In the business world (allegedly) being goal-oriented is a good thing. It means people can motivate you, and it (allegedly) means that you're more likely to get things done than someone who isn't particularly goal-oriented. As someone who's fallen into this category most of my life, I would like to submit that it is not always especially helpful.
For one thing, being goal-oriented becomes a problem when you leave school. Up until this point, goals are literally spelled out for you. Learn the subjects. Get good grades. Graduate. Go to college. Get good grades. Graduate. After that, the next step is meant to be "Get a job," or "Find your passion," but somehow that goal has become less of a clear path and more of an unknown, bramble-covered trail that's fallen into disuse behind a broken down silo somewhere. When a goal-oriented person finds themselves goal-less, it can be disheartening. One question lights up the front of your mind with horrible neon: "WHAT DO I DO NOW?"
Some goal chasers pick new goals - either with real purpose, or seemingly at random. As for me, I feel reluctant to pursue anything without genuinely liking it, wanting it, yearning for it. So attached have I become to goals that not having one kills my motor almost immediately.
Goal-oriented people can often be reward-oriented, too. Once again, not a problem if that person has goal after goal followed by reward after reward - but what happens if they fail? How many times will they try again before they go after a goal that doesn't require them to push so hard? Three? Ten? Or just one? When the only thing you want is success, life stops being a journey with side trips, pit stops and quirky attractions and turns into chasing carrot after carrot until you stop doing anything difficult at all and just coast down the highway of least resistance.
Another place goal-obsession can become an issue is in personal relationships. How many serial monogamists have you known? They chase someone for weeks, date them for a few months, get bored, and chasing someone else. Then they date them for a few months - until they get bored. And find someone else. And get bored.
Are you seeing the pattern?
There's nothing wrong with realizing you're not into someone and looking for someone new, but I tend to think that relationships require work, compromise, and trying to find solutions to mutual problems. If you bail as soon as it stops being interesting, you're probably not that into the person. You're into getting them. They aren't a love interest, they're a goal, and as soon as you've achieved that goal you want a new one.
So yes. Being goal-oriented can be extremely useful sometimes. "I want to learn how to play guitar, so I will practice every day until I can play Stairway to Heaven," is a useful goal that will likely yield results. But applying it to every part of life closes people off from experiences they may've enjoyed or grown from.
What do you think? Is being goal-oriented always a good thing? Or mixed? Or entirely awful?