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I am really certain what my goal is.

Thursday 27th October 2022

The Goal Setting Enigma

You are really certain what your goal is? Or do you just think you are? My last blog ended with a few words about reality and illusion, and very blurry area in between.

Dr. Sigmund Freud knew a bit about how our brains work and offered some guarded encouragement:

“Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces.”

My book Get Lucky Now! is about how to get what you want the easy way. Setting the right type of goals is the foundation that everything else is built upon. This blog continues the series of excerpts from Get Lucky Now.

Do you ever feel that your life is missing something crucial, but you can’t put your finger exactly on what it is? Like an irritating itch that won’t go away?

You look at others enviously as they appear to achieve so much more, with apparently a lot less effort.

“What are they doing that I’m not?” You wonder why so many doors seem closed to you, and why the good things you want in your life are so elusive. Now it is time to say good-bye to this frustration and discover how to make things happen for you the easy way.

Have you ever found yourself asking these types of questions, too?

  • Will Johnny gain a place at the best school in our area?
  • Will Dave win the promotion he deserves so much?
  • Will Debbie graduate with good grades?
  • How successful will my favourite sports team or player be this season?
  • How long will it take me to become pregnant?
  • How can I meet my increased sales target this year?

These are the wrong questions

Most of these questions will probably be very familiar to you, because they are our modern preoccupations, or even obsessions. No matter how often you ask yourself these questions, it will not change the answers.

Worse, just asking these questions will add to your frustration. These questions will drain away your precious energy and your thoughts that could be used far more productively elsewhere in your life.

It is now time for me to reveal the first secret of getting lucky. It is also time for you to stop asking these questions, lose your frustration, and discover how to make things happen for you the easy way. From now on, just push at the open doors. I will explain what I mean by this in a moment. But first, let me shake your foundations a little.

The harder you work, the more successful you will be

From an early age, you will have been told that the harder you work, the more successful you will be. The sooner you can throw away this well-intentioned but mistaken advice, the sooner you will start to live the life you deserve.

There are countless examples to demonstrate that the more you strive for success, the more elusive it becomes. You will probably remember times in your life when you just wanted something so badly that you could barely think about anything else.

Much more important is taking one moment at a time to stay in the present. The result is peak performance, also known as being in “the zone” or “flow.” This is what this book is about—how to attract more of what you want, with a lot less stress; not to be dragged back by the past or worry about the future; and to just stay in the present so that you recognize the opportunities that surround you.

Businesses often set the wrong goals too

You might expect that the world of business would have found the keys to unlocking peak performance in employees and managers. Sadly, many companies have no clue. Indeed, not for the first time in history, they have it completely wrong.

Would the banking crisis have happened if employees had been encouraged to do the best job they could each day rather than devising complex future strategies that took them further away from what their customers wanted? Perhaps not, but at least their managers might have heard the warning bells earlier.

The banks are just one of many examples. This obsession with results infects schools, hospitals, corporations, sports teams, and many other organisations. It infects each of us to varying degrees, too.

How often have you heard people say, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it?” I spent many years reciting this mantra. Worse, I even believed it, but now I understand its limitations. I hope I can persuade you of its limitations, too.

Take one step at a time

Unfortunately, society is far less concerned with the more important subject of our day-to-day activities. This is a disastrous error, because how we choose to spend each minute of each day is one of the few things in life that we can control. Such moments form the building blocks that can shape our futures and our successes. Valuing these moments allows us to “stay in the present.”

The truth is that the more you measure things—especially results—the more elusive they become. I am not for a moment saying that results are not important. They are, but not when considered in isolation. Far more important are the small steps you take every day that produce these results.

Small steps are the foundation of the Japanese business model known as kaizen. Take these little steps in the right direction and at the right time, and your eventual success is guaranteed. Just push at the open doors as they manifest, and ignore the closed ones. Leave them for others who might them more suitable.

Setting authentic goals is one of the techniques included in my NLP coaching programs and more information can be found here – https://drstephensimpson.com/techniques/nlp/

In the next blog we will get to know ourselves quite a lot better because that’s where we find wisdom.