Why do goals need to be difficult?

Perhaps it was due to a stressful childhood that my goals are actually simpler than expected. Having simple goals may not necessarily be a bad thing. It may even help in one’s mental well-being such as having lesser stress and clearer life priorities. Yet from the perspective of the society or prospective employers, having simple goals could be perceived as lacking in ambition, being lazy and other related negative connotations.

There might be many reasons why one chooses to live a simple life with little to no ambition. For instance, when one wasn’t given any chance to choose or experience success since he/she was young. For every policy implemented, there are gainers and losers. For every society, there are winners and losers. If you are always at the losing end, what would your outlook of the world or society that you lived in look like? A simple goal such as having a roof over one’s head proved difficult to even imagine. As such, one’s life goals could be very simple — (1) having enough money to buy food, (2) repaying my tuition loan, (3) earn and save enough for a small flat, and (4) live quietly and die silently. That means why the system attempts to get more information about one’s goal (i.e., short-term, mid-term and long-term), it could be very different from the norm.

Such an individual may never try asking for promotion and pay raise resulting in career stagnation and a feeling of occasional unjustness in the workplace. Suffering in a vicious cycle of feeling undervalued by external organizations and parties. Even lowering the quality and effort to match the level of compensation.

Yet what is the point of being ambitious for these individuals — asking for more money or striving for a more senior role. The benefits that one gained may not exceed the intangible costs of loss of personal time and space, physical and mental well being.

So why do we want to make our goals difficult for ourselves? Can’t success be defined differently for different individuals? Why should we follow the herd when it doesn’t make any sense to us?

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