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Tag: goal setting

Secret goals

The title of this blog post might have you think that maybe some goals should be kept secret. Or that there might already be some secret goals. Or that all goals are secret. Those who don’t have any goals at all may wonder what all the hoopla is about!

There is evidence that it is best to keep one’s goals (especially the big ones) secret.

An NYU study in 2009 found this. Pretty startling.

A lot of people love to toot their own horns, whether on social media or in real life, and whether for minor achievements, or major goals.

Why does keeping your goals a secret matter? This is what the study found. That telling others about your goals apparently creates an unconscious win – tricking our minds into thinking that we have already accomplished the goal.

An important goal would hence be to keep all future goals a secret. My lips are sealed ??

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Goal setting 2

In his book Principles: Life and Work, hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio says, “I learned that if you work hard and creatively, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want. Maturity is the ability to reject good alternatives in order to pursue even better ones.”

Like we discussed yesterday, it is important to know what we really want. Not what the neighbour’s son wants. Unfortunately, comparisons never stop these days – neither in real life, nor on social media.

But is knowing ourselves easy? It is probably the hardest question to answer. I didn’t say it. Thales of Miletus, one of the Seven Sages of Greece did – “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself.” Aristotle wasn’t far behind when he said “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”

One method mentioned in the previously referenced book Your Next Five Moves is to use 4 categories – Advancement, Individuality, Madness and Purpose. You can try out the Personality Assessment Quiz here and see what bucket you fall under.

More than anything, once a goal has been set, it is important to be mentally free from it. Goals are for working, not for worrying. If we enjoy the work, the goal will be achieved automatically – sooner than later.

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Goal setting 1

Goal-setting is an important aspect of success. “Hitch your wagon to the stars” as my Guru would say. It is essential to have lofty goals, otherwise we will remain as we are, with all our potential remaining just that, never seeing the light of day.

Then there are some who argue against having goals. Because these serve as limits to your brain, they say. “Why have the goal of founding a billion dollar company when you are perhaps capable of founding a trillion dollar company?” Well, even a trillion must pass through a billion first, so it’d be better to start with the billion goal and then recalibrate as necessary.

The challenge many of us face with goal setting is that we do not know where to start. We try to focus on questions such as “How much money should I have by the time I’m 40”, or “How many Boards should I be on before I’m 60” and so on. These aren’t bad ways to come up with goals. But as I’ve been reading in an interesting book called Your Next Five Moves by Patrick Bet-David, he suggests that we need to address ourselves first.

What do we want? No, not even we. More like you, or me, each one of us individually. What is most important to you? Do you want a stable job with a US$ 150,000 pay check? Or do you want a million dollar salary with a big fat bonus? Or do you want to own 25% of a unicorn start-up? Do you want to spend time with your wife and kids every day? Or do you want to consistently clock 120-hour weeks? Or maybe you want to balance work and your social service activities?

Each one of us is built differently, with unique potential. So broad-brushing goals will not work. It is hence important to honestly arrive at our own goals based on a) what we truly want, and b) how much we are prepared to work for it (and not what the neighbour wants or his son has achieved). More tomorrow!

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