Stop Leaving Your Goals Open Ended

Stop Leaving Your Goals Open Ended
Photo by Isaac Smith / Unsplash

You don’t fear failure. You fear facing closure.

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Do you have moments in your life that feel unfinished? Be honest, does that bother you or does that comfort you?

It can be comforting to leave something open-ended in our lives. It allows our brain to run away from the reality that we have to face. Why do you think so many people ghost people today? It’s easier to ignore something and leave the door cracked open instead of closing it shut.

The door does close shut on us but we don’t see it close shut.

Leaving a goal open-ended isn’t a goal at all. It’s a pipe dream.

It’s the logic if I had “X” amount of time to do this and committed to it, I could do it. Could you really though? Have you tried?

It’s Not A Fear Of Failure, It’s A Fear Of Closure

I have seen a lot of articles written about how people got over their fear of failure and it helped them progressively get better at their goals by trial and error.

I think a lot of people have it wrong. Failing can suck but usually when it happens, it’s not this overwhelming torment that we make it out to be. Hell, I failed my first theatre audition, I bombed hard. That failure stung but it wasn’t anything that would get me not to want to try anything new again.

It’s not a fear of failure. It’s a fear of facing closure. When you try your best at something and give it a 100%, you know where you stand.

You will not know where to get better at something until you know where your ceiling is.

When you don’t give 100% of yourself to something, you’re dabbling. You dipping your toes in the water instead of jumping straight in. Imagine telling yourself you know how to swim if you only dipped your toes in the water?

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In hell there is no other punishment than to begin over and over again the tasks left unfinished in your lifetime. —Andre Gide

Ask Yourself The Right Kind Of “What If”

It’s great to ask yourself, “what if.” I do it all the time when looking ahead towards my goals.

  • What if you got into the best shape of your life?
  • What if you took a chance on a new career and put 100% of yourself into achieving that goal?
  • What if you stopped being a shell of yourself and became who you were always supposed to be?

Or you can ask yourself.

  • What if five years ago, I decided to take a chance and ask that person out?
  • What if I took that chance on a new career three years ago before I decided to settle down and start a family?
  • What if instead of getting out of shape during the COVID lockdowns, I got into better shape?

The second kind of “what if” questions are toxic to your life. We all have regrets about things that we didn’t try but we are in the here and now. There’s nothing you can do about your past other than steer your current ship towards a better future.

I think you would be shocked at how much you could steer that ship if you decided to plunge into the deep end.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”- Neale Donald Walsh
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Escape The Comfort

It’s comfortable to leave pieces of our lives open ended. It feeds into this false confidence that we have. It’s comfortable to live our lives knowing that we could give 50% more if we needed to.

When we fail giving our all, it hurts. Imagine spending years of putting all your energy towards a new career path to fall short of the finish line?

Does this mean you’ve failed? No. It means you’ve found out where your points of failure are but it does not mean that you have failed.

When you reach this point, the temptation to dabble in a new career path will become greater. It’s less risky. Maybe you’ll get lucky and hit your stride with only putting 50% effort into it. More often than not, that doesn’t happen.

Luck is when hard work meets opportunity. If you don’t put the hard work in, then the opportunity will pass you by. The door that you wanted to keep open will close over and over again until your clock runs out. Then you will ask yourself the wrong kind of “what if” questions.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ―Theodore Roosevelt

Take a plunge into the deep end. Ask yourself, what if I did put my best effort into my life? What if I said no to the things that are holding me back? What if I only did this for a month?

At first, it can be hard. It’s hard because there’s a fear of facing reality. There’s a fear that when you step into the arena, you will not be enough.

The fear of closure is a fear that you can overcome. It’s only over when you say it’s over. It may be exhausting. There may not be time to do it and you may feel like you’re missing out on other things in life. At least, if you decided to walk away, it was on your own terms.