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The Answer Is In The Way: Don't Get Obsessed With Your Goals If You Want To Find Happiness

By Isabell Gaylord

We all consciously or unconsciously understand the importance of having goals in our lives. A life lived without goals isn’t quite worth living. And yet that doesn’t mean that our goals should always be our main purpose for living. Is it right to spend every minute of your life obsessing over your goals?

We need goals

To be sure, goals are a necessary part of our lives. They’re not just things we set passively to make our lives more interesting. They are often the source of the fuel that keeps us moving forward. They are what gives us the strength to wake up in the morning.

When we set goals, and we achieve them, we feel happy. It is a beautiful thing to successfully do the thing you set out to do. We all have them, even if they are in our subconscious, and sometimes, just the mere act of setting a goal (and putting it on paper) and committing to it can make us happy.

But is it okay to get obsessed with our goals?

Why not obsess over our goals?

To be sure, the obsession has something of a bad reputation. It is considered a negative emotion. And yet, many of the greatest things that were ever made, done, or said, for good or bad, were made, done, or said by obsessed people. A lot of the role models we have today and those we look up to that lived in the past were obsessed individuals. So why not emulate them?

The chief argument to why we wouldn’t want to emulate such individuals is that many, if not most, of them were unhappy. Whether they were essay writers , or scientists, or great presidents, they were often tortured psychologically and didn’t have much of a life outside of whatever it was that they were obsessed with. Now, if you don’t have a problem with that, and are ready to sacrifice everything else in the pursuit of your goals, then you don’t need to keep reading. At any rate, by the time you’re ready to give everything up for the sake of your goals, you are no longer the one that has chosen your obsession. Your obsession has chosen you.

However, most of us, while we really want to achieve whatever lofty goals we have set in life, don’t really want to do that at the expense of everything else. To paraphrase the Bible verse: what is it for a man to gain all the world and lose his soul in return? Many of us want to keep our souls, so to speak. Moreover, for all those people we can think of that were obsessed with their goals at the cost of everything else, there are others who managed to maintain a balanced life. Others who were happy and healthy and still did great things. How?

The answer, just like the title suggests, is in the way.

But before we get there, let us talk a little about obsession.


Quite often, when we obsess over something, it is because we expect it to be some way. When you set a goal for your future, you imagine things are going to turn out in some way. You are then likely to dedicate yourself to ensuring that happens. But if there’s anything most of us learn early enough in life it is that things don’t always turn out quite the way we planned them. Expectations are a self-defeating weapon that the human mind crafts. When our expectations are not met, we are unhappy. Obsession is therefore indirectly the enemy of happiness.

Goal Dependence

When we obsess we tie all of our happiness to the goal. We say that we will finally be happy when we have $1 million in our bank account, or when we finally get married, or when we get that promotion. We have tied our happiness to the goalposts. The problem with turning happiness into a destination is that we have to be content with being miserable on the way there. Besides, when we finally get that which we had tied our happiness to, we have no guarantee that the happiness will be as intense as we had expected (that pesky expectation again) it to be, nor that it will even last.


When we are obsessed with something, we want everything to be just right. When we are obsessed, we strive for perfection. Now, while there is nothing wrong with wanting things to be the best possible way they can be, striving for perfection with no concessions will often lead to stress. You won’t be satisfied with any results that do not conform to the ideal picture you have in your mind. Obsession leads to stress because it leads to an insatiable desire for perfection.

I particularly used to suffer from this in school a lot, especially when I had a large assignment or essay to turn in. I would constantly be stressed over whether it was perfect or not. Eventually, after reading an essay writing services review, I learned to let it go. I let the professionals worry about it and the stress went away. But first I had to give up on chasing after perfection.

The Answer is in the Way

So what is the solution to this problem we have just laid out? Instead of being obsessed with the destination, we should instead focus on the journey. Think about it: if someone told you they would give you $100 million for eating a bit poop, you might consider it, especially if your greatest goal in life is to be a millionaire. However, if you’re not particularly a fan of eating poop, you’re going to be miserable as hell on your way there. While this is an extreme example, it is similar to what we often do when we obsess over the goal, instead of the process.

Rather than look for a goal to achieve, look for a way to live. Goals take time to achieve, and you had better be enjoying yourself on your way there or you will never arrive. Find something you love to do; preferably something you would do for free, and dedicate yourself to that. Let all your major goals be tied to that.

If you love business, then tie your goals to building businesses. If you love art, then tie your goals to making art. If you love money…. Well, nobody I know loves money for its own sake; not even those who think they do. Money is just a means to an end. What people really love are freedom and status. Therein lies the crux.

Tie your goals of gaining freedom and status if that’s what you want. But freedom is just about doing what you love. If you love to play the guitar, or code, or make pottery, then that’s where your freedom lies. You can outsource everything else. Have an essay you need to hand over? Read reviews on essay writing services and then pick one to do it for you. Use your time to focus on that which makes you feel free.

As for status, I personally wouldn’t recommend it, but if you really want a high status, just read the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene or The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. They’ll give you some clues on how to get that. If you enjoy them and enjoy putting them to practice, then you’ve just found something you like to do. Keep doing it!


Ultimately, all happiness should come from within, and it should first start with peace. You should have a certain contentment with what you already have, and the path you’re on before you can get that which you are aiming for. Don’t tie it to anything external. Meditate… Listen, your spirit already knows that which makes you happy. You probably already do it. Once you focus on getting rid of all the mental clutter and focus on your innermost energy, you will find what sets your soul on fire. When you find that, you don’t need to have obsession with your goals. Your goals will have obsession for you.

About the Author

author Isabell Gaylord is a professional content writer and journalist. She also offers professional writing services on various writing services online. She has spent many years offering custom essay helpand will occasionally offer online assignment help upon request. She’s interested in spirituality and psychology.


The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.


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