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Shifting Goal Posts

Jul 06, 2023

Picture yourself on an exciting mountain hike, where the path is full of adventure and surprises. But wait, there are no clear markers or signs to guide you along the way! It feels like a guessing game, and you're unsure of your progress and success.

Now, imagine a trail that is well-marked with colorful signposts and exciting milestones. Each marker represents a benchmark, showing the distance you've covered, the elevation you've gained, or the checkpoints you've reached.

They let you assess your progress, compare it to previous achievements, and estimate the distance left to conquer. They are tangible measures of success, giving you a clear sense of how far you've come and how much further you have to go.

Without these markers, hikers might feel like they're wandering aimlessly or going in circles, losing sight of your progress and losing motivation.

Just like in our outdoor escape, benchmarks and indexes play a crucial role in life. They become our reference points for measuring achievements and gauging success. They act as navigational aids, empowering us to set goals, track our progress, and make informed decisions on our personal and professional journeys.

But here's the catch: in life, benchmarks aren't chalk marks on trees; they often revolve around comparisons to others. It's like the tale of two hikers encountering a grizzly bear. One hiker panics and starts sprinting away, prompting the other hiker to exclaim, "You can't outrun a bear!" To which the fleeing hiker cleverly responds, "I don't have to be faster than the bear. I just need to be faster than you!"

This amusing story highlights the idea that success is often measured in relation to others, especially those around us.

It applies to our financial success too. Many people evaluate their financial status and purchases based on how they stack up against others. The size of their home isn't just about its merits or their family's comfort; it's about how it compares to their neighbors' houses.

These benchmarks and indexes are like moving goal posts, constantly shifting. As the financial status of people around us change, have we suddenly become poorer? For some individuals, money becomes less of an asset and more of a burden—a social pressure that traps them in the pursuit of status.

To navigate this tricky trap, it's crucial to be aware of the game being played. As Montesquieu wisely observed centuries ago, "If you simply wished to be happy, that could be easily achieved. However, we desire to be happier than others, and this is always challenging because we tend to perceive others as happier than they truly are."

It's essential to recognize the folly in constantly comparing ourselves to others and find contentment in our own unique path to fulfillment. By cultivating a mindset that focuses on personal goals and happiness rather than comparisons, we can break free from the shackles of financial stress and embark on a journey towards financial serenity.

So, let's set our own benchmarks, climb those mountains, and make our personal goals the stars of the show!


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