Posts Tagged With: Goals

Light Your Fire

A man was traveling and stopped at an intersection. He asked an elderly man, “Where does this road take me?” The elder one promptly questioned, “Where do you want to go?” The man replied, “I don’t know.” To which the old man opined, “Then take any road. What difference does it make.”

How true.

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​When we don’t know where we are going, any road will take us there. Enthusiasm without direction is like proliferating weeds in a garden. It will lead to frustration. A whole lot of energy is being wasted and nothing concrete is being seen. Goals give a sense of direction. Would you sit in a train or plane without knowing where it was going? Obviously ‘No’. Then why do people go through life aimlessly, without goals?

That was the easiest part. Because it did not require any effort to ask a question. But it is really challenging to find the solution. And for this riddle, there is no perfect answer. Some people know what they really want, but just haven’t pursued it. So, for them, it is only a matter to focus and realize what they wanted all along. Others will have a more difficult time. They have not yet figured out what their dream is. Or what they’d like to accomplish.

For those wandering aimlessly but would like to get a grip on things, it is best to start simple. Small steps, like thinking. Close your eyes and think about things. Deep inside, you already know what you want, only that it has not surfaced enough to be visible. That is why you have to go inside. Close your eyes and think.

Think about what’s important to you. Think about what you’d like people to talk about when you are no more. Think about how you would like to be remembered. Write down the things that come to mind. This should not be a one-time exercise. You will need to do it many times. Until you can see clearly. Your goal should be visible right in front and everything else will be a blur. Continue to explore your inner consciousness till you can see clearly.

This was the easier part. The struggle starts as you build a road map to get there. There are always several roads to get where you want to go. The ones that are easy have many shortcuts and compromises. The others will be difficult, treacherous and full of hardships and obstacles. But one has to walk down this street. There is a technique here which works – think backwards. From the end to the beginning.

What is the last thing you’ll need to do to achieve that outcome? What is the thing you’ll need to do just before that step? What is the thing you’ll need to do before that step? And so on, until you get to the first step. The first step is what you need to focus on.

On the best sunny day, the most powerful magnifying glass will not ignite the paper if you keep moving it around. But focus and hold it in place and the paper will light up. That is the power of concentration.

This was the easy part. Now you actually have to go and do it. You have your plan outlined. Surely you can now have the 1-2-3-step guide laid out too. What is needed and critically so, is to monitor how you stick to the plan. It could get very complicated keeping track of several goals with different time frames. What can be done to simplify things ? It is suggested to break down the goals into smaller components. And then monitor them. So you have just one small sub-goal one at a time. And several such sub-goals leading to a short-term goal. And a bouquet of short-term goals building up to your medium-term goal. A number of medium-term goals lead to a long-term goal and finally targeting the life-time goal.

The reason you focus only on one goal at a time is because it is difficult to follow many objectives at the same time. So, we sort them into actionable aims. When you need to accomplish only one thing this week, you actually boost your chances of success. As you can really focus more energy into making it happen. However and when you decide to do 3-5 things in the next two weeks, it is much more likely that you won’t do any of them.

When you achieve the short-term goal, select another one which is in line to get you to your medium-term goal. Once the medium-term goal is accomplished, choose a new medium-term goal to get you to your long-term goal. No sooner is your long-term goal accomplished, set your sights on a new long-term goal. Keep this up, and you will achieve your aim. Importantly, you won’t be wandering aimlessly anymore. You will have discovered purpose, hope, faith, confidence and success.

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Be An Eagle

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?

The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift itself higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

Be An Eagle

If achieving goals were easy, everyone would do it quickly and without difficulty. Even if your vision is clear and you can articulate a detailed roadmap, there are always obstacles in the path. ​

What stops you from achieving success is often yourself. With a little unwanted help from those around you. This lack of support from those closest to you – family, friends – plays a critical role in halting a challenge before it has even begun. ‘There’s no way you can do that’ is the classic response from these people, when presented with a potential challenge. Overcoming this barrier should be the first step on your path. 

