We've all heard the saying, "Diamonds are a girl's best friend."
And don't get me wrong, I love shiny pieces of jewelry just as much as the next girl, trust me.
But, the older I get (and the harder college gets) I'm starting to realize how important it is to set goals for yourself. It may sound kind of silly that I'm just now realizing the importance of having goals in life, given that I'm going on 21 years old. But hear me out.
Obviously growing up people are constantly asking you about your goals. Maybe not in those exact words, but growing up we all hear, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" or "What are you doing after graduation?" or my personal favorite, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" And growing up we hear questions like that so often that by the time you're getting ready to graduate high school, you've trained yourself to give an almost robot-like response. I've noticed that my answers to those kinds of questions have become automatic and they never go off-script.
But what I also noticed, was that most of the time I was just saying those answers to satisfy whoever was asking, not because I believed them. To be honest, that realization scared me. I had to step back and ask myself if I had actually set any specific goals for myself. Yes, I had the ones that I'd told relatives and advisors and potential employers when they asked, but how real were they?
Then came the epiphany. I realized that what I had created were shallow goals. They were goals that I hadn't put much thought into. They were nice on the surface but had no depth to them. They were goals that I had convinced myself I wanted to achieve because of the number of times I'd repeated them but had no idea how to actually attain them, or if I even wanted to.
For example, people lately have been asking me what my plans are when I graduate with my bachelor's degree next Spring. And for months I've been answering "I'm going to law school," and the conversation usually stops there. It wasn't until someone asked me things like where, or why, that I realized I actually had no idea.
And so began the process of creating goals for myself that were thought-out, consistent, and answered every follow-up question they could possibly have.
As a revised version of my law school goal, after considering things for a while, I've figured out that I truly do want to go to law school. And after more soul searching, I realized it's because it's one of the most direct routes to helping people. At least, the most direct route that's realistic for me. And that's what I'm truly passionate about, helping people and using my voice for those who are constantly being talked over.
I see now more than ever in our society (and under our current administration) that there's a need for lawyers who want to help in the biggest way they can, to affect the most controversial issues right now.
After I reexamined this goal, I realized that there were probably a lot of other goals in my life that needed some TLC.
When we're asked about our goals, however the question may be phrased, nine times out of ten our answers are shallow. Not shallow in a vain or selfish way, but shallow as in they lack deeper thought and consideration. Or even worse, they have automatic, scripted, robotic explanations.
Take a look at the goals you've set for yourself and ask yourself all of the questions you can think of about the substance of them. Why do you have that goal? What exactly are you doing/going to do to achieve it? Why do you want to achieve it in the first place? Will you be satisfied once you've reached it?
If we keep letting ourselves and the generations after us set meaningless goals, that they only came up with to shut up their relatives, then we're going to end up with a world full of people who are unhappy with who they've become, the career path they started down, or the decisions they've made based on goals they never really wanted.
Encourage young people to set goals that are personal. That mean something to them. The only way to clean up the messes made in our world on a daily basis is to have people in positions that they actually want to be in. To have people who are actually passionate about what they're doing.
Diamonds are great, but take the time to get to know your goals too. Make your goals your best friends, at least until you're satisfied with them.
Diamonds may look nice, but your goals can change the world.