The greater part of our daily lives can be summarized under the heading of goal fulfilment.
We are constantly in the process of fulfilling goals.
It does not matter if we ourselves actively think of our lives this way or not; it is an appropriate characterization nonetheless.
Even the act of getting out of bed, or going to it, is the fulfillment of a goal; making the bed, preparing breakfast or acquiring it somewhere along the way of travel to work, to school, to wherever we are called to be, those are all goals. They are goals that we do not think about (much), because for most of us they have become routinized, habitual, and unconscious behaviors.
Ordinary functions like our morning regimen, may be so habitual that we do not even think about them.
We may find that we have performed some of our daily tasks, without even realizing that we have done them; like driving to work, taking the left turn at the corner, merging onto the highway, suddenly we are parking the car, and all the while, during the entire commute we have been thinking about other things.
Nevertheless, we were driving with a goal in mind: to get to work, and we completed numerous, tiny, nearly invisible goals all the way in.
In sum: goal fulfillment is life, and life is goal fulfillment.
Goals may be small, near term and able to be accomplished with virtually unconscious effort.
Goals may be large, long term, far ranging and difficult.
In both cases, the active principle in goal fulfillment is discipline.
Discipline is the sustained marshalling of effort, the focus of the will toward a particular end.
Discipline has a frequency; its lowest spectrum is represented by normalized, routinized, habitual activities; its highest spectrum is related to the long-term ambitions that define our lives.
The space and distance between our present circumstances and our long-term goals must be closed by strategic thinking.
Strategy has three keys:
One: Understanding yourself in the present.
Two: Understanding the place you would like to be.
Three: Understanding the relationship between the two, knowing that the space and distance between the present and the future is a field of constant change, continuous flux, and mutability.
Understanding the present requires an understanding of its antecedents, the choices that were made that brought you to this place, and the random factors that crept up in your life that either advanced or set you back in your goals, where they came from and how your reactions hindered or helped you.
For most of us, the question of how we live our daily lives comes down to the question of how we navigate the tension between, and make adjustments to, our range of near term, medium and long-range goals.
How the interplay between our modes of living, the choices and behaviors that are unconscious, habitual and routine, relate to the modes of living that are necessary for the fulfillment of longer range goals, is what defines us at any given moment in our lives.
Most of us have long and medium range goals. However, for many of us our long-term goals may only be desires, or hopes, wishes we have for ourselves that we have no real intention of acting on.
What differentiates a goal from a desire or a hope is the degree to which we believe we can actually achieve it, and the degree to which we actively shape our present lives toward the fulfillment of it.
And so, we return to discipline.
Discipline is nothing more than the act of keeping the commitments you have made to yourself.
With daily and constant discipline; a person is able to follow the map they have drawn for their personal progress, to steadily advance toward the fruits of those endeavors.
We may become whoever we wish to be through discipline, the servant of strategy.
Foresight is the companion to strategy, it begins with self-awareness, knowledge, and understanding.
A person must know who and why they are, take full responsibility for the actualities of their existence, even those traits and attributes they possess, which they did not seek, choose for themselves, and do not desire: our genetic endowment, our cultural heritage,
our relative position on the scale of poverty and wealth.
Whoever we are, whatever we have been given, that constitutes the platform from which we launch all our dreams and ambitions, and by discipline, achieve them.