There’s the aphorism “if you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it.”
I have to subdivide “goals” in this case into two categories: internal and external goals.
The external goals are a bit easier for me to define. Things like “pay off the house” or “go on some vacation” or “get that project done for work” fall into that. These are thing that you’ll work to get achieved.
Then there are what I’m going to call “internal goals.” These are less about what you do and more about who you are.
I’m a programmer. I never really had the goal to become a programmer. Ok, actually that’s a bit of a fib: I went to college for a bit with the stated goal to become a programmer. I flamed out on that. But I’m still a programmer. This may well sound like a contradiction, but at least for me, being a programmer is just simply who I am.
Let me try to untangle that a bit.
I started off wanting to be an electrical engineer. Then I fell into programming from there. The opportunity to make money on it just kind of happened by making a point-of-sale system for my grandpa’s friend. Then a booking system for my neighbor. Then a friend I met got me into consulting (this was after the college bit). Then working at other consulting shops. Then Progressive. It all just rolls.
I rarely looked for specific opportunities. I had no singular goal.
I always keep my eyes open all the time for opportunities. If you are only looking to further your specific goal you have a tendency to overlook the opportunities that The universe present to you.
“If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it.”
Maybe the “it” right up there is the thing you were supposed to hit in the first place.