When What You Want to Choose Contradicts What You Must Choose

In my last post I wrote about why I think it’s important to know where you and your family are going in life. Near the end of that post I suggested that defining success and then basing all your decisions on reaching that outcome is ideal:

Ask yourself what a successful day/week/year/lifetime looks like for your family. Then, make all your decisions with that final outcome in mind. If one decision gets you closer to your final goal and another doesn’t, the choice you should make will quickly become very clear.

While it may be ideal, it’s not always realistic. Sometimes we’re forced to make a decision that’s not in line with our end goal, but is required to get through that day or that week. Sometimes we have no choice but to delay the big dreams.

Having the Plan

Here’s an example of what I mean. Dani and I want to take the kids on a vacation to Disney World. We don’t just want to go to Disney, though. We want to make it a “Yes Vacation.” To my knowledge, the term was coined by Dani’s dad. The idea is simple. You go on vacation, and if the kids ask for something, the answer is always “yes.”

Of course, a trip like this would be extremely expensive no matter where you go. With the prices in Disney, we’ll need to sell two kidneys and our firstborn to pull it off. (Tough luck, Joey.) But it’s a good goal for us to have. I’m confident we’ll get there eventually.

We know that achieving this will take some saving and some sacrifice. It will likely take us years. But we have a vision for one of our big picture goals. And we can make decisions with that end goal in mind. That is until Murphy’s Law gets wind of the big plans.

Adjusting When Life Happens

A few months ago our washing machine died. The next day we were at the store picking a new one out. Could there be a more boring way to spend a thousand bucks? But we needed one. So money that could have been put toward the Yes Vacation instead went to Best Buy. The only way it could have been any sadder is if Mickey himself wheeled it out to the car.

One of the things they don’t tell you about being an adult is the necessity to make adult decisions. If I go the rest of my life and never purchase another washing machine, I’ll be perfectly happy. It wasn’t the purchase Dani or I wanted to make. In fact, it flew right in the face of us getting closer to one of our dreams. In that way, buying it was the wrong decision. But it was the purchase that we needed to make. And in that way, buying it was the only decision.

So What’s the Point?

The point is, having dreams and chasing them with a vision and goals is a really good thing. It’s the only way to really know which way you should go. It provides the motivation necessary when things get tough. It helps us stay on track. Most of the time it tells us which decisions to make. But sometimes we’re forced to fly in the face of that guidance and do what’s necessary, not what’s right. Sometimes we have no choice but to juggle priorities even if it means our vision is a little cloudier, our dreams a little delayed. Sometimes the washing machine dies, and the only option is to spend our Mickey Money on a new one.

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