An important key to delivering success is to dissect the challenge into a number of smaller steps. Each small step can be viewed as a short-term goal. Combining a number of short-term goals leads to the delivery of a medium-term goal, and combining medium-term goals leads to the completion of your journey, the delivery of your challenge and success! Goal-setting, by itself, is relatively simple. A goal should be challenging but achievable – it is important that you establish your goals at the beginning and make sure they are outside your comfort zone; don’t set your sights low. Having committed to the challenge, you must construct a plan to optimize each of the areas required to deliver success. Beware of the common risk that comes from friends who do not share your enthusiasm and continually offer you de-motivating lollipops. Do not leave anything to chance; success is not a chance event. Monitor your progress regularly. Celebrate each small successful step. 

Generally, we challenge ourselves in physically measurable terms – losing weight, running a marathon, developing a beach body – but the brain is central to the delivery of success whatever the challenge. It is our loss of belief, commitment and motivation that leads to failure. This psychological trio conspires together to lead you astray. Believing you ‘can achieve your goal‘ provides the foundations to overcoming your challenge. With belief comes the commitment to invest – the time, effort and resources to make sure you continue to deliver your short-term goals. And success in achieving these goals increases your motivation.

A bizarre tool to stick yourself on the chosen path would be to make a contract. With yourself.  To deliver success. This simple commitment can become a pillar to lean on when you are struggling with belief or commitment or motivation. Your contract re-iterates the importance of your goal. It is a measurable deliverable and It indirectly induces the motivation needed to invest the appropriate amount of work until you have completed the tasks at hand.

Use your own priceless resource. Your brain. Thinking about your problems is the only way to really beat them. There’s no better place to apply expansive thinking than on issues holding you back. Quit banging your head against the same brick wall over and over. Take time to think things through and find creative solutions that bring fun and progress to the grind of obstacle removal. Discipline yourself emotionally, commit time and effort to your benefit regardless of external factors. Make the obstacle the No. 1 priority and focus on it every day until it’s gone. It’s the joy and journey of clearing those obstacles that makes life rich, and helps people feel truly accomplished when they finally reach the pinnacles of success.

Understand that obstacles come in different colours. There could be obstacles outside your control such as the economy, natural disasters, physical limitations, etc. Then, obstacles could be one-time issues but you have direct control over them, such as resources, cash flow, time availability, needed skills or talent. And finally, there are habitual obstacles. These obstacles reflect how people get in their own way. They can only be removed with behavioral change.

If you don’t see the obstacle or believe it’s a hindrance, you’ll never reach your goals, blaming everything and everyone but the real cause. So, pause and reflect from time to time. Evaluate, monitor your progress. Search for probable impediments that could disrupt your progress. Be patient. Learn to bide your time. To ride the storm, the most effective time would be to rise above when the storm actually hits. Hence, timing is crucial. The tougher the obstacle, the more time it might take to overcome. Observe the small progressions. They should encourage you to put in more effort. With time comes momentum. And momentum is the best way to knock off the obstacles.

When the storms of life come upon us, like the eagle, we can rise above them. What is your greatest challenge now? Write it down. Then let it lift you higher.

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Staying Young

“So curiosity, I think, is a really important aspect of staying young or youthful.” – Goldie Hawn

We aspire much, yet achieve little. Why? Our mind is rational and illogical, progressive and regressive, optimistic and pessimistic. Therefore and by nature it is incapable of a unified response. We need to deal with negativity and infuse positivity.

The first negative force is the tendency to create illusions and chase them. Understand the difference between goals and illusions. Goals are anchored in reality, while illusions derive from ego and wishful fantasies. Set up realistic goals, thereby multiplying the likelihood of their achievement. Aspire to be physically fit, emotionally vivacious, forever learning and evolving with age.

A second negative force is the pre-disposition to function in a conditioned manner. By the time we reach young adulthood, certain habits and personality traits have manifested themselves and they stick with us for the rest of our lives. Such habits restrict the range of what we can do and the variety of ways in which we can do them. This creates a comfort zone and defining it is our greatest blunder. It stops the natural ability of rejuvenation and healing which can be brought about by introducing new physical and mental activity. Your youth can be re-inforced by continuous interest in listening to, trying and practising anything different or new.

The third negative force is the tendency to think pessimistically. Life will throw painful experiences. You can decide to respond actively to take up the challenge. Your every thought and emotion sends a message to your immune system and this message can enhance or impair it. Positive emotions will boost the system whereas negativity will harm it. Happy and optimistic people live younger, longer.

Changing your mental attitude is the strongest step to staying young.

