The Most Important Aspect Of Goals

When you are watching the Olympics next month and all the athletes that are on the medal stands, I will be cheering on Robel Teklemariam, Katherine Eustace, Kazuhiro Koshi, Tugba Karademir and Clyde Getty no matter where the end up in the standings.

The chance of any of these athletes to capture gold is small to say the least, but that has not stopped them from pursuing their dream. They continue to work hard toward their goals and overcome the many obstacles that have put in front of them because they have a passion for what they are doing. They have set a goal and they will do everything in their power to get to it despite the odds.

When I began this project, I had no idea how I was going to go about accomplishing it. Although the goal I set — $1 million worth of food for food banks derived from a single penny found on the ground — seemed impossible, I felt that there had to be a way to achieve it and even if there wasn’t, I was going to do everything in my power to try and make it come a reality.

I think far too many of us look at something and how difficult (or even impossible) it would be to achieve and decide to do nothing instead beginning and seeing how far we can go. Penny Experiment is still very young and I have no idea whether or not I will ultimately reach the $1 million worth of food, but no matter how it turns out, I already consider it a success. Several hundred dollars worth of food has gone to food banks that would never had gone had I decided that it was impossible from the beginning — and there is still over $960 in the bank to spend. Even if I never reach the goal set (and I’m still not convinced that I can’t), by simply starting and trying, I have already won.

I think this is what athletes like the five above can teach us. It’s not necessarily reaching the goal that is important, but the simple pursuit of that goal. The winning isn’t a gold medal, it is making the decision to participate in the contest at all.

While giving food to food banks is beneficial and a goal that is important to me, my hope is far bigger than even that. If this Penny Experiment can inspire others to act no matter how difficult the pursuit they are thinking about beginning may seem, that act of starting will produce so much good that would have never happened had they not. It is my hope that long after I have reached the goal set for Penny Experiment, others are inspired to pursue similar activities where they may not have.

So when you are watching the Winter Olympics this February and the medals are being awarded to the various athletes, I hope that you are also cheering all the athletes that aren’t on the podium for the mere fact that they chose to pursue their dream, just as I hope all of you do as well.

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