Friday, April 28, 2023

Core beliefs for effective goal-setting and achievement

 Last week, we covered my approach to determining my goals. 

This week, I would like to cover the core beliefs that one