When I was a kid, I thought that being an expert martial artist would provide security: you could be in any situation and feel safe because of your skill. As an adult, I became moderately skilled in BJJ and competent enough as a striker to get in the ring and fight competitively. I remember thinking that I was skilled enough to beat anyone that didn’t train pretty seriously.

At that point, I should have felt very secure. However, I was more insecure than ever. As I grew more competent, I better understood how vulnerable I was to things like weapons, sucker punches, multiple opponents, or bad luck. Which is the actual environment of unsafe situations outside of the gym.

After a lot of introspection, I realized that security was the wrong goal. Life isn’t safe. Rather than pursuing the illusion of certainty, I would have been better served to focus on making authentic choices and being willing to live with the risks.

One of the tricky challenges of business is that the objectives we pursue sometimes don’t serve our vision like we think they do. If you gave a retired entrepreneur with decades of experience your vision, they might choose different objectives than you. E.g. you want to make more profit, so you’re pursuing more customers, but the expert focuses on cutting costs (not necessarily true, just an example).

Objectives structure activity and contain hidden obstacles and restraining forces. We’re blind to it, but they determine our trajectory. They can lead us down long hard roads to dead ends or launch us on greased tracks skyward.

Because of this, it’s worth thinking about your objectives. Questioning them. Testing them. Getting feedback on them.

The time to do it is early, when the ink is still fresh on the page.

Must you value what others value,
avoid what others avoid?
How ridiculous!

Tao Te Ching, 20