We call them dreams ..

So here we are again, saying farewell to 2015 and welcoming the new year, many might be thinking and evaluating their past achievements, looking forward to set new goals and resolutions for the new year.

What are your life goals ?

Most people are taught to have life goals, some people call it ambition, other call it a dream. People set their goals early in schools and they continue to pursue them for the rest of their lives.

The problem with life goals is that they are often big, big goals take time and require a good strategy and planning to acheive. for example, one might set a life goal to become rich, this can be achieved by following many strategies, you could try going through the education system then get a good degree and then join some big company and save as much money as you could. you could also try following a different path by learning a different skill or doing free trading or gambling etc ..

Other people might dream about settling down within a family, spending quality time a beloved spouse, and enjoying the pleasure of fulfilling their basic instinct of reproduction and settlement.

Breaking dreams into sub goals

All life goals are usually broken into smaller pieces or sub goals, achieving a life goal directly might be difficult and mostly overwhelming, so it would be easier and more practical to have it broken down into smaller pieces, for example, you could focus first on just finishing your school, then your next sub goal would be to get your university degree, then to find and join reputable company that pays well.

Games are pretty much the same, in chess, for instance, your ultimate goal would be to kill your opponent’s king, for that you could try many sub-strategies, such as Sicilian Defence or avoiding getting forked.

All of this seem to be nice and logical. however, as time passes by, we come to realize that this strategy is not really taking us to where we want in life.

At the end of every year, many of our dreams seem to be still far away from our reach, we are not as rich and successful as we wanted or predicted, we have not found the partner we had in mind, we have not lost weight, our health might be even declining and our lifestyles might be getting worse rather than getting better. so why does that happen despite following a clear strategy that supposed to work ?

it’s because sub goals are Dangerous, they don’t work in real life the same way they work in games.

I think the main dangers of intermediate goals are:


Real life problems are different because they have many variables involved, unlike the linear problems we see in computer games.

Measurement Difficulty

It is often very difficult the measure the relevancy of our sub goals to our ultimate goal, while in games you can easily know if you are succeeding or loosing.


In many cases we may fall victims to suboptimization which is focusing on one piece without looking at all the other pieces.

Good hart’s Law

This one is a very common concept in social science: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure”

We often loose our sense of time, we get into an infinite loop of doing the same things that drive our security and satisfaction, it pleases our DNA and matches with our social programming.

We totally forget about our ultimate dreams, our intermediate goals become our dreams, and we call them dreams ..

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