You have been lied to.
Your parents did it. Your teachers did it. Your friends do it. Your romantic partners did it to. Your TV definitely lied to you. Most of them didn't mean to do it. They were just regurgitating what they had been told about the way to world works. Well, all except for the TV. That's the best place to start here.
It's constantly pushed on us that the goals of our existence is to "live up to our potential". To somehow prove to everyone how awesome we really are by making a lot of money, or by owning the coolest, newest thing on the block. It's called several things in marketing, but it's mostly related to the concepts of scarcity and status. If something is seen as being relatively scare and is perceived as being something fancy and or exiting, it conveys status. It lets others know that there is something special and unique about you.
That's really what most of this about, isn't it? The might say that we don't care what other people think, but the reality is the we care far more than we realize, don't we? In fact, one of the more interesting concepts in recent psychology points to the idea that we don't see ourselves as we see ourselves, or as other people see us. We perceive ourselves as we think that others perceive us. And how can get some sort of a reference point as to how others might see us? By looking at our culture and seeing what others seem to value.
This is why people worry about their physical appearance, what kind of car they drive, where they live, what kind of job they have..and list goes on and on. Social media has made the issue even worse, with each person acting as their own public relations department, spinning the perfect story to send out to the world about who they want to be seen as. Even more daunting is the reality that many of our industries are designed to keep even those making great livings (financially) on the brink of bankruptcy. So, even the achievement of the goal isn't a guarantee of happiness.
But here's the rub: The vast majority of people never find fulfillment chasing the favor of others. For many, it feels like a creeping dread that always lingers just on the boarders of our minds, until we are laying awake at 3 am, and panic sets in. Many of us know that there is something wrong and then, we begin to consciously or subconsciously blame ourselves. We start to think that somehow, we're just not "enough" to meet the standards of this world. That we were somehow born defective and aren't able to keep up with everyone else.
But the truth is, you aren't defective. You aren't less than you need to be. You are more than enough. You were just taught to play the wrong game.
The promises of this world (wealth, admiration, status) are like a beautiful apple that, once you bite into it, turns to ash within your mouth. It is illusion. It is folly. And the more we grasp longingly for it, the further away it becomes. That is because we are measuring ourselves by other's demand for results.
What if instead, we took a moment and tried to remove those goals from our mind, along with all associations tied to them. What would you do, if you were coming from your deepest self? What if we, if we have to judge ourselves at all, were to judge ourselves based on not our achieved results, but by our ability to create the conditions that allows us to take advantage of the frequent opportunities that come into our path? Why not consider what you wish to experience in life, then go about fulfilling the prerequisite actions needed while placing yourself in the way of possible opportunity?
This is definitely a different method than crushing a new goal. But it is, in my humble opinion, far more powerful and a much more real way to live. It allows the Universe to line up for you and allows you to live a truly authentic life, as unique and individual as you are.
P.S. This is a very large subject, which I will be delving into quite deeply in the very near future. If you feel this is a bit..incomplete, stay tuned. It will become more and more fleshed out as the year goes on.