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How to Stumble Across Things

Trevor O'Hara
1 min read
How to Stumble Across Things
Photo by Michael Dziedzic

For all our love of planning and goal-setting, one thing never ceases to amaze me: the number of times I hear somebody say they could never have envisioned a year ago what they're doing now.

How does that happen?

We often fall into the trap of envisioning something for the future and setting our sights on it. We do this in every aspect of our lives: a dream job, a dream house, a dream life partner, a dream holiday destination.

The problem with these 'dreams' is that we can narrow our sights so narrowly that we lose sight of everything else. And when that happens, we become blind to other opportunities that may present themselves in our peripheral vision. Because we ignore everything else that's not related to our dream or goal, we close everything else out.

It's not about ignoring goals altogether but just making them so narrow that we become blind to the world around us. Flexibility in our dreams and goals allows us to stumble across other things.

For example: "I want to earn $4,000 per month from my freelance graphic design work by September to cover my expenses" is a narrow goal. A broader goal would be: "I want to fund my living expenses through self-employed earnings fully." This is a broader goal since there are many ways to achieve that.

A narrow goal would be: "I want to write a 260-page book about organizational change and have it accepted by a well-known publishing house by the end of the year." A broader goal version would be: "I want to start tweeting about organizational change to test out demand for a book manuscript." The broader goal provides room for exploration and the potential to stumble upon new areas: new followers, new unexplored angles of the book, a potentially different book direction, etc.

Here's the thing with randomness: it's always lurking around the corner. But if you close your eyes to it, you'll never know what it could lead to.