“In Lewis Carroll’s children (and adult) classic “Alice in Wonderland”, young Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat, asking her where she ought to go:
Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
The Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where.”
The Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”
Alice: “…so long as I get somewhere.”
The Cheshire Cat: “Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
In a few short lines of dialog Lewis summarizes the whole raison d’être for goals — without a clear picture of where you want to go, you will lose yourself in the journey.
Most of us have experienced this first hand: When we have a clear picture of where we want to go and what we ought to do next (and next after that), we crush it. We move swiftly through our todo list, get tons of stuff done and feel good about our progress and ourselves. Each checking off of a tick box on our todo list reinforces this and moves us forward, with ever more energy, speed and conviction.
But when we lack that clarity we come close to a standstill. We aimlessly browse the web, organize our todo lists (without making much of a dent) and get frustrated about our lack of progress.
I force myself to stop in my tracks when I find myself without aim. Instead of trying to make some vague progress against an ill-defined goal, I pause, reassess and focus all my energy on getting clarity about my goal(s), direction and next steps.”