Let me preface this by saying I have, by no means, arrived. I still have a long way to go and several goals to tick off my list. Nevertheless, I am exactly where I want to be at 33 years old. In fact, when I closed my eyes as a teen and envisioned a life of peace of prosperity, this is what I had in mind, down to the very last detail. Yes, even the RV, the FJ Cruiser, living in the desert and having a black cat.
That should tell you something about me already:
I don’t dream. I set goals.
I don’t just wish. I plan.
Throughout my journeys, I’ve encountered a lot of millennials and older persons who neither set goals nor plans. Consequently, they haven’t achieved any of the things they wanted. Sadly, many people don’t even know what they want at all.
What Do You Want?
Gift or curse, I’ve always known what I wanted, and I pursue that relentlessly until I do. Want a perfect example? I decided at two years old that I wanted to be a writer. Not just as a fun hobby but as my job. All my life, people told me it couldn’t be done. Writers are starving artists struggling to get by.
Nothing I have achieved has been by accident. As a foreign-born minority in America, I don’t have the privilege of connections and failing upwards. Every small step forward has been deliberate and resulted from concerted efforts to reach specific goals.
So, do you know what you want? If you don’t just yet, it’s not the end of the world. Take some time and give it serious thought. When you envision your place of peace and prosperity, what does it look like?
Saying you want to be happy is not enough. What does “happy” look like, smell like, feel like? When you can answer that question, that’s where the real magic begins.
What Are You Willing To Sacrifice To Get What You Want?
Several years ago, I made friends with a guy who described himself as happy-go-lucky and dancing above the stars. That was true for the first week. Then, all he ever did was complain about his life.
I can understand expressing some sense of doom about the world we live in. We can’t control that. But, your individual life and contributions to that world are entirely up to you.
One day, I asked him why he was so angry at himself and the world. He told me, “I’m 32 years old. I should have an established career, my own house, and no debt. I should be successful!”
I asked him, “What have you done to earn that level of success?”
He widened his eyes at me and said, incredulously, “I’m 32 years old! I’ve been working since I was a teenager.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “You and almost everyone else. So, what have you done to achieve those things that everyone else hasn’t?”
Needless to say, we didn’t remain friends for very long. His melodrama drove me nuts, and my enthusiasm for life made his melodrama worse. Nevertheless, I pose the same question to you:
When Will You Start Working Toward Your Goals?
I recently made an excellent friend who is very much like me in personality but not in goals. He certainly wants to travel and see the world, but not now. First, he wants to buy a house and commit to a 30-year-mortgage. He expects to be in his 50s before he gets to live a life of adventure ― after he has built stability.
Honestly, this is a mature approach to finances and life. At the very least, he knows what he wants. But who wants to wait until their 50s to truly live? Living until your 50s isn’t even guaranteed. And, at the rate we’re destroying the planet, who’s to say it will still be habitable in 30 years?
Most people on the road tell me they wish they had lived their younger years the way I do. They wish they had traveled and lived for experiences instead of things. Now they are too old to truly enjoy it. Life is not promised, and health, even less so.
Don’t start working on the things you want tomorrow, next week, next year, or in 30 years.
You could be dead by then.
What Is Your Motivation for Success?
I know someone who worked hard to earn a medical degree because their parents pushed them into it. At first, the prestige and money that came with being a doctor in America was great motivation. But, beyond that, there was no actual passion for medicine itself. Within a few years, they quit their job and started looking for work in a new field.
What is your motivation for success? Is the end goal something you want because it speaks to you personally? Or, are you pursuing an idea of success that society or parents forced onto you?
You might think of me as successful, but I want you to remember a few things. I am glamorously homeless, but I am homeless all the same. I also make much less than the national average salary in America. I just know how to live on less, courtesy of being born, raised, and employed in a developing country before moving to America.
Many other people frown at the way I live. Some others believe it’s an excellent way to live, but I am undeserving. Old White men, especially ― who would probably kill to have my life ― regularly leave me nasty messages on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. They are sometimes also extremely racist in person. I have met more good ones than bad ones but it doesn’t change the fact that I encounter bad ones almost daily with several repeat offenders.
If I weren’t motivated by my own idea of happiness, I probably would have quit this life a long time ago. Maybe fear for my safety in rural and potentially racist areas would have already gotten to me. As it is, I don’t see myself giving up nomadic life in the foreseeable future.
Will your motivation be as unshakeable? That all depends on the reasons behind it. Be honest with yourself about why you want the things you do.
What’s Your Master Plan?
A few weeks ago, I found one of the old notebooks I used to scribble in before hitting the road. I had written several lists detailing my plans to become a digital nomad and the steps I would take. Hilariously, I followed those plans to the T.
What is your master plan to achieve your goals? Are you just coasting and waiting for “the right opportunity, ” or are you actively seeking out possibilities?
Are you adjusting your plans as new opportunities arise?
Are you taking deliberate steps?
What are the milestones?
I believe that you have no goal if you don’t have a plan. All you have is a dream. You might get lucky or have the privilege of failing upwards in a biased society. But, for the rest of us who want to live extraordinary lives and achieve incredible things, we need plans.
We need real goals.