Piece of Mind: Set a Goal and Go for It — Realistically

By webadmin on 06:17 pm Feb 26, 2012
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Fidelis E. Satriastanti

As a journalist, I’m a good listener and I tend to absorb the chatter around me. I have overheard many interesting conversations, including the following one among a group of women.

A young woman, who I presume came from a well-off family, spoke casually about her life goals with some much more mature acquaintances. The girl said she wanted to marry by the time she turned 23, “a must target.” Then she mentioned that she wanted to get an administrative job at a mining company, which she said were often filled with male employees. She named a well-known mining company that supposedly pays its workers Rp 4 million ($445) a month, a considerable amount for most Jakartans.

Now, I don’t really know this young woman so I’d prefer to talk about my own ambitions, but I must admit that she really does have big dreams. She wants to get married at a young age, so she is seeking places teeming with men. You have to admire the effort.

This brings me back to my own effort to fulfill my own dream, which is quite simple: to be organized.

My effort to be organized is endless. I started one day by buying a whiteboard (now sitting uselessly in my dresser), colorful markers to help me set out my daily agenda and indicate my readings, and all sorts of Post-it notes. As if that wasn’t enough, I also tried to make good use of my cellphones (yes, that is plural — I have more than one phone) to organize my day.

The result? I still ended up relying on my brain to remember the things I had to do. And by the end of the day I realized I had still wasted a lot of time, so I began devising a new plan.

I might be a bit of a control freak, but I assume most people like to have a clear path in life. You set your goal, you put your mind and heart into it achieving it, and then you do it. The process might work like that for some people, but for others it requires a little extra work.

That young woman’s desired path in life is far more realistic than mine. How so? Well, let’s just follow her logic. Premise 1: She wants to marry by the age of 23 and is trying to surround herself with many men. Premise 2: The mining industry has many male workers. Conclusion: If she wants to marry by the age of 23, she should work in the mining industry.

Let’s look at my logic. Premise 1: I need to be organized, so I buy cute Post-it notes to set up my schedule. Premise 2: Damn! There’s breaking news and I need to reschedule! Conclusion: I need to be organized, but I must also do my job as a reporter to fill those newspaper pages.

That young woman has a much more realistic target than mine, while I need to accept that in my profession it’s impossible to fully organize your life. I can, however, be realistic about getting organized when I write articles and conduct interviews.

I am inspired by a slogan I saw painted in huge letters on the wall at the gym: “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” So I should be relentless in getting organized (in the broader picture, of course) because it’s important to nurture your dreams.

However, for that young woman, I don’t think her dreams matter anyway. Her father is providing her with a much better solution: Apparently, she will work at his office, with no probation, and will receive Rp 15 million a month for a desk job.

Now, don’t you just love a happy ending?

Fidelis E. Satriastanti is a news reporter at the Jakarta Globe.