“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”
— Norman Vincent Peale
It’s one thing to strive for something, a vast stretch goal where you have to channel all your energy and attention in hopes of achieving it. It’s another to set completely unrealistic goals for yourself.
From Mr. Peale’s perspective, I believe the message is that even if you don’t achieve this massive undertaking, you’ll still be better than where you were when you started.
And I suppose that’s a pretty accurate statement.
The problem comes in when someone misinterprets what Mr. Peale was trying to tell us.
Very few of us forward-thinking, let’s keep a positive spin on things, creatives enjoy missing the target and dwelling in the world of negativity for too long.
For a lot of us, shooting the moon and missing, in our books just happens to be a failure. Quite possibly another failure in a long list of failures.
No matter how far along the way we get, we can’t seem to make it to the final destination. And even though we know better, many of us aren’t willing to look at all the progress we make along the way.
We want to go eyeball to eyeball with the one humongous failure we just experienced.
See what I mean? Therein lies the fundamental rub with a lot of us.
I don’t think Mr. Peale’s comment infers that we only have one shot at forging our careers. Shooting the moon is an all-inclusive statement about setting your goals and working toward them.
No matter how long it takes.
The problem, in this case and many others, isn’t the destination, it’s the journey.
It’s always the journey.
Most of us have already experienced the frustration and the uncomfortable feeling of shooting the moon and missing. Yes, some of us extremely fortunate may have found a star to hitch to, but most of us came crashing back down to reality.
In our opinion, we tried to go big and ended up having to go home.
The thing is, in the beginning, a lot of us didn’t understand what “big” was. Aside from the fact, a dream of ours is to achieve the pinnacle, make it to the top.
Even when we weren’t quite sure of how to get there or what the “top” actually looked like in the first place.
But off we went, and after learning the hard way that even from the beginning, we bit off way more than we could chew, a lot of us changed our tactics a bit.
Now, many of us are continuing to keep our eye on the prize taking as many baby steps as we need to get where we need to go.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, folks. I still like to dream big, just like each one of you.
I’ve got my sights set on making some serious enough dinero on my writing gig to allow me, once and for all, to retire from my side hustle.
But I’m not dropping everything else in my life and shooting the moon on this dream of mine. Just like a lot of you, I’m putting in the work on the side hustle and I’m continuing to write every day.
Now a lot of big-time schemers and grandiose dreamers may tell us that we’ll never get anywhere with this practical approach of performing at the daily grind level.
There’s only one way to do this and it’s got to be big, massive, bold and enormous. Dream big, do it up in style. Go big or go home.
Been there, done that and I have a couple of T-shirts. And I did go home. Right after I missed shooting the moon P.G. style. Like a lot of you who may have misinterpreted Mr. Peale’s statement, I was forced to push the reset button and start over.
Although I still have the dream, I know I’m not the kind of person to sacrifice everything for my writing career and forego living my life as a sole provider, a father, and a husband.
Before you go there, no, this isn’t me trying to take the safe way out.
This is me taking a practical approach to making it to my dream, and understanding, becoming totally aware, of all the work I need to do to get there.
Instead, I will continue to take potshots at the moon, and yet, still make some fairly decent steps forward with my writing career.
Yes, it may take me a bit to get where I want to go from where I am today, but I have no intention of idly standing by on the sidelines.
From my viewpoint, just dropping everything else and going for it may not always be the most practical approach to actually getting what you want.
And to me, going big or going home is just another way of saying plan your work and work your plan. Another way of telling myself during those moments when I’m giving it, I need to give it everything I’ve got.
We all know it’s entirely possible to balance the realities of living life with our dreams. We do it every, single day.
A lot of us each day wear a lot of hats, struggle with a ton of real-world problems and yet still find the time to work the dream.
We may not be shooting the moon with our creative endeavors, but we’re all not just sitting here with our thumbs in our mouths.
Whether it’s a career, a passion, a talent or anything you seek to do, sometimes, most times you need to take very steady, calculated steps in making the journey.
As I said earlier, it’s the journey. You already know the destination. You’ve known it for years.
This dream of ours may be big. It might be that moonshot Mr. Peale was referring to, but if we take a more practical approach to getting there, it doesn’t mean we have to go home if we don’t hit it on the first shot.
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