How to reach your life’s goals

A University professor to his loving students:

“You may be thinking of me as a man who achieved his life’s goals. Yet, I’d be delighted to swap places with you. …  Man never reaches what he set out to achieve. Behind the goal is a horizon, and behind it another, and another; the closer we get to it, the farther it becomes, it no longer seems quite as alluring from a close range, as it did from afar. Most importantly, the closer you get, the less appealing is the target, it is as though you are seeing it through haze. Yet, it is those vague objectives that are most alluring to individuals, as they are to entire nations too.

More important than reaching the goal, is how we tread the road to the goal. On this road we often lose so much that in the end the goal doesn’t seem worth it. Many lose themselves on this road. Why are we in such a hurry to reach the end sooner? Is it not strange? The end of the road is completely different from its beginning, and often when we approach it we no longer know the purpose that sent us out in the first place. Sometimes we no longer need that for which we searched our whole life. It happens to entire nations too.”

Grigory Baklanov, The Youngest of the Brothers (my translation.)

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