Mission, Goal and Careers.

There is a misconception among most of students and young people regarding the meaning of the words “aim in life”. Becoming a Doctor or Engineer may be a milestone in the long journey of life but it cannot be the sole aim of life. It is because of this false notion that many of the young people became frustrated at the age of 23 or 25. Their aim of achieving something ends on becoming a doctor or engineer and they did not have the vision beyond becoming a doctor or engineer or they never thought it is required at all in the long journey of life.

So it is very important the terms AIM, GOAL, AND MISSION.

Aim: Aim means to direct a course. To direct an utterance with personal or special application. To direct one’s intention and endeavours with a view to attainment.

Goal: The finishing point of a race. A pillar marking the turning point in a roman chariot race. An end.

MISSION: A fight with a specific purpose. The errand or purpose for which one is sent—that for which one has been or seems to have been sent into the world.

Before you decide for a career you must fix your aim, goal and mission of life. Once you are clear about your aim and goal it is easy to achieve it. As mission of life will give a purpose of better living as life is not career alone.


All human behavior is goal directed. People behave the way they do because of their need to achieve certain things. These goals may deal with physiological needs, psychological needs or high order social needs.

Man is the most idle animal. Man will not work unless it is forced to work to meet some of its need. Research has shown that human beings want things in a certain order of priority. First of all, human beings must satisfy their physiological needs like food, clothing, shelter etc. Until they have enough of these, all their activities will be directed towards obtaining them. 

Once they have their physiological needs satisfied to an optimal level, a second order of needs comes to the surface and directs their behaviors. These are safety and security needs. Human beings want to 

make sure that they will continue to have their physiological needs satisfied. They require job security and protection from any physical dangers.

Once they have an optimal level of security a third order needs come into operation and direct behavior of human being. These are needs for love and belongingness. Human beings want affection from fellow-beings, often a selected few, and those in their immediate environment. Community organizations, student’s organizations etc satisfy this need for belongingness.

Once the need for love and belongingness are also satisfied, another set of needs which may be called “higher order social needs” comes to the surface and directs the behavior of people. These needs include the needs for achievement, recognition, status, power and influence over others. These are also called “ego needs” or “esteem needs”. When these social needs are also satisfied, then come the needs for understanding one’s own abilities and potentials and using them to the maximum. This need is called the “self-actualizing need”.

This need hierarchy theory was first developed by Abraham Maslow and hence it is called Maslow'’ Need Hierarchy. Most of the people are struggling with one or more of these needs and the productivity or output of his work depends upon how much he want to achieve or fulfill these needs. If one has higher order needs, he will work more, work hard and those with lower order needs will work less.

Self actualization

Power, prestige etc 

 (Esteem needs)

Love and belongingness  

Safety and security needs

 Physiological needs and other basic needs 

 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human needs 

Career by choice, not by chance:

Though I have told that man is the most idle animal, at the same time man is the most intelligent animal. Man is also a social animal. Man can’t live by bread alone as we have seen in Maslaw’s hierarchy of needs. All human beings strive for a healthy body and a happy, peaceful life. It is the human mind, which can guarantee a healthy body and a happy life. The choice of vocation or occupation or career as we popularly call it can make or mar this happiness. The mind, body and environment are in a state of dynamic interaction and the maintenance of this interaction in optimum state of efficiency is what health and happiness means. We should not forget the age-old saying “health is wealth”. The choice of a vocation should based on whether it allows for a healthy physique and active mind. Greed for money has killed many a promising individual, who refuses to see the truth of this: “You may win in one way and lose in another. You may buy gold too dear; if you give health for it, you make a poor bargain. If you sell freedom for it, you give pearls for a bubble. If you give soul for it, your self respect, your peace, your manhood, your character, you pay too much for it”.

Choose a vocation, which is clean, useful and honourable. Choose avocation which is refining and elevating; a vocation you will be proud of; a vocation that will enlarge and expand your manhood/femininity and make you a better human. 

Many a man “… has dwarfed his manhood, cramped his intellect, crushed his aspiration, blunted his finer sensibilities, in some mean, narrow occupation just because there was money”. Prestige and honour are another two reasons why people make a wrong choice in choosing their vocation or career. Many a young man has chosen the respectable, honourable and high prestige vocation of engineering, medicine or the administrative services, for which thy have no aptitude, only to become ridiculous, later on for life.

Remember that starting life in the right direction where even a small step will count far more than the greatest effort in the wrong direction. Let me complete with the story from Shiv Khera’s book:

Some animals in a forest decided to start a school. The students included a bird, a squirrel, a fish, a dog, a rabbit and a mentally retarded eel. A board was formed and it was decided that flying, tree climbing, swimming, and burrowing would be part of the curriculum in order to give a broad based education. All animals were required to take all subjects.

The bird was excellent at flying and was getting As but when it came to burrowing, it kept breaking its beak and wings and started falling. Very soon, it started making Cs in flying and of course in tree climbing and swimming it was getting Fs. The squirrel was great at tree climbing and was getting As, but was failing in swimming. The fish was the best swimmer but could not get out of the water and got Fs in everything else. The dog didn’t join the school, stopped paying taxes and kept fighting with the administration to include barking as part of the curriculum. The rabbit got As in burrowing but tree climbing was a real problem. It kept falling and landing on its head, suffered brain damage, and soon couldn’t even burrow properly and got Cs in that too. The mentally retarded eel, who did everything half as well became the valedictorian of the class. 

We should also not for get the story of the cat, fox and the dog, where the fox even after knowing hundred tricks was killed by the dog and the cat saved its life by simply mastering one thing, climbing of tree.

We are all gifted with some strengths and of course with some weaknesses. We should concentrate more on encasing and strengthening our strength. We should do our SWOT (Strengths’ Weakness, Opportunities, Threats) analysis before we decide for a career.


Your life is the sum total of all your choices up to this present minute.

Since you are always free to choose what you think about, you are in complete control of your life and everything that happens to you.


Your greatest possibilities will often come from the most common situations around you.

Your biggest opportunity probably lies under your own feet, in your current job, industry, education, experience or interests.


Everything you do or say is triggered by your inner desires, drives and instincts. These may be conscious or unconscious.

The key to success is to set your own goals and determine your own motivations.