Narrative connections

Moving Goalposts

Moving Goalposts

Our goals are normally pretty straightforward. We aspire to go to a certain college or make a specific team. We want to make a pile of money or rise to a level within an organization. But what happens when the goalposts move? What if those objectives feel unattainable or lose their merit?

It is probably pretty safe to say that all of the typical goals we had are off the table for now. The structure of the landscape we operate within possibly has been altered forever, and those roles, schools and teams may not even exist in the near future. And money? Well, who the hell knows what sum of money will be required for our satisfaction.

How do we plan or set goals when we do not know how success will be defined? Success may be redefined by simply surviving. Or, we may need to go deeper and redirect what we value to start measuring success. In other words, it is probably time to stop thinking about self-preservation and focus on loving thy neighbors. We may want to let go of greed and envy, and reconsider a bigger purpose for our lives.

It may come off as soft when we talk about letting go of power over others in exchange for support of others. But it is the complete opposite. I believe it is soft to hide behind data, technology and one’s own selfish needs. It is a recipe for low self-esteem and pain, while focusing on others is a path to true enrichment. In fact, I think when things get tough, the tough rise up and dedicate their lives to others, just like the healthcare heroes around the globe.

I am a big fan of capitalism because it disperses wealth to productive people. But I believe capitalism works best when the exchange of goods is used in the servitude of others. Our dependency on China is a derivative of greed and immediate gratification. We sourced lower cost products as competition ensued, and our need to expand our margins on the same products grew. Rather than create more value through serving others, we simply sought a lower price.

And now we find ourselves in quite a predicament. But maybe the shifting of the goalposts will force us into a better version of capitalism and overall service of each other. Maybe a commitment to looking out for our neighbors can improve our lives in variety of ways.

Personally, my wife and I have used this time to get to know our neighbors a bit more. We have even helped them with their lawn work. And when they were effusive in their praise for us and asked why we helped, my wife simply said, “We want to raise our kids to be neighborly and kind.”

Neighborly and kind seems far off right now. I doubt a lot of people are feeling all warm and fuzzy these days. But it might be time to take a page from George Costanza and do the opposite of what comes naturally. If I recall, when he decided to go against every natural instinct in his body, he ended up getting the Yankees’ job. So, maybe, just maybe, we need to let go of self-preservation and consider doing the opposite.

When we endeavor to enrich the lives of others, the personal dividends will be significant. In the end, maybe having the goalposts moved will be exactly what we need.

Be safe and be kind.

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Mark Potter

Founder / Consultant

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