Reaching the Moon is Overrated
You know that old adage “shoot for the moon, even if you miss it you will land among the stars.” Fun fact — it’s actually not an old adage, it’s just a quote by a motivational speaker named Les Brown and didn’t even come into existence until the 1990s, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less relevant.
When I was a pre-teen, I wanted to be an actress. Not the kind that works their way up doing student films and off-off-off-Broadway shows, the kind that is discovered walking their dog in the park and quickly skyrockets to international superstardom. After months of listening to me whine about it, my mom decided to put me in an acting class; she was generally pretty into extracurriculars and this was right up her alley. After about two weeks of acting class, I realized that I hated acting class. It was the worst. I had to actually speak in front of people, sometimes even without preparation.
Fast forward a decade or so and, surprise! I am not a famous actress. My career peaked when I played Mrs. Cratchit in the Christmas Carol in seventh grade. But the experience taught me an interesting lesson — having high expectations may not always yield the kind of results you want to see, but they yield results, nonetheless. In every position that I’ve held over the past ten years, a bit showmanship and public speaking has come in handy, so those two weeks of acting class laid an important foundation.
Today, I have many goals for myself.
I want to be a published writer, but I often miss the boat on the consistency and discipline required.
I want to be fluent in French, but I am too chicken to actually go to a local MeetUp and open my mouth for fear of what might come out.
I want to be a world traveler, but discover over and over again how much I love being home, surrounded by familiar comforts.
I want to be a superhuman health nut, but dammit I love bread and candy!
It’s obvious that these goals are not getting accomplished in a hurry, but that doesn’t mean I’m getting nowhere.
Maybe I don’t have a book out yet, but I do write frequently and think about what I’d like to write every day. I freelance, I blog, I write reviews, so in the end I am a writer after all.
There may never be a day when I speak French fluently, but my love of francophone culture has allowed me to explore new music, new literature and expand my worldview — not too shabby!
No, you probably won’t find me wandering the world for years at a time, but I will always seek out new adventures in exciting places, which means I will never stop learning.
And, okay, I am far from superhumanly healthy, but I graduated from eating mostly pasta and hamburgers to being a pretty decent vegan cook who eats all kinds of vegetables.
It’s working! I haven’t reached the moon, but I’d say I’m doing pretty well among those stars.
So why should you care?
Well, chances are you’ll be in the same boat. If you set goals for yourself and don’t reach them, you may get discouraged at first, but as time goes on you’ll discover that:
1. Having goals at all keeps you focused and moving forward.
2. You will learn to accept that failure is a totally normal and acceptable part of life.
3. You will discover new skills and opportunities along the way and those failures won’t seem so much like failures but instead resemble building blocks.
Here’s your homework: Write your top five dreams or wishes — they can be as outrageous as being shot into space with Stephen Hawkings or as simple as wanting to learn a new skill. Once you have your list, try to work toward that goal a little bit every day, week or month — you can decide on the unit of measurement!
That’s it! You’re on your way to “star”-dom.