A few years back, I saw a weird guy in the neighborhood spending most of his time in front of alcohol shops. He wasn’t an alcoholic, though. More often than not, he was drinking coffee or Coca-Cola with a the-world-is-about-to-end grimace on his face.
My initial guess was that he was lonely and tortured by the past and his dreadful future. Sitting in front of alcohol shops was his way of socializing and avoiding being alone.
Eventually, I learned that he’d experienced an accident at work that had partially hurt his mental capacity. Nonetheless, he didn’t appear crazy and was capable of judging his surroundings just fine.
At first, I felt sorry for him, but eventually my compassion dropped low for one simple reason – the guy was not trying to do better even though he could.
Of course, it’s easy to judge another person. Nothing’s easier, actually. But I wasn’t doing it to bring him down. I was just angry to see his wasted potential. Also, according to him, he had two sons a.k.a. motivation to live. I don’t know if that’s true, but he appeared serious about it.
If you have the physical capacity to poison your body non-stop with coffee, energy drinks, and other liquids of questionable value while also sleeping a couple of hours a day, you’re also healthy enough to do other tasks.
This is when it hit me. The guy needed what I would call a “stupid goal” in his life to dig himself out of his habits of death.
A stupid goal is an arbitrary goal that makes little or no difference to your life whether it’s achieved or not.
One simple example would be adding 5lbs to your bench press. Let’s face it. You won’t be breaking records with or without those 5lbs. The value of stupid goals isn’t the end result, but the habits that they build and the brain distraction that they create.
If you’re constantly focusing on a traumatic experience, you will never heal because you’re maintaining the wound open and preventing a scar from forming. A stupid goal greatly helps with that problem, although it cannot prevent a period of grief.
Stupid goals are NOT an immediate treatment. If you truly experience something awful, no amount of self-persuasion will allow you to avoid the initial impact. For example, if you lose a family member, you will more than likely reconsider your entire worldview. A stupid goal wouldn’t do much for you at that point.
Nonetheless, a stupid goal should be introduced as early as possible.
Think of it this way. If you break your arm, the doctors will keep you in a cast for the shortest possible period because the longer you’re immobilized, the harder it is to regain function.
It’s similar with other traumatic experiences. You want to start moving as soon as you can. Postponing rehabilitation postpones healing.
No Goals = Guaranteed Stagnation
I don’t want to sound like a motivational speaker because I think those guys are crooks. In fact, I consider myself a demotivational speaker.
Nonetheless, I can’t ignore a fundamental life rule – no goals = no direction. No direction = guarantee to end up in a place that you don’t quite like.
I know many people who drift through life thinking that a miracle is in front of them. They never set goals and consequently end up in perpetual stagnation. I’ve been one of them in some areas of my life, of course.
What if I don’t achieve my goal?
The main value of a goal is character construction as well as protection from falling into the abyss of destructive habits.
Of course, it’s normal to feel disappointed when you fail, but that kind of failure doesn’t hurt nearly as much as the pain that comes from regret and remaining stuck.
Example of My Stupid Goals
I’ve had many stupid goals. Some of them I’ve achieved…some not:
- Learn a muscle-up (Achieved many years ago but currently can’t do 1 repetition)
- Deadlift 3 times my BW (Never achieved. Got to 2.7 as far as I remember.)
- Squat 2 times my BW (Never achieved)
- Approach 100 women (Achieved 10-20x)
- Write a book (Achieved)
- Learn how to weld (Not really achieved but gained some stick welding experience)
- One arm pull-up (Never achieved)
Why do I consider those goals stupid?
Because they’re hobby goals (apart from writing the books). With or without them, my life isn’t all that much different. Also, those goals are easily replaced by others.
What aren’t stupid goals?
In the grand scheme of things, probably all goals that aren’t linked to a higher spiritual idea could be seen as stupid.
In a more practical sense, stupid goals would be those that don’t have a massive, direct impact on your personal life, health, or career.