Are Goals Important?
Everybody seems to be talking about goals these days, but what is the big deal with goals anyway?
Imagine you walk up to a train station and ask the ticket officer for a ticket. She asks you for what destination and you say “I don’t know. Just give me a ticket for anywhere.” Chances are you will get a ticket to nowhere. The funny thing is that if you aim at nothing you will actually end up achieving it with great success!
Without goals you just drift with the currents of life without any direction. Goals on the other hand give you direction, acting like your lighthouse. There will be some rough waters along the way but the lighthouse will keep you afloat, focused towards what you want to achieve, constantly unlocking your potential, increasing your confidence, developing your capabilities and keeping you motivated.
When you ask successful people what they think of most of the time, their usual answer is “what they want” and “how to get it.”
Have you notice how many people talk about what they don’t want? Ask any unhappy person what they want and you will get a long list of what they don’t want or maybe some vague answer like “I want to be rich.”
But focusing on what you don’t want will only bring those things you don’t want to fruition. What do you think of, if I ask you not to think of a pink elephant right now? Yes I know, you do think of a pink elephant! That’s how the mind works.
So are goals important? If you want to just drift along in life, not really. If you want to have a fulfilling, happy & successful life, then yes.
And if you are still not convinced of the importance for goals this Harvard case study* will definitely do the trick:
The Harvard MBA graduates of 1979 were asked if they had set clear, written goals for their future and if they had made plans to accomplish them. Their answers were:
- 3% had written goals and plans
- 13% had goals, but not in writing
- 84% had no specific goals at all
Fast forward 10 years and in 1989 those same graduates were interviewed again with the following survey results:
- the 13% that had goals but not in writing where earning on average twice as much as the 84% that had no goals at all.
- the 3% that had clear, written goals were earning on average ten times as much as the rest of the 97% all together!
And for the doubters out there that might respond with “money is not my number one priority,” the answer is that this case study might be focusing on financial goals but it illustrates the power of goal setting. ie if I point to the moon will you be looking at my finger or the moon?
Moving Forward with Goal setting:
- Notice how you talk & what you focus on: Do you know what you want? How much of your time do you spend focusing on what you want and how to get it?
- Take time to start planning your future: Divide a piece of paper in three and write down what you want to Be, Have & Do.
- Take immediate & continuous action: what is one thing you could do right now to move you closer to what you want to be, have & do?
*From the book “What They Don’t Teach You In The Harvard Business School” Mark McCormack