Cartoon by Randy Glasburgen

Cartoon by Randy Glasburgen

I have often wondered how some people get phenomenal results in life, while others seem to float dismally down a river of mediocrity.  Is it education?  Is it being brilliant?  Is it luck? Is it hard work? What is it?

  • Let’s look at education.  I wholeheartedly agree that education is critical to an interesting and fulfilling life.  Being able to learn, read, and grow allows us to have a richer understanding of the world around us. Yet, do you know some people who are highly educated – that are still slogging it through like everyone else?  And, have you known people with very little education that have made it big? Well, let’s look at some examples:
    • Apple founder Steve Jobs only went to college for 6 months.
    • Astronaut John Glenn dropped out of college.
    • Albert Einstein was a high school drop-out.
    • Microsoft founder Bill Gates dropped out of college as well.
  • So, it must brilliance.  I would argue that ‘yes’,  this could be a factor.  But, not all of us are in the same category as Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein or Bill Gates.  So, do you have to be a genius?
    • I have a hard time with this one.  What does ‘genius’ mean anyway? There is no precise definition of what the term means.  And, have there been geniuses who have made great big splashes in life – but, who died penniless and/or victims of substance abuse (Nikola Tesla, Edgar Allan Poe, Oscar Wilde).
  • What about luck?  Sure, that can have an impact.  Yet, if you do some research on some of the wealthiest people – many of them didn’t have luck. Oftentimes, what they endured was a lot of work and major problems.
  • So, it must be hard work! Not exactly. Do you know a number of people who put in 50 to 60 hour weeks and still make a modest wage and don’t live the life they dreamed of? I do.

I give up then – what is it?  Well, I believe that success is started when you set goals based on what you want your life to be. But, you must be clear on what you want.  After all, whether you think you will achieve your goals (or won’t achieve them) – you are right!

Your thoughts are powerful.  We are where we are due to our own thoughts and the choices we make. This is the Law of Concentration and Attraction. Goals allow your brain to focus on the direction you wish to take.  And, that is what we must start doing.

People generally set their goals at the beginning of January.  Oftentimes, they are not even written down. Then, they put the goals in a proverbial ‘drawer’ and that’s the end of it.  They rarely revisit them to ensure that they are on track- or, if they need to be tweaked. Then they wonder why they get the same results year after year.

We are better than that, we want to improve our lives and the lives of those around us.

So, here is my list for successful goal setting.

  1. Think about where you want to go in life.  You need to be ‘future’ oriented.  It is so easy to blame the past for all the bad things in our lives – but, we all have had bad things happen.  But, just like the wake of a boat, it just tells you where you have been – not where you are going. We must take ownership of our future.
  2. Write down your goals in specific terms.  “I would like a nice car” or “I would like to lose weight” mean nothing to your brain.  Get specific! Also, write your goals in current terms, such as “I weigh 135 pounds” or “I have a college degree in Finance” (or whatever field you want). This way – you will feel like you have already achieved the goal in your mind. Did you know that only about 3% of adults have written goals?  That astounds me.
  3. Next, write down why you want to achieve the goal.  Yes – put it to paper. Make it compelling!
  4. Then, according to Tony Robbins – write down what would happen if you don’t achieve the goal.  Robbins uses a technique called ‘The Rocking Chair’. Imagine yourself 30 – 50 years from now and looking back on your life.  What would you lose out on if you didn’t make the goal?
  5. Now, figure out when you would like to achieve the goals. Your brain loves deadlines – it really does!  You may have to set mini-deadlines for a big goal.  But, put a plan together as to how and when you will achieve the goal.
  6. Look at your goals daily. Looking at the list daily will keep you aligned with your goals – and, according to Brian Tracy also you tend to become what you think about most of the time. If you have a lot of goals – you may need to prioritize them, but don’t drop lose sight of what you want to achieve.
  7. Take action everyday to put you closer to your goal.  It may be something small – but, consistent action is critical in moving you forward.
  8. What if you fail? Then, try another strategy! Thomas Edison failed more often than he succeeded – I think he did OK.  Remember, you learn from each failure.  And, personally, I’ve learned a lot.

Our lives can be incredible – or, we can travel the pathway of mediocrity. If I know you – I expect that you want to reach for the stars.  Let’s then start by being people of purpose and action.

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