Goalsetting is mind-numbingly devious. You have heard people tell you to set goals for yourself. You have set those goals for yourself. You probably realize this practice is only as applicable as you make it. It is much easier said than done. Anyone can set goals; anyone can say he or she has a plan. Here is a bit of wisdom for you: plans scarcely play out the way you intend them to. Why is this the case? Because, depending on the degree of goals you set for yourself, you have to go through quite a lot to attain them. You want to be a billionaire? Change a billion lives. You want to run a marathon? Eat, run, sleep, repeat. You want to put an end to violence in the world? Change human nature. You want to cut down to 10% body fat and stay there? Devote 10% of your conscious day to nutrition and exercise, consistently, for the rest of your life. You want to become the CEO of a company? Toil. You want to win the lottery? Buy a ticket. The pathway to your end goals is impeded by many obstacles, namely your family, your friends, the naysayers, societal dissonance, guilt, fear, excuses, lack of consistency, inflation of self-worth, and your mindset and drive to achieve such ambitions. You do not achieve anything in this life unless the work is put in. End of storyWhat you think you deserve means nothing. What you work to earn is all.  

Family. Being with family is a wondrous gift. Family is your origin and sanctuary. Though, when your goals are grandiose enough, family sometimes must go on hold. And because of this, you are tempted into giving up your goals for the sake of your family. Look, if you want to start a business, write a book, or embark on an excursion across the world, you must accept the fact that you will be off the radar for a while. Family is forever. Never forget that. It is not as though they are going to cast you out of their lives if you decide to follow your ambitions. They will still be with you as you go through the process of achieving your goals. This leads to the next point regarding family, and that is that sometimes your family will tell you what they believe is in your best interests. As a child, they told you that you could become anything you wanted to be—anyone you wanted to be. They would tell you that you could go to space, become a doctor, or be the president of the country. Now, in this day and age, if you have not already figured it out, then here is the real truth: you cannot do any of those things unless you are ambitious enough to set aside what you hold most dear and focus on achieving such feats. Now, today, family may tell you your goals cannot be achieved or that you must follow one clear cut path they intend for you. Above all, listen to your own self. Family has had experience, yes, but it is all so important to learn on your own. If you are to fail in your undertakings, then so be it. It is better to learn for yourself than to be told what can and cannot be done. If life were to be this easy, everyone would have one and twelve zeroes next to their name, in net worth. Take a gander and see for yourself; if you allow others to determine your outcomes, you will never truly succeed. If you allow anyone but you to control your emotions, you have already lost.   

Friends. Have you heard the saying, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”? Well if you have not, take a moment to think through what that means before reading on. Everyone is two-faced. Everyone has secrets. When you spend time with friends, you put on one mask and hide away another. This never-ending cycle of self-deceit will be your undoing. Who you associate with and know as your friends really will play a huge role in your future. Friends who pressure you into doing things you cannot afford to or will regret will ultimately lead you to a dead end in which you cannot move forward but, instead, back. Those of you who journey through life with the wise will become wise. Those of you who journey through life with the unwise will become unwise. That is not to say you cannot learn from the unwise. As a quick aside, this analysis is not the case for everyone, as knowing that would be impossible, but rather the case for the general population of people; you never know when someone will surprise you and turnaround for the better. Anyways, humans of the twenty-first century are beings of natural needs for approval. Look at social media. Your road to success is heavily tarnished—one might even venture to say impossible these days—if you become consumed in the online world. This topic comes up again and again and again. It is really unfortunate that it needs to be reiterated, and yet it does, nonetheless. Scrolling through the vicarious world will lead to your undoing. Friends who know your worth, wish to see you succeed, and support you in your endeavors are the ones who you must—not should, but must—keep by your side, in the real world, not the vicarious world, until the very end. Those who are bringing you down and go to extreme measures to make sure you do not succeed are the ones who you must turn away from and let go. Again, no one ever said success was easy. If you are truly set on achieving your goals, you will do this necessary thing to move forward. Forward thinking can translate into success. Notice the word ‘can’ was used, not ‘will’. Also, have you realized that most billionaires have very few friends, or that they are never with friends? Billionaires do not “hang out” as millennials today do. Billionaires do not spend their nights trying to forget the past. Billionaires do not waver in their ambitions. Billionaires spend every waking breathe either working on attaining more wealth or thinking about it in some way or another. Billionaires are focused on how to make income even while asleep. And so, if you think that having the most friends in the world will lead to success, think again. Once you have achieved your success, then yes, having a great many friends may be of use. But first, you must get there. Until you sprout into full form, focus on you, not them 

