The Road to Personal Growth is Through Setting Goals
The Best Time to Set Goals Was Yesterday, The Second Best Time is Now!
Where are you going?
Where do you want to go?
Many people are unable to answer these questions because they’ve never thought about them. They get up and go about their lives like they have no choice about what they do. They just float down the river of life and go wherever the current takes them. That will not get us where we want to go, assuming we even know where that is.
Many people don’t have goals. This may be hard to believe, but it’s true. Many of my students didn’t have any goals beyond graduating and getting whatever job they could get right away. In particular, few people have written goals. I find that putting my goals in writing is very powerful. It makes a deeper impression on my mind and greatly increases the chance that I will accomplish them.
Would you get in your car and start to drive with no end point in mind? Would a pilot fly a plane with no destination in mind? If so, how would the driver or the pilot know when the trip was complete?
Goals are essential to success.
People are often afraid to set goals because they think they won’t reach them or that if they don’t set goals, they can’t fail to achieve them. This is not true. It is better to have a high goal and not quite make it than to have no goal at all. Goals are not permanent; they change as we go through life. It’s important to set goals and review them periodically – I recommend doing so at least once a year. Some people review their goals monthly, weekly, or even daily.
When I was a university professor, some of my students would not set goals for fear of setting the wrong ones. They felt their lives might be ruined if they didn’t set the right goals. An imperfect goal is better than no goal at all. With a goal, we will get moving forward. We may quickly see that we really want to go in another direction, but goals can easily be adjusted. At least we are on our way. Many students started university with one degree or career in mind but changed during their time at college to a different degree program because they had better information than when they started.
The Role of Goals
Goals have played a major role in my own success. At age eighteen, my only goal was to leave an unhappy home. Going to college was the solution, but I had no idea of where that would lead me except out of where I was. Later, I got married, had a child, and then got divorced. At that point I thought that my life was pretty much over. But after hearing someone talk about goals, I set a goal to get my MBA at a local college. I never got that degree from that college but eventually got my MBA from another college. However, because I had started thinking of what I wanted and where I wanted to go, my life really got kick-started. Once I started the MBA program, I started to think about other things that I wanted in life.
- Where did I want to live? I discovered that I wanted to live in California and in particular the San Francisco Bay area. I got a job in Hayward, California, and ended up living in the area for twenty-five years.
- What did I want to do? I had always felt that my purpose was to teach, so I became a professor and made that my career.
- Where did I want to travel? I found that I had many dreams of traveling, and I’ve since fulfilled many of them. I love Australia and have taken two trips there. I love tropical islands and I’ve spent many vacations on islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean.
- What kind of hobbies would I like? I realized that I loved to hike, mountain bike, sail, play golf, explore, travel and more.
Once we set goals and get going, we will just keep expanding our world and our lives.
Let’s look at the “Corridor Principle”, which is really important as we pursue our goals. If we sit at home waiting until the right opportunity comes along, it may never happen, or if it does, we may not recognize it. On the other hand, if we set goals and get started, all kinds of opportunities arise that we would never have seen if we weren’t taking action to pursue goals.
This is called the “Corridor Principle” because setting goals is like a corridor in a large building: when we stand at the end of the corridor, we don’t see all the doors down the hall. However, when we start down the corridor we discover that there are many doors of opportunity along the way. If we don’t start down the hallway, we will never get to the doors. But as we continue down the hallway, we will discover many doors leading to many wonderful opportunities.
This is an excerpt from Bruce’s book “Attitude Determines Destiny”.
As a motivational speaker, he conducts seminars and workshops based upon the ideas in his book. He entertains and inspires audiences wherever he goes.