The World’s Greatest Lie
And the Path to Freedom
By Kendel J. Christensen
Part VI of VIII
2. Am I consistently working toward ennobling goals?
One of my mentors taught me that if we don’t master the principles of goal setting, we will reach old age and realize that we reached but a small fraction of our full potential. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has a similar philosophy. He plans his life as if he is 80 years old looking back on his life. He focuses on doing the things today that will minimize any possible regrets for his 80-year old self.
This is an absolute necessity if you want to live freely. If you are actively setting specific goals and achieving them, you are increasing your innate capacity to do more. After just a few years, you will be amazed at how much more of a worthwhile, capable person you are. Again, to quote C.S. Lewis, “the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.” You become more free, because more capabilities give you more options.
If you are not continually setting and achieving goals, you are cultivating victimhood. Of course you will have a hard time with life and be tempted to complain about things you can’t control—you have made no progress to control anything beyond the things you already control!
A complaint at this point may rightly be “but there is only so much time in a day.” That is absolutely true. And you can choose to view that as if you were the master of your destiny, or a victim. A victim will say, “I don’t have time.” Someone who is the captain of their soul will say, “I haven’t made that a priority.” One is the world’s Greatest Lie. One puts you on the Path to Freedom, and places responsibility squarely where it belongs.
Of course you will not be able to get to everything. This is precisely why goals are important. Your time can be wholly and entirely spent merely reacting to what life sends at you. But goals give you a clear sense of your priorities. The only way to say ‘no’ to things, in the words of Stephen R. Covey, “is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.” Decide what your highest priorities are, and make sure your day planner matches those.
If you don’t, you are, by default, choosing to be a victim. What is important will forever be at the mercy of what is urgent.
One small example of this. I subscribe to a lot of educational youtube channels, but used to never watch any of them. When I have a full computer accessible, I work (or watch funny youtube videos—those are my priorities). When I am out and about, I never want to use my data plan to watch videos. For years, those channels got zero love. Then I asked myself some creative questions and had an idea. I bought a small laptop—the cheapest I could find—and set it up in the kitchen. Its sole purpose is to watch those channels. That one small decision has enabled me to watch almost 100 hours of enriching material that has expanded my mind (and provided the inspirational impetus to write a book). And this arrangement only used time that I already had, but wasn’t using as creatively as possible until I tried to think outside the box.
What are your priorities? When are you going to cut the fluff, and do what will really bring you happiness? The moment you decide to, you are taking a grand step to becoming the master of your own fate.
…to be continued…
 Mere Christianity, 117