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Over the last thirty years or so much has been written about goal setting. From a business perspective goals tend to be viewed as logical, tangible and practical objectives that are generally geared towards increasing turnover and/or profitability or achieving other more material aims.
Goals are actually nothing more that the end of a journey, but they can also be a series of stopping points along the road as well. It is often equally as important to have smaller goals that lead to our final outcome too.
The best way to achieve anything is to know what it is that we want to achieve. All else leaves us prey to the ebb and flow of the tide of life and the constant winds of change. I discover this for myself many years ago when one of my university lecturers told us of an experiment that had been done at Yale University some 21 years earlier. You probably know the story. Interestingly though, all these years later, I realise that the story is more an urban myth that it is a truth, and there is no documented evidence anywhere to support it - just so that you know. Regardless, it is a fine example an inspirational metaphor for achievement, so I will retell it here, for your interest, and as something to ponder. Remember though please, that this story is not real.
100 students were asked if they had specific, written goals with a clear plan for achieving them. 97% had none but 3% did have tangible, written and planned goals. In 1973 researchers revisited the surviving members of that class of 1953 and they discovered something very interesting. The 3% of students who had, clear, written goals had amounted more financial wealth that the other 97% put together.
Regardless of the financial aspect of story, and indeed its truth, the overall concept does affirm the value and importance of goal setting. We are told that some 95% of the population do not set goals whilst approximately 5% do. Again, I have never seen the evidence for this, except through personal experience of questioning those who attend my seminars. What is poignant about this statistic is that it infers that the 95% work for the 5%! Clearly there is something very telling about the concept, regardless of the statistics being completely accurate. What is it? Both the story and the statistics reveal something very important about cause and effect, and how that natural law impacts our lives:
If you don’t have your own plan for your life (your business or career) then you will almost certainly end up fitting into someone else’s plan for their life!
Many people have difficulty with setting goals, and some rarely, if ever, even think about them, except for shorter term ones like holidays, Christmas, birthdays and such. For many people, therefore, what they want may be unclear and unspecific, which makes them more like wishes.
The difference between wishes and goals is that one stays in the mind while the other one comes about as a direct result of taking action, and action can only be taken effectively if there is a plan.
Not everyone is ambitions, but we all have hopes about the future, both for ourselves and for our family. What many people do not realise, however, is that human beings are natural goal achievers. Within each one of us lays a natural mechanism for achieving. Our brain is genetically programmed to take action based upon our survival, and it constantly achieves its goal by regulating our blood pressure, heart rate, our breathing and repairing ongoing damage to the body. Of course, these actions are pre-programmed into the brain genetically. However, if you take a look around you, what do you see? Across the world, billions of people are achieving goals like getting married, having children, owning a home, going on holiday and keeping their job. Too much has been written about commercial achievement and entrepreneurial success, and yet little is published about the daily successes of the masses, and the amazing strength of will and determination that it takes to maintain security and provide for a family, in this ever changing and increasingly insecure world.
Achievement takes many forms and success can mean many different things. The world now sees achievement in financial, business, career or material terms, and yet happiness, fulfilment and personal satisfaction often come from elsewhere; from family, health, hobbies, sport, and education and learning goals. Indeed many people today have the desire to get out of the rat race and create a more natural and less stressed life style.
The purpose of this article is to stress that even our less materially motivated hopes, desires and aspirations require life to become reality, and there is nothing like turning them into positive, tangible, determined and thought out goals to empower us to achieve them.
That, is why goals are important, for without them, we are merely living lives of psychological mediocrity, living each day in acceptance instead of purposefully creative objectivity.
Discover for yourself, the purpose, process and power of creating highly effective goals, in our audio workshop, WELL-FORMED OUTCOMES.