"I don't want to get any messages saying, "I am holding my position." We are not holding a G#ddamned thing. Let the Germans do that. We are constantly advancing, and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living sh#t out of him all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like sh#t through a tin horn!" - Patton
I've learned to see goals like this. We will never reach any goal in life and be able to lay back for the rest of our years, sipping cocktails and getting fat as ticks. Celebrate, sure, but I get bored on vacation after a few days. Everyone I know does. It's natural, but why? Well, we love the hunt and the closure and then what do we do? We look for the next hunt. This is the sweet spot. Success and hitting goals are cyclical and repeating.
When we hit a major goal, we're at the top of the wave, and a part of us wants to set up camp there and live forever in perfection, but that isn't how it works! We can't stay on that peak forever, we have to build a new peak/goal to get that feeling back, but here's the thing. We tend to look at this cycle as a problem. Why can't I just be satisfied? Why do I always look for a new thing? Why can't I just freeze myself in this feeling in some kind of Han Solo Cryosleep and live in bliss forever? Again, It's not how this works and here's why...
The process, risks, experiences and action that we went through to hit that last big goal are what gives us such satisfaction, and there is a time limit on this. The drug wears off. It's what we do when it wears off that separates the average person from the exceptional.
I hate the feeling I have experienced when I had no big goal. I feel dead. So what's the answer?
I think we already know. Advance constantly. Learn to despise mediocrity. Attack. In writing this, I'm doing it to remind myself.
If you missed part 1, click HERE!
Recently we had the chance to make our way to San Diego and visit our friends One More Wave, a non-profit charity surf corporation who creates custom surfboards for veterans so they can find the therapy they need through the ocean.
Surfboards are personalized with custom artwork, designed from feedback from the recipient, and can feature wider shapes or added handles for veterans who may be disabled.
Kyle, Micah, and Rob of One More Wave gave us a full tour of where the boards are shaped, painted, and finished before being shipped out. These guys go through thousands of applications, handle hundreds of boards in production, and put their hearts into manufacturing awesome boards for our veterans in need.
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 forever...it 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