How to Reframe the Question

Too many of us ask this question.

What’s it all for?

This effort we’ve expended, the time we’ve taken away from family and friends, the fatigue we’ve felt from pushing ourselves beyond our breaking point.

Every time we set a goal, we put ourselves on a trajectory that tests us. Shaves our willpower down and squeezes our mental energy dry.

It costs us, but we continue onward because we can almost taste the reward. A degree, certification, job, promotion, award, raise, partnership, new house, better health, a thinner waistline. We allow ourselves moments of reverie, celebrating what our life could be if we could just make this one. thing. happen.

It doesn’t matter what the goals are – better health, fitness, career, spirituality, environment, or relationships – the scenario is always the same. We want results. We want to see progress. We want to prove worthy enough to pull that dream out from our head and into reality.

And if our efforts don’t immediately congeal into something we can hold onto or see –  

it’s easy to feel that that the sacrifice was for nothing.


That our energy was wasted, our time lost. That we were a fool for believing we could move past the shadow of our own limitations.

It’s here, in that space between trying and done, on the precipice of change, when we often abandon ourselves, lay down blockades and make sure we don’t take a single step more forward.

Because what’s the point?

Without an answer, we retract into ourselves, regressing into old habits, falling back into destructive relationships, an unfulfilling job, or a lifestyle that we were often desperate to leave.

It’s our instinct to protect ourselves, to conserve energy, defend against attacks to the ego. And this is why change is so hard. Because it requires that we lay ourselves vulnerable, that we open ourselves up to the possibility of failure. That we venture onto a pathway that we cannot fully see.

All in the spirit of getting better, of moving beyond where we are right now, of finally arriving where we’d like to be.

So what’s it all for? It’s for improvement, if we’re willing to see it.


It may be in the discovery of our abilities, strengths, and desires. It may be that we finally realize what we must do to live in accordance with our values.

It may be that in experiencing the dark emotions of disappointment, we find a connection to others feeling the same way. Or develop empathy for those we would have laughed off or simply ignored before.

It may be that in our troubles, we are forced to draw upon our own neglected creativity to find a way out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves in.

It may be that in seeing our limitations, we becoming more forgiving of those in others.

Or in our humility, we finally open our eyes to what everyone else has to offer.

It may be that in becoming lost and disenchanted, we finally find our way.

And this is just the beginning.

Like everything else, it’s our choice how we view our efforts. So what’s it going to be?


Got a comment? Drop me a line and let me know your experience!

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