Recently, I was at lunch with some private equity folks and they asked me an interesting question... well, rather, they revealed that they couldn't quite get a handle on what it was that I wanted to do. They saw and appreciated the myriad of activities I had gotten myself into and couldn't quite paint a picture of how this was all fitting together and leading somewhere.
Its a legitmate point.
I also think its kind of interesting. You have some people out there with no goals and no requiste activities and obviously that's not too admirable. You have others who have goals but really don't do too much to actually pursue them, and to me, that's even less admirable, because they've identified targets, but out of sheer laziness or fear, fail to motivate themselves to reach them. Then, you've got other people who have goals, and, in fact, start out with those goals, based on little to no experience whatsoever, and then fully commit themselves to those goals. That almost reminds me of the "strong and wrong" concept. How many people go into investment banking or accounting, do all the things they need to do to get hired by Goldman Sachs or KPMG, and then soon realize that they had no idea what they were getting into, because it doesn't match the kind of lives they want to lead? Yet, by all measures, these were admirable and respected pursuits.
And then you've got where I am... pursuing, yet seemingly without goals. By my own admission, I do not have a singularity that I can neatly point to as my "goal." I have potential points of arrival, and each passing day collapses another Schrodinger wave function, narrowing the possibilities through my choices, even if I have no particular inclination towards a particular result. I become, therefore the end result of a series of choices based on particular inclinations, yet without an overall guiding inclination. Therefore, I am not "aimless" but I might be accurately called "without aim."
What of it? Does it matter? Wherein lies the potential problem? Well, if you were completely without an overarching plan around your activities, you run the risk of overextending yourself... committing to so much unrelated nonsense, all without synergy, that you fail to accomplish anything. Therefore, you need to draw the line between what fits and what doesn't. How to do this... Well, one could conceivably use this "goal" concept, but I'm not entirely sure that's the most effective. Most people will admit that there are many roads to Mecca, and so using a goal as your hard and fast line to figure out what belongs in your life doesn't seem like it would be devisive enough. Too many things could potentially lead you to your goals. There's no "one way" to be a banker. Some people major in History at Dartmouth and become bankers, while others are Finance majors at NYU Stern with a minor in math. No, what is really a much better way to draw the line on what makes it into your Palm pilot or not is your own natural affection for an activity. "Do what you love." While it may sound wishy washy, the average person doesn't love much of anything, if we're all honest with ourselves... I mean, real love... true passion. I have passion for new ideas. I have passion for working with people who love to learn. Sometimes, I find that in students. Other times, entreprenuers or VCs. The best VCs are undoubtedly lifelong students. So, while I might not have a definate end result in mind, pursuit of my passions have consciously and deliberately singled out certain activities over others. I could theorize where they might lead, given potential trajectory analysis, but to put forth those potentials as the overarching guiding principals in and of themselves would not only be inaccurate, it would also taint my natural ability to let my passions discern for themselves what I should be spending my time on. They would be tainted by my alligence to a "goal" and hesitation to readjust goals once they are chosen... for what is a goal that changes everyday? So, while my lack of a clear goal statement might confuse others and prevent them from catagorizing me, it also keeps my life as sincere as it has the potential to be. As long as I do what I love, I will love what I am doing... and with true love for something comes sincere motivation and the desire to excel (a word which has no cap, I might add), greatly over and above the desire to reach a goal, and then... well... stop.