites for drivers, pilots, and sailors to travel in the right direction and successfully reach their destination. In the absence of right directions or a predefined stop, the traveler can easily stray to an unfamiliar path, which might be dangerous for them. Similarly, our lives present us with many paths, which we must choose wisely by keeping our goals in mind. We won’t be mindful of our choices if we do not have any objectives for ourselves. Consequently, we will make random decisions that might harm us in the long run.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.

Albert Einstein

Let’s present an example: suppose there are 2 fresh high school graduates, A and B. Student A is unsure about which college to enroll in, what subjects to select, and which industry to join as a professional. At the same time, student B is clear about what they want, which institution to join, and what career path to adopt. As a result, they make confident decisions because of their clarity about their end goal. They also invest their time and energy wisely and do not waste it on things that do not help them get closer to their goals.

On the other hand, student A selects a college because of the influence of others or peer pressure, without considering their own needs or the results they want to reap. The absence of having proper goals will make it difficult for student A to choose when presented with different options and choices. Consequently, they would always rely on others to decide for themselves, which may not bring them beneficial results as it does for people around them.

Having a clear set of aims enables us to move in the right direction and doesn’t waste our time on things that do not help us achieve our goals. Furthermore, the desire to reach our goals creates a visceral feeling of motivation which increases our productivity and makes us more determined.

An individual who doesn’t have specific objectives lives a mundane life devoid of any purpose. Such a person is no different from a robot, repeating the same actions every day, without a vision of getting anywhere in their life.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Henry David Thoreau

The Importance of Setting Realistic Goals

Our goals work as a bridge between where we are and where we want to go. They help us remain focused in life and also make us aware of our time and resources. However, not every type of goal has the power to do that.

Setting unrealistic goals results in disappointments and often makes the person quit. For example, many people set a new year`s resolution to achieve a better physique or improve their health. They aim to transform their bodies in a month by going to the gym daily and following a strict diet. However, pursuing this unrealistic goal exhausts them physically and mentally. It also drains their motivation. As a result, many quit and return to their old routines.

Hence, when highly motivated or inspired, many individuals set a difficult goal for themselves, believing they would achieve it. But, when their motivation frizzles out, they realize their aims are not as easy to accomplish as they thought. Therefore, never test yourself by setting an exceptionally high goal or something that will put you in physical or mental turmoil. It will only result in failure and make you feel discouraged.

How To Set Realistic Goals?

Instead of setting one big goal, divide it into smaller targets. Accomplishing small goals will make you feel good about yourself and motivate you to keep working towards your objective.

For example, a person sleeps at 4 am daily and wants to become an early bird. If they set a goal to wake up at 7 am the next day, they are preparing themselves for a huge disappointment. Waking up early should be the ultimate goal, and the person should set small and doable objectives to achieve that. Hence, instead of directly jumping to waking up at 7 am, they should go to bed earlier than their usual time, i.e., instead of sleeping at 4 am, they should retire to bed at 2 or 3 am. Gradually, they should shift their bed timings earlier every week to get a proper sleep of 8 hours until they become habitual of sleeping at 10 pm and waking up fresh at 7 am. By following this course of action, they will soon reach their goal without feeling overwhelmed or incompetent.

Whatever your goals are, write them down and break them into smaller steps as your short-term goals. Next, focus only on how you can accomplish the smaller goals. Do not think about doing everything at once or achieving all your goals overnight. Create short-term goals, and work towards them. Completing these small goals will encourage you to keep working until you realize all your dreams.