Let’s say you come to a wall, blocking your path. There’s a little system, a checklist of sorts, that you can go through.
- Step 1: Try to climb the wall. If you fail to get over, go to step 2.
- Step 2: Go a different way. If you don’t want to go a different way, go to step 1.
Many people skip one of those steps. They try to scale the wall again and again and again, failing and getting frustrated and letting the failure begin to infest them with doubt and anguish. Or, they see a wall and don’t even attempt to climb it, they just immediately go a different way, forever taking the path of least resistance.
If you want to be happy, you must engage with that cycle.
First, try to overcome the obstacle. You might do so on the first attempt! But if you don’t, the cost of that path has now increased. Any time a cost changes, revisiting your desire for the objective is worthwhile. You can do that by choosing a different goal, and then gut-checking yourself. Are you just as happy with your new goal, or are you immediately thinking “Okay, I’m not quite ready to give up on Plan A just yet?”
If you’re not, then go back to the wall for another try.
If you don’t get over the obstacle again, then the cost has increased further, and so you rinse and repeat.
Not every goal is ultimately going to be worth the price you’d have to pay to get it, but quitting before you’ve even tried is a recipe for an unhappy life. This is the way to balance it – try to climb, try to run, and repeat until one wins out. But give each their due – make them take turns.