Curiosity Goldie Hawn

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Clear Goals & Objectives

Clear goals and objectives are essential to the success of any business, and this is no less true of building your own career. If you don’t take the time to get really clear about exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish, then you’re forever doomed to spend your life achieving the goals of those who do. In the absence of a clear direction for your life, you will either meander aimlessly or you will build a career that you don’t feel good about. You may make some money, and you may do some interesting work, but the end result will not resemble anything you ever made a conscious decision to build, and ultimately you will be left with the sinking feeling that maybe you took a wrong turn somewhere along the way. Do you ever look at your career and think to yourself, “How on earth did I get here?”

If setting goals is so critically important, then why is it that so few people take the time to define exactly where they want to go? Part of the reason is a lack of knowledge about how to set clear goals. You can go through years of schooling and never receive any instruction on goal setting at all. A failure to understand the immense importance of establishing clear goals is also common. But those who truly know what they want often outperform everyone else by an enormous degree.

A frequent deterrent to goal setting is the fear of making a mistake. Teddy Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Setting virtually any goal at all is better than drifting aimlessly with no clear direction. The best way I know to guarantee failure is to avoid making clear, committed decisions. Every day is already a mistake if you don’t know where you’re going. You’re probably spending most of your time working to achieve other people’s goals. The local fast food restaurant, TV advertisers, and the stockholders of the businesses you patronize are all very happy for that. If you don’t decide what you really want, then you’ve decided to hand your future over to the whims of others, and that’s always a mistake. By taking hold of the reins yourself and deciding where you’d like to go, you gain a tremendous sense of control that most people never experience in their entire lives.

Many people assume that because they have a direction, they must therefore have goals, but this is not the case and merely creates the illusion of progress. “Making more money” and “building a business” are not goals. A goal is a specific, clearly defined, measurable state. An example of the difference between a direction and a goal is the difference between the compass direction of northeast and the top of the Eiffel Tower in France. One is merely a direction; the other is a definite location.

“First, have a definite, clear practical ideal; a goal, an objective. Second, have the necessary means to achieve your ends; wisdom, money, materials, and methods. Third, adjust all your means to that end.” –Aristotle

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Clarity Is A Choice

Career just meandering along ? Life following a course of it’s own ?

Maybe your focus needs to be clearer. If it is all just waking up each morning and seeing what happens, then it is absolutely crucial that you take the time to decide and write down exactly where it is you want to go. How much longer will you continue to climb the ladder of success, only to realize too late that it was leaning against the wrong building? Just pick a point in the future, whether it’s six months from now or five years from now, and spend a few hours writing out a clear description of where you want to be at that time. I know many people who aren’t sure where they want to go, so they avoid committing anything to writing in order to “keep their options open.” What would happen if you pursued that attitude to its logical conclusion? If you always kept your options open and never made any firm commitments, then you’d never get promoted, start your own business, get married, have a family, move to that new home, etc. except to the degree that someone else made that decision for you.

I used to have a friend like this, who still hasn’t decided what he wants to do with his life. He yields control of his life to others without even realizing it, simply because he’s unwilling to take the time to define a vision for his own life out of fear of making the wrong choice. His life is ruled by others who push their goals onto him, which he accepts by default. Ask yourself if you’re in the same boat. If a friend of yours became totally committed to getting you to change something in your life at random — your career, your living situation, your relationship, etc. — could s/he do it just by being absolutely certain and committed that it’s the right thing for you? Could a business associate come along and radically alter your plans for the week without you ever deciding consciously that such a change is consistent with your goals? We all suffer from problems like these to the degree that we fail to set clear goals for ourselves. There is a big difference between recognizing and acting on a true opportunity and being knocked off course without making a conscious decision to shift gears.

Waiting for something to inspire you and hoping that the perfect outcome will just fall into your lap is nothing but a fantasy. Clear decision-making won’t happen passively; you actually have to physically put in the time to make it happen. If you don’t have clear goals simply because you don’t know what you want, then sit down and actively decide what you want. That sense of knowing what you want isn’t going to just come to you in a form of divine inspiration. Clarity is a choice, not an accident or a gift. Clarity doesn’t come to you — you have to go to it. Not setting goals is the same thing as deciding to be a slave to the goals of others.

“The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.” – Conan O’Brien

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