I’ll never forget the first time I saw the movie “Cannonball Run 2” because it was the first time I fell in love. The movie opens with a white Lamborghini Countach having some fun with the police on a desert road. Yes, I fell in love with the car (especially after the car pulled a costume change and turned red) although the passenger in it — Catherine Bach, “Daisy Duke” from the Dukes of Hazzard — certainly caught my attention as well. From that day on, my goal in life was to own a red Lamborghini Countach.
I was a pre-teen at the time I saw the film so I was looking forward to purchasing my very own Lamborghini in just a few short years when it would be time to get my license. When you’re 12 years old, you tend to not worry about things such as finding $180,000 to buy a car (even if the house you live in isn’t worth that much). So within weeks, my bedroom became plastered with Lamborghini posters and I dragged my parents to every car show in the area for years.
After I few years, I began to focus on the things that can love you back and my goal became simply a dream that I put on the back burner. But then when I was in my mid-twenties, I found that I could actually make my dream come true. I found a used 1986 red Lamborghini Countach for under $60,000 and realized I could afford the $800 monthly payment. Then practicality got the best of me – after all, I could only drive it half the year — and I decided against it.
A few more years passed and then something very bizarre happened — I didn’t want one anymore. I was doing a goal setting workshop and one of the exercises was to list “thing” goals such as luxury items. That red Lamborghini was not only the first one I listed, but I grouped it in the top three absolutely must haves. But when it came time to list out all the reasons why I absolutely must have it, my mind when blank. I couldn’t think of a single reason why I wanted that car so after a few moments of shock, I removed it from the list.
I discovered an important lesson that day — as you grow, your goals and priorities change. Sure, we all want dogs and ponies when we’re kids but then as adults, we find them to be too expensive or too much work. But this car was part of my personality for well over a decade. My friends often teased me about how my face would light up when I saw one in a film or how it would be the only car I’d drive in racing games. I even have some relatives that I only see every few years that still ask me when I’m going to get that car.
This doesn’t just happen with thing goals; I’ve also had it with professional goals. For example, I had wanted to join the National Speakers Association a few years back but they have strict requirements to join. When I finally met those requirements, I no longer felt the need to join as I was too busy speaking to be as active in the organization as I wanted to be. When I was involved with Toastmasters, I had wanted to become an Accredited Speaker and earn my DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) award, but then realized that neither one were required to reach my real goals.
You can learn a lot about yourself as you set goals and seek to attain them. Sometimes you get there and realize it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But it’s still a good thing because you aspired to do something and did it. You have another success under your belt and at the very least, another learning experience. Looking back at my Lamborghini goal, I wanted that car because I felt it would impress people. What 12 year old buy doesn’t want to impress people? But now as an adult, the goals I’m working towards have bigger objectives. I finished up a workshop a few weeks back and a woman told me that what I taught her changed her life — and I’ll take that any day over the “wows” I’d get by driving a flashy car.
Again, as we mature so do our goals. Life’s events have a way of putting things in perspective. Getting married, becoming a parent, having aging parents, losing your job, making a career change, losing a loved one — all of these events make you take a step back and think about what your true purpose is. We’re only here for a short time, and unfortunately, we spend most of that time figuring out what it really is that we want. You can have my Lamborghini if you’re at the stage in your life where it will help you — I have other plans.
James Feudo owns the Boston Web Design Agency JVF Solutions and loves blogging about personal development and communication in his spare time.
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