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Make your grocery list!

Have you ever been bombarded with this question by a random relative at a social gathering, “So what do you want to become when you grow up?” Sure, if you’re a kid then you will be fine by answering astronauts; but for a teenager, this is the least favourite question in the world. Moreover, this is generally followed up by, “How much did you score in your previous semester?” If all of this sounds somewhat familiar then the following read is worth your time. My “goal” here is just to get you started to address the issue and make you contemplate.

So what’s the fuss all about?

· Have you ever gone grocery shopping without making a grocery list?

· Have you ever seen a project being greenlit without having a scope?

· Have you ever seen a football game in which the goal post is missing? Players are just supposed to pass the ball until one of the team forfeits the match out of tiredness?

Sounds ridiculous right? The answer is probably no.

Let’s discuss what really happened here. The ‘shopping list’, ‘scope’ and in the third case the ‘goal post’ are literal goals in their respective cases.

Remove any one of them and you cannot even imagine completing the task successfully and efficiently. So why is having a grocery list in a task as simple as getting groceries make so much sense, but not having a ‘grocery list’ of your life doesn’t make you worry even a tiny bit?

Goals help you to push where you want to be from where you are. They act as a threshold to measure all your actions in a productive manner. Without them, you cannot determine what is a productive action and what isn’t. Without them, you will find yourself in the infinite ocean of all possible opportunities, eager to try everything. This is called “Shining Object Syndrome”. To put things in perspective: you can’t manage what you don’t measure and can’t improve upon something that you don’t manage properly. Read that again.

What to do now?

How to choose life’s goal? I know our education puts all of the burden on the student’s shoulders to choose a life’s goal at a very young age. If they can’t choose for themselves, their parents, friends, relatives or their marks will do it for them directly or indirectly. But choosing a life’s goal is quite confusing irrespective of your age if you are not self-aware.

So what to do now? Honestly, I don’t know. It is a subjective matter. What works for me may not work for you. But I would say that take a moment of your life, sit down quietly (without headphones – I know it is hard but somehow our previous generation used to live like this), take a deep breath and narrow down the options available for you. Jot down things that might work for you and what cannot in all possible way. Try the things that might work for you and cross out the things that you’re sure won’t work. Make your ‘Grocery list’. It should be achievable, measurable, purposeful and specific. But it can’t be as vague as earning a six-figure digit salary or being happier.

And one last thing– Let nobody tell you what your goal should be and keep those people far away who make fun of your goal by saying ‘Dream Big’. I’m not saying don't be optimistic but I think you are the perfect person to answer what’s best for you if you have done your research properly. If your goal is ‘To be a Sales Manager in XYZ company and earn Rs 50,000 per month by the end of 2030’, then I’m pretty sure that you are interested in managing sales, communicating with people and you have accounted for inflation. Be proud of that goal, own it and take the necessary steps to achieve it. Otherwise, it will be just as good as a dream. Author : Anshukumar Singh (Government Engineering College, Dahod)

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