The Moving Goal Line
For some of you, this blog is going to be a redundant restatement of things you’re already intimately familiar with. That’s okay, it’s bound to happen. You’ve got my permission to skip it and go grab yourself a beer. I don’t care that it’s a work day, there’s a gas station somewhere near your office; stop making excuses and get the beer. Tell your boss I said it was fine. If he asks who I am, tell him I’m the one waiting for the efficiency reports and I’ll have his ass mopping floors down on two if he doesn’t quit wasting time with employees and get my goddamn reports. At that point either he’ll back off or you’ll be ultra-fired; either way you’re free to grab that beer.
Where the hell was I? Oh, right, so for some of you this really won’t be news, but for others of you it might be a new concept. It all sort of depends on where you are in your life/career/free-style whiskey DJ reputation building endeavor. For me, this was something I didn't really start experiencing until my mid-twenties, and something I never registered as actually existing until a year or so ago. What am I talking about? Well you read the title of this blog, so I really doubt I’m going to blow your socks off with the surprise, so maybe I’ll try to do it with size.
I’m talking about:
The Moving Goal Line
“What is the moving goal line?” I hear you whisper, words still too filled with awe at the beauty of that size to speak in higher decibels, as though you’re afraid the transcendent beauty of the experience will be frightened away by noises that are too loud. You are right in your fear, for all such moments are inherently fleeting.
Damn, I am doing some tangents today. Anyway, The Moving Goal Line is how I’ve come to think about dealing with projects or endeavors that never actually come to an end, as you rise in success and your goals evolve with it.
The easiest, most universal example I can use here is fitness. Pretty much all of us have tried to add muscle or lose fat at some point in our lives (Sidenote: if you haven’t, fuck you). I’ve already talked about how I swelled up five or six years ago after getting laid off and forgetting that oven pizza had calories. When I started that journey, my goal was just to not hate myself. Once I realized that would require therapy, I decided I wanted to be able to see my feet without sucking in my gut. As I worked out, learning what did and didn’t work, I started seeing results. And then, one day, without even realizing it, I noticed that I could easily see my feet again.
And I didn’t really give a shit. Why? Because I’d long ago forgotten about that goal as I got near it. I’d kicked the goal line back before I even reached it. By the time I had foot success, I wanted to drop a size of pants. When my pants size dropped, I was focused on getting up to running three miles. At the time I could run for three miles, I was striving to step-up my benching weight.
Bear in mind, I am by no means a meat-head and if you see me “athlete” is the last thing that will come to mind. The things I listed above aren’t super-great accomplishments; in fact I bet a lot of you could do them today without effort. The point is that even as small as these things were, I was still working toward a goal that I could never reach; and I couldn’t reach it because I was continually setting the bar higher, wanting more than what I had. Way back when I started, I thought being able to see my feet would make me happy. When it became clear it wouldn’t, I started chasing a new possibility.
The Moving Goal Line became way clearer to me when I started my writing career, because I cared significantly more about it than about how I looked shirtless. Once upon a time, all I wanted was to have a few people read my book. When SP: Year 1 came out, I was fucking insanely jazzed to sell 50 copies in a month; it blew my mind. Nowadays I still revel in those moments, and never think for a second I’m not grateful to have people reading my work, but I’m also setting new goals, like breaking the Amazon top #500 with a book at some point. Why? The Moving Goal Line.
There’s all kinds of science behind why this exists as a concept, essentially it boils down to your brain not giving you the same dopamine rush for the same accomplishments in order to keep you moving forward, but it’s the sort of thing that’s hard to grasp until you catch yourself doing it. And honestly, I’m not even sure it’s a good thing. I would probably be a lot happier with my body, life, and accomplishments, if I could have been content with racing across those first few goal lines. Happier, but with less achieved.
It’s a double-edged sword, and one you should prepare for when embarking on new endeavors. Some of you might not have experienced it at all, and that’s fine. This doesn’t happen with jobs you work just to pay rent or classes you attend to keep the minimum GPA up. It comes when you start caring about something, really wanting to succeed, which can take a while if you’re a slacker by nature (like me!).
So, in future blogs when I tell you about some of my biggest flops (next week) or when you see me undertaking some ridiculous enterprise and wonder what on earth would motivate me to take on something that unwieldy, now you know. That damn Moving Goal Line just won’t let me be.