The naysayers. This ties family and friends together, as well as all those others who negatively impact your determination to succeed. Those who criticize your ambitions are no good for you. Forget about them. Those who oppose your ambitions are no good for you. Surpass them. Those who object your setting out to achieve something are no good for you. Make them see things as you do, and once you achieve your goals, tell them it can be done. This is what you need to do: put up a shield wall around your mind and acknowledge, every day, that nothing can break through the barrier or tap into your mind but you. If you know what it is you yearn for, then no opinion from anyone else matters. Do you think the bigtime billionaires gave the time of day to anyone other than themselves and their goals? No, they did not. Do you think those who built the world gave a hoot what anyone other than themselves was saying? No, they did not. Make yourself a priority. Forsee your ambitious reality come to fruition and make it happen. It is most likely that the naysayers are opposing your ambitions because they failed to achieve them themselves, and now they do not want to see anyone else succeed in what they could not. Write the wrongs of those who could not achieve what you will. Once you have conquered your own mind, no one and nothing can infiltrate your will to succeed 

Societal dissonance. The system is plagued. The twenty-first century tells you to go to school for two decades of your life, only to then fill a job that will either make you unhappy or will earn you an unsatisfactory stipend. There are, of course, those who are happy with their work, or claim to be. The thing is, education needs to stop proliferating the idea that a degree is a necessity to succeed and is mandatory to live. Education must begin to be viewed as a privilege, an opportunity to acquire more knowledge of the way of things, and a way to buy time while you work on something that will change countless lives. Time is the most valuable resource in the world, perhaps even more than money. Instead of spending the first fourth or fifth of life in a classroom, you could all be getting experience in the actual world. Yes, you might argue that in order to fill a job, you should get a degree, and that the workplace is getting all so saturated to the point that you need a degree, but the real truth is this: colleges are just another business industry. And so, realize that there is no necessity in life other than sustaining yourself. Education is not necessary to that, though it definitely aids in your endeavors. Some of the most successful people in this world either dropped out of college or decided never to go. Instead of learning in a formal, educative setting, they learned through experience. And experience is what many are lacking today. Experience will always be the greatest asset to your name. Society tells you that you must do things in one particular manner, or all is lost. Society tells you to think inside the box. Society tells you to conform to what everyone else is doing. Society tells you that you must work until you are 65 and then live life off a retirement fund. Forget society. You can retire at any age, 20, 33, 47, etc., assuming you have created a life’s worth of wealth for yourself. Your world is what you perceive, in your mind, on a daily basisHowever you see things is how you should live. Success is attainable for anyone, and yet society has a cunning way of working against you. There are no odds but the ones you choose to oppose. If you let the world dictate where you end up, the odds will always be against you, never in your favor.  

Guilt. You could be guilty of anything, really—guilty of distancing yourself from those you love or care about, guilty of forgoing another pathway in life, guilty of not taking care of your body. Whatever the case may be, and whatever goal you are setting out to achieve, guilt will tear at your insides and eat at your lungs until there is nothing left of you but guilt itself. Guilt correlates with past happenings that have already occurred. There is nothing you can do about the past! It is done. Stop wallowing in your own self-pity. Life goes on. Time does not discriminate. Move on and make good on your mishaps. If you missed a day in the gym, yesterday, nothing is going to happen to you, unless of course you make a habit of skipping out; go today and move on! If you ate a big meal and feel sick, nothing is going to happen to you aside from paying a visit to the toilet. If you distance yourself from your circle of associates and companions, nothing is going to happen to you except for that you will be missed. If you can get over that feeling, you can move forward with your plan to succeed. If you cannot, you will not succeed. Simple as that. There is only one option, then, thus making this simpler, in a way, for you, though probably not easier. Again, no one said this would be easy! Guilt equals past. Past equals dead. Today equals alive. Today, and tomorrow, but more importantly to comprehend, today, equals success. Think in this way and you will succeed in whatever you yearn to accomplish 

Fear. Fear of what? Why fear? Nothing can harm you but yourself. When you set out to achieve A, B, or C, what matters most is that you keep that shield up, around your mind. If you fear failure, you will never succeed. If you fear what you forgo to achieve one thing over another—opportunity cost—you will never succeed. If you fear what might happen, you will never succeed. The unknown future is not yet in existence, so there is no point in trying to be an oracle for what might happen, unless of course you want to plot out every possible outcome assuming you take one path over another, but even in this case plans are flawed. And so, there is but one option left: fear nothing. Fear not the bug that crawls onto your arm. Fear not the people who tell you otherwise. Fear not the things that keep you up at night. Fear not the days yet to come. Fear not the ultimate fate that binds the human race together. If you fear any of these things, you will either take an eternity—which you do not have—to achieve your goals, or you will be destroyed in the process, rendering you incapable of what you set out to accomplish. Fear nothing. Easier said than done. Was it mentioned that this would not be easy? Like anything else, practice makes near-perfection. There is no perfection. Practice does not make perfect. Nothing is perfect. Everything is always flawed, in some way. You can only ever strive for a “penultimate” perfection. So, you are tasked with meditating on what you currently fear, in order to squash such fears from your life. Never give delay to what is bringing you down. You must always face what gets in your way, or you will never succeed. Procrastination is the thief of time, as well as success. If you put off your fears to tomorrow, they will forever dominate your existence. Mindset is all. 

Excuses. If you make excuses for your goals, here is something to keep in mind: there are those who are on the same path as you in what you set out to achieve, and they are not making excuses. There will always be someone out there that has done what you want to do, not two times better but a hundred times better. Always, there will be someone a hundred steps ahead of you. You may eventually surpass them and become the very best, but only if you bury your excuses. Why do you excuse yourself from your goals if not to stay in a content, stasis period? Time and time again is this statement reiterated: never settle in life and never be satisfied. What is keeping you from moving forward? Write it all down, rip up the paper, shred it, and throw the remnants in the trash, not the recycle—apologies go out to those who are eco-friendly. This is merely an analogous case. So, by recycling this bit of paper, it correlates with the idea that you will allow these excuses to be able to come back at some later date for future use. If you catch the meaning of this scenario, then you will see that by throwing them in the trash, they will forever be destroyed. Do not bury them in the ground and do not throw them in the ocean. They will, at some point, rise up or float about for your eventual reuse. Free yourself from the burdens that so easily bring you down and tarnish your ambitions. 

Lack of consistency. If you worked out for the first three weeks of 2019 because you thought you could have a New Year’s resolution and become the person you always set out to be, and then you allowed more excuses to take hold of yourself, causing you to not work out for the remainder 49 weeks of 2019, just like in 2018, you failed, and you will not succeed in getting the body you desire. Guys and gals, listen up: New Year’s resolutions are as good as plans. They are flawed! They are ruinous! They are impractical! You do not need to wait for a new year to change something about your life. If you think you do, you will never succeed. “It takes 21 days to make a habit.” No! You are being lied to! It takes a lifetime to make a habit! That is because you keep allowing inconsistency to control your life. You will never fall below 10% body fat if you are not consistent in diet and exercise. You will never finish writing a book if you are not consistently writing and thinking about your creation. You will never start a business if you are not consistent in your work ethic and progression. You will never become the person you want to be if you are not consistently making changes to the person you are today. Change is good, if you implement it correctly. Consistency is good, if you actually are consistent. This is not Einsteinian mathematics, people, this is common sense. Be consistent in your approach to success, or you will never turn your failures to successes. Wake up, every day, at the same time in half a century as you do today. Work out, every day and in some form, at the same time of day in half a century as you do today. Read the same number of pages in half a century as you do today, every day. Consistency wins in life. Inconsistency loses. Plain and simple, but never easy. 

Inflation of self-worth. Saying and not doing. You cannot call yourself a businessman or businesswoman if you do not have a business. You cannot call yourself a bodybuilder if you do not lift weights. You cannot call yourself a writer if you do not write. You cannot call yourself an Olympic runner if you do not run. If you inflate your life to others and say you are things you are not, and you do things that you really do not, not only are you a hypocrite, but you lie to yourself. You are better than that. Do before you say. Be before you announce. Action before words. Why lie to yourself when you can be truthful by doing what you say you do? Lying to yourself and others, in this case, only hinders your long-term ability to succeed. So, how about this: dobe, and act on what you say you are and do, or do not say at all.  

Mindset and drive. If you mope around and tell everyone your problems without ever working on them, yourself, you are finished. Stop relying on others. Focus on relying on yourself. Stop trying to impress others. Focus on impressing yourself. Stop worrying about what others are doing with their lives. Focus on your life and your goals. Nothing else matters in achieving your goals but actually working towards them and loving the process. You must love the process. Success comes at many prices, but it also leaves clues. As alluded to earlier, people have already done what you hope to achieve. Therefore, find someone who has done what you hope to, best, and learn from them. Let him or her be your mentor. Learn how he or she got to the point he or she is today and follow the steps. Emulate them. Surpass them. Life is both a journey and a process, and in the end, it is all about whether you can get to where you want to be or not. Whatever it takes, do it. If you fail, you better bounce back. If you become consumed in your failure, you lost. If you make a mistake, take it easy and relax. No matter the mistake, life goes on and you can find another way. You might not if you give up, but you will if you give it everything you have. Play your cards properly and no matter how good a straight society plays, your flush will always beat it.  

The pathway to success has never been easy, as stated countless times over in this exploration of the pathway to success. By all means, plan. Plans are helpful, but know that life is going to turn your plan over in the grave. There will forever be roadblocks and yellow lights along the drive. If you allow such things to hinder your ambitions, then you can say goodbye to your dreams, for they will remain nothing but nightmares because you cannot achieve them. If there is a roadblock, go around it. If there is a yellow light on the road, that does not mean you have to stop, it just means to proceed with caution and tread carefully. Ultimately, if you really want something in life, you will find ways to have it. If you only think of doing something in life, you will never have it. Action will forever outplay thought. As much as there are those who would get in the way from your successes, it is on you to overlook them and set your mind to what you truly want. This is your life to live, not anyone else’s life. Own it. It is yours. Commit to your life and get to work. And so, the last point is this: there may be people, obstacles, and emotions that get in the way, but really, you are your own rise or downfall.  

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Thomas Maranian
I radiate both internally and externally, an infinitude of passion for creative thought, an unending lifelong code of self and peer-improvement, and an idiosyncratic perspective and outlook on all things good, bad, and in between. I believe that when we are, one day, gone, all that will have mattered is what we did to change this world, for better or worse.

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