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Why knowing what you want is important

Have you ever spent time surfing the Internet? Or Youtube? Or Spotify? It is designed to keep us checking out one thing after another.

If you open Youtube and play a video, it then suggests twelve other videos based on what you just watched. All seem interesting as they can all be construed as a continuation of some sort from what you just watched. And once you finish watching one of those, you get twelve more recommendations. And this loop is endless. You can spend hours at a time and come out not remembering what exactly it is that you did over those past few hours.

This may not be true for everyone, but I would think it is true for the readers of this blog. This being - opportunities in our lives are like Youtube videos. It could be job offers, it could be stuff we buy, it could be friends, it could be romantic interests, it could be several other things. And they all behave like Youtube videos.

Any time you look around, there are a dozen options to choose from, and once we pick one, we have twelve others that appear on the side that we can move on to. And this loop can be endless as well.

Every opportunity is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Because the circumstances change over time for both us and for the person or organization or situation responsible for placing that opportunity in front of us. The opportunities we have available today may not be available tomorrow, or in a week, or in a year.

But that doesn't mean we should take them all.

When we don't know what we want, we tend to go through the Youtube loop of picking the next shiny thing that is put in front of us. Because it appears to be better than what we have currently.

Only when we know what we want can we evaluate the shiny opportunities that come up and decide to pick the ones that will get us where we want and say no to the others.

Saying no is hard. Because we are always looking to be better, do better. But knowing what we want will help put a framework in which to evaluate if the new opportunity is better. Otherwise, it is always possible to argue for any of the opportunities that we have to be better.

We shouldn't be like the Texas sharpshooter.

There was once a sharpshooter in Texas. When somebody visited his ranch, he could see targets (bull's eye) all across and each one had been shot through perfectly at the centre. At first glance, it seemed like the ranch owner had a perfect shot. But then, the visitor watched him take his next shot. Once the shot was fired, the target was drawn around the place it had landed.

We can always define the target around what we have done and the decisions we have made and feel good about having done a great job. But that would be living in a bubble.

Only when we know what we want and draw the target before taking the shot will we know if we made it there.

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