Dear Jesse: Set Goals In Your Life

I know I mentioned this before, but I want to mention it again: please consider reading Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography My Beloved World. Here is a woman who lived her life with one goal in mind. She wanted to be a judge. Not only did she become a judge, she became a Supreme Court Justice.

When Sonia (since I read her book I feel very close to her and figure she wouldn’t mind if I called her Sonia) was little, a doctor told her she had diabetes and, at the time, she was told people with Type 1 diabetes didn’t live very long. Instead of giving up on any dreams or hopes she had, Sonia decided, “I better hurry up and get this done, who knows how long I have.”

Quite a few people would listen to their doctors and stop living to their full potential thinking, “why bother? I’ll be dead soon. No point wasting my time studying or learning.” But not Sonia, she buckled down and did everything in her power to attain the goal she had set for herself, a goal which originated by watching the TV show, Perry Mason, no less!

She set very specific goals for herself and, when facing a decision in life, made choices which aimed her in the direction of her choice. Right after Sonia graduated from Yale Law School, she had a choice between a lucrative private sector job where she would have made a ton of money and a job as an assistant district attorney making hardly any money. Which job did she take? Sonia took the lower paying job because it was the easiest way to get a lot of experience in a courtroom; the only real way to become a judge. She realized the money would come later. That’s focusing on your long term goal.

If you don’t set goals for yourself, Jesse, how are you going to know how to live your life? For example: if you decided, right now, to retire from work at 45 and you made that your goal in life it would be helpful to live with that goal in mind before you’re in your 40s, right? You might not spend money frivolously, like a lot of people do, if you knew you wanted to retire early and travel.

You have an advantage at your age: you have your whole life in front of you. You don’t have to decide today what you want to do with the rest of your life. But maybe, in the back of your mind, you should start thinking about what makes you happy and what you see yourself doing when you get a little older.

I’m not trying to pressure you or tell you what to do, I just want you to think about things. It may seem like a long time until you reach adulthood but you’ll get there before you know it and I just want you to be as prepared as you can be for your future. Set goals, get to know yourself a little and think about the future. You could start by reading a wonderful little book I found: it’s called My Beloved World.

Love, Mom

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Filed under Advice to kids, Letters to Jessie

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