Conflicting Life Goals

The greatest conflicts are not between two people but between one person and himself.
Garth Brooks

Cognitive dissonance is the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting ideas, goals or values. When we are in such a state of dissonance, we experience disequilibrium, a feeling of being torn between two places and not knowing how to move forward. As an entrepreneur and those who aspire to become one, many of us recognize and empathize with the internal conflict of, “I want to make a lot of money” and “I want to do something which I am passionate about and has meaning”. This is not an impossible situation to be in and there are many successful individuals in such a state! However, we only see their success story after it has been written in it’s entirety. We are often unable to rationalize the possibility of such a state when we start our journey with two strongly opposing goals in mind, all the while hoping we can emulate their success.

Unfortunately we are forgetting the “Why” in our story. I come across a lot of people who are making considerable amounts of money and not very fulfilled with their life, who ask for advice as to how to straddle an entrepreneurial venture on the side. I wrote about the grass being greener a few days ago and this a story of a person who wants to sit on the fence and not being able to decide which side to take. The choice paralyzes us, several forays and lots of money is spent trying to fill the void and balance the disequilibrium. Nothing sticks and we grow increasingly frustrated. Not being used to failure we begin to obsess why things are not working while neglecting the other side of the fence which is making us the money. Soon we find ourselves in no man’s land more confused than we have ever been.

Congratulations your inner conflict is a sign that you are alive. This struggle is one that many will not survive or give up easily on. At this moment in life you need to take some time off and decide what is it that you want to achieve in this life. Making the choice to trade money for meaning is not an easy one. It is deeply personal and several factors influence the decision we make. It is however in your best interest to pick one side and become the best you can at it. If that choice is to become an entrepreneur then make that decision whole heartedly.

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
M. Scott Peck

2 Comments Conflicting Life Goals

  1. Rizwan

    Very well written usman and I can personally relate to many of the issues you have highlighted in your post! However, good news is that i am still alive! ;)

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