The Power of Anti-goals
"People focus on role models; it is more effective to find antimodels - people you don't want to resemble when you grow up." — Nassim Nicholas Taleb
People often ask us what our goals are. What do you want to achieve? What is your 5-, 10-, 20-year plan?
For me, it is more important to ask what our anti-goals are. By defining what you are scared of becoming, you get closer to figuring out what you stand for. By pointing out what you want to avoid, you get closer to where you want to go.
This has been a major driving force for me.
My anti-goal is becoming a grey suit in the corporate office sucked dry of joy. A caged animal going through the motions and not expressing my ideas.
A year ago, I was on this route. I was chasing temporary highs to avoid facing the fact that I wasn't having an impact through my career. I blamed others, instead of looking within. I was restless. I spent weekends partying. I trained for endurance events to distract myself. The 'villain me' had a lot of questions, but few answers.
My friend Louie Bacaj has his own anti-goal. He walked away from a high-paying job in big tech to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. He knows he can go back to his old position if his small bets don't come off, but going back to corporate America would be a big failure to him.
My anti-goal has kept me going. Writing has been the antidote to my restlessness. I've created artefacts I can point back to. I've helped people in small, but meaningful ways. I'm having more of an impact by publishing my ideas.
While our goals can act like big "Go" signs, multiple "Go" signs can be confusing. In which direction should we go?
Anti-goals can act like warning signs that give us clear guidance – swerve out and avoid danger.
Who's the anti-model or villain you're trying to avoid becoming?