Thursday, October 7, 2010

Understanding Goal Setting

As far back as 1935, motivation and incentive learning has been studied. Cecil Alec Mace was a British philosopher and psychologist who studied how the type of goal influenced performance.[14] In the 1950’s, John W. Atkinson took an analytical view in his edited work, Motives in fantasy, action and society.[15] It wasn’t until the end of the 1980’s that industrial and organizational psychologists began studying goal setting from multiple directions.[16]

Simply put, goal setting is the act of picturing what you want with microscopic clarity. Unfortunately, most people do not obtain their goals because of one of two reasons.

1. They do not have clear goals.

2. They give up as soon as an obstacle gets in their way.

However, when you ask them what happened to their goal, they tend to blame everyone or everything other than themselves. The reverse of this is when this same person talks about another’s success. You know what they say, “He was lucky.”

Highly effective people do not believe in luck when it comes to success. Highly effective people make thousands of well thought out decisions, develop strategies, follow plans, and stick to their goals. Then, years later, their brother-in-law says about them, “That Bob, he sure is damn lucky!”

What I have noticed is that in America opportunity, not only knocks, it practically bashes down the door trying to get attention. When opportunity finally does get someone’s attention, they can’t figure out how to open the door, or if they do get the door open, they are uncertain about what to do next. They stand in the doorway looking opportunity right in the face and don’t know what they are gazing upon.

The problem is that most people don’t know that opportunity shows up in the rough. They stand at the door, looking at this ragamuffin and converse with it:

Opportunity: Hi goal seeker, I’m glad you found me.

Goal seeker: Are you a hobo or something?

Opportunity: No, I’m opportunity and I came a-knocking.

Goal seeker: No seriously, are you homeless? Destitute?

Opportunity: No, I’m not kidding, I’m opportunity.

Goal seeker: You can’t be opportunity!

Opportunity: Why not?

Goal seeker: Well, nothing personal, but you don’t look like you have two nickels to rub together, let alone the millions I’m seeking. You look… well kind of like a ragamuffin.

Opportunity: What did you expect me to look like?

Goal seeker: Like opportunity, all spit shined, with jewels and maybe a tux.

Opportunity: Oh, I see. I think you have me confused with luck.

Goal seeker: Luck?

Opportunity: Oh yes indeed, I always show up in work clothes and you have to provide your own luck. When I show up, I’m a diamond in the rough. You have to shape me, grind me, polish me, nurture me, and love me.

This is a little known fact; opportunity knocks many times in a lifetime. You have to notice the knocking and open the door. And when you open the door, expect opportunity to be wearing work clothes. Opportunity is a work in progress; you have to roll up your sleeves and progress.

Excerpted from my book: Change: How to Bring Real Change in Your Life

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