Sage Advice 88: Perpetual Poignant Prevalence Periods

We all have to try to push ourselves to and beyond our limitations. Creatively, professionally, financially, jumpingoffaroofbecauseyouthinkyoucanflyally. If we don’t challenge ourselves throughout our lives, we get far too comfortable with the now, and the now usually involves eating candy on a beanbag chair while you cry to the sounds of Entertainment Tonight in the background.

Goal-setting a great way to approach your life challenges but only if you approach the goal carefully. It’s important that you scaffold your goal. It allows you to break a massive obstacle into tiny doable slices of now-altering moments saturated with lackluster effort. Anytime I need to get something done, I divide that something into a million pieces, each one being far less daunting or difficult than the overall goal.

Take bathing for example. Sure, I could just hop in the shower and be on my way, but isn’t that just a sensory overload when you’re only moments into being awake? You have to break a complicated process like that down into managable pieces. First, you gotta disrobe. Then you have to stare at yourself in the mirror for awhile. Then you rerobe. Repeat that process for at least ten minutes. Once you’re comfortable, get into the shower. Turn on some water. Stand. Get out of the shower. Dry off. Rerope again.

If I didn’t breakdown showering like this every morning, I would be paralyzed by the fear and intimidation that comes with a regularly twenty minute commitment.

That’s how I treat my life as a whole. Step by step. I won’t even consider approaching a new activity without considering the steps I need to take to consider the consideration of the original consideration. It’s this kind of meticulous analysis that keeps me in perpetual meta-understanding of my daily path. To the untrained eye, I look like I’m in perpetual fear of the entire world as I’m unwilling and unable to take even the slightest of risks or opportunities—untrained being the operative adjective in that sentence.

But let’s get back to goals and how we need them to push ourselves into more advanced stages of life. It’s important that you set goals that are relevant yet challenging to your life. For me, that usually involves convincing the tiny rodents that live in my closet to keep the noise level of their aerobics class to a minimum (no one wants to hear sweating critters at midnight). It’s challenging because they often don’t listen, and it’s relevant because it directly impacts my day-to-day.

There are those life goals, though. The big things you want to get done before your roof caves in and crushes your spine and you’re forced to live the rest of your days in a hospital bed wondering why you didn’t bother calling a contractor to fix your house a long time ago. I don’t usually think of what mine are. After all, I’m consistently afraid I’m going to be killed at any moment, so what’s the point of practically considering something I won’t get to experience?

I do, however, impractically consider things I won’t get to experience, thus my life goals are usually quite extravagant. For example, did you know that, before I die, I want to be the first person to conquer the moon and establish an Earth-worshipping religion on it? We’ll be called the Earthinites and we’ll always wear the colors blue and green and we’ll make fun of the other moon people who don’t get why Earth is so great.

That’s a lifetime goal for me. I know it’s not very likely, but if you don’t set your standards high, how are you supposed to pretend you’re better than everyone else?


-Matthew Fugere

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