When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world buzzes about goals and visions. Focus. Create a vivid picture of exactly where you want to go. Dream big, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The problem, as Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling Upon Happiness, is that we’re horrible at forecasting how we’ll really feel 10 or 20 years from now – once we’ve gotten what we dreamed of. Often, we get there only to say, “That’s not what I thought it would be,” and ask, “What now?” Ambition is good. Blind ambition is not. It blocks out not only distraction, but the many opportunities that might take you off course but that may also lead you in a new direction. Consistent daily action is only a virtue when bundled with a willingness to remain open to the unknown. In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.

(Author: Jonathan Fields)


When I think about my future and imagine myself at a point 10 years from now, there’s a few things that I see consistently. I’m married and, by my own definition, have a successful job. I’ve created some great things and gotten noticed for it. I feel rewarded by my work. I feel satisfied with what I’ve accomplished.

The problem with this vision is that I don’t think it’ll ever truly happen. I mean, when are we ever completely satisfied with EVERYTHING we’ve done? I think to some degree, I’ll always want something more than I have. I’m a human being with a thirst for experience. I doubt that will go away with time.

Thinking about other pathways was a good exercise. I’m having a difficult time putting everything into words, but here are some of the possibilities that I thought about when diving deeper into what alternatives I don’t often see:

If I sat here long enough, I could probably think of some other alternatives and pathways. But the exercise alone has given me a lot to think about. It was a good reminder that I may not know which way my life may go. I can only do what I’m doing now and learn from it. I can experience it and guide myself along the course as I see it.  When I think of my future, I always see myself moving forward. It’s rare that I can imagine myself taking a step backward. But it can happen. Anything can happen.

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