By: Jason Fried
I can’t remember having a goal. An actual goal.
There are things I’ve wanted to do, but if I didn’t do them I’d be fine with that too. There are targets that would have been nice to hit, but if I didn’t hit them I wouldn’t look back and say I missed them.
I don’t aim for things that way.
I do things, I try things, I build things, I want to make progress, I want to make things better for me, my company, my family, my neighborhood, etc. But I’ve never set a goal. It’s just not how I approach things.
A goal is something that goes away when you hit it. Once you’ve reached it, it’s gone. You could always set another one, but I just don’t function in steps like that.
When you shift from 1st to 2nd, 1st is behind you. Then from 2nd to 3rd, 2nd is behind you. I approach things continuously, not in stops. I just want to keep going — whatever happens along the way is just what happens.
I consider Basecamp, my current business, as one continuous line back from when I sold the first thing I ever remember making — a logo for $50 (which happened to be for Andrei Heramischuk — who knew!). I was 16 or something like that at the time. I didn’t have a goal to make two logos, or to be able to charge $5000 for a logo. I just made logos. And then I made software. And then I made web sites. And now I make software again. No goals in the process that I remember.
I just worked at whatever I was working on and ended up wherever I am. I continue to approach work and life that same way today.
If I’ve used the word goal, I didn’t mean it that way. It was just the word I picked, a synonym for something else.
I really like what Jim Coudal said about goals:
“The reason that most of us are unhappy most of the time is that we set our goals not for the person we’re going to be when we reach them, but we set our goals for the person we are when we set them.
That pretty much sums it up for me.