There is a disconnect between the short term and the long term: we live day to day with different moods, roadblocks, and routines, yet our minds dream big with distant goals pushing us forward and giving us a reason to applaud or admonish ourselves each day. How can we overcome unpredictability of the short term in order to realize our dreams in the long term?
I watched a video the other day on the Galton Board and was taken by the random, unpredictable paths of the balls producing the same predictable shape every time (in order to understand how it works, you only need to watch up to 2:30 on the video). While it is practically impossible to predict the path of any one of the balls, bounces to the left and bounces to the right are equally likely-so most of them will fall directly below where they start.
This experimentally proven result is a metaphor for the seemingly random journey to achieving our goals. While it is easy to obsess over each day hoping for a favorable bounce, it is far more beneficial to put time and effort into positioning ourselves to accomplish what we want and letting the inconsistencies and randomness of the day to day work themselves out in the long run. Instead of worrying about what we cannot control, we should instead have faith that there are many possible paths to realize our goals (often paths we are consciously unaware of), despite any day to day setbacks we may encounter.
I did not have a clear path to success when I moved to New York last October, just some skills, some connections, and an audition. While I still cannot fully comprehend how quickly things fell into place to lead me to Hamilton, I firmly believe moving to The City, taking every opportunity I could throughout my life to build a unique skill set, and making friends along the way put me in the position directly above where I wanted to be. Even if things had not worked out, chances are I would have landed close to where I wanted to be, on a similar path to realizing my personal goals.
The next time you have a rough day and your personal frustration is building, I challenge you instead to take a moment, reaffirm what your long term goal is, and ask yourself “am I in the best possible position within my control to achieve this?” If the answer is no, then adjust your position accordingly to increase your odds; and if the answer is yes, take a deep breath and do not worry about setbacks of today knowing that the odds are in your favor.