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Skates On Haight

The Life Cycle Of Achievement, In My Experience (Part 1)

Something that's been a mystery to me is our goals and what happens after we achieve them. The earliest goal I can remember is learning to skate and then getting my first "real" skateboard from a proper skate shop. Sure, I had those Toys R Us boards that basically sucked, but they were better than nothing. I got my first board at Skates On Haight in the Haight Ashbury section of San Francisco.

My Dad was in the Army and we were stationed at The Presidio Army base there. For my 10th birthday, all I wanted was a Rat Bones skate deck, Independent Trucks and the best wheels and bearings we could afford. We drove into town, walked into Skates On Haight and walked out with exactly what I wanted. Eager to start skating as soon as I got home, I ran over and grabbed my buddy Keagan. Our plan was to skate off the post and start bombing down the hills in San Fran. We started skating through traffic and right before we got to the main gate, separating us from the rest of the city, the MP's (Military Police) arrested us. They didn't cuff us, but threw us into the back of their patrol car and brought us down to the station. We were sh#tting our pants. I only had my "real" board for 4 hours and was already in trouble. Our dads were called and they came and picked us up. Keagan's dad cut his board in half with a saw when they got home, but my dad spared mine and just grounded me for a while. I got my board back a few weeks later.

Lesson Learned: I did what a lot of us do sometimes. We achieve a goal and then go bananas and nearly lose everything in the excitement, kind of like when you hear of lottery winners or famous musicians going bankrupt and we wonder how that's even possible. This is exactly how that kind of thing happens. All the pent-up energy was released the moment we both had legit boards. We went nuts in the top of the goal bell curve. Celebrating goals is great, ride the high because it's short-lived but don't bet the farm in the short window of elation that rookies think will last won't and we were rookies.

Fast forward a decade and I find myself having made it through Hell Week. I thought when I made it through that, everything would come into alignment and I would be on cloud 9 for the rest of my life, I wasn't. I was stoked to have made it, but oddly the weeks following were filled with sort of an emptiness. I had reached the goal of making it past that week and never put much thought into what life would be like after it. It was really odd to me being on the "successful" side of that training block but didn't feel amazing like I did the moments after we knew we had made it. I had to conjure up another goal to strive for. I just decided to focus on being an asset to the class and giving all I had to succeed and graduate.  I did graduate and eventually felt satisfied with my efforts in the class. Goal accomplished. Time to conjure up yet another goal to strive for.

Lesson Learned: It's important to understand how goals and achievement work, which has taken me a long time to grasp. There's an illusive finality to nailing a goal. The glory phase is short-lived, followed by a decline in that elated feeling. I always thought the feelings I experienced after succeeding and hitting goals were supposed to be permanent, like an eternal state of happiness or ecstasy. It's a good thing they aren't like that, otherwise, we would stop striving for the next goal, park ourselves on the couch and turn to a puddle. Now, I look at goals, fully knowing their life cycle...

Pick Goal -> Struggle -> Achieve -> Short Lived Stoked Feeling -> Reset / Pick New Goal


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