Tyranny of Goals

Goals with dates are interesting. Yes, they allow you to focus. To make tough choices. To put the less important things off… but they’re also a little tyrannical.

So much of the good in my life has also come from having what my favorite professor, Dr. Brian Little, calls, “perspicacity of peripheral vision.” There are many reasons to love Brian (here’s one), but that phrase has always stuck with me, and has been borne out in my life. If I had stuck to my goals, I’d probably be a doctor… but instead I ended up working with a crazy band of college friends on gaming software and later helping build a virtual world with another crazy band of folks across the world. And, this led to my wife, my living in SF, my daughter, and more interesting experiences than I ever could have planned for. And now I’m working on something that may help more people than I ever could as a doctor. I am so darn thankful.

And that’s the thing, I couldn’t have planned for it. If I had been solely focussed on a singular career goal, I would have missed out on many of the best parts of my life.

I don’t have a hard or fast rule for when to use goals and when to just have focus areas while allowing for perspicacity of peripheral vision. But, I do try to lean toward the latter. Then again, when I have to ship software, nothing works better than a deadline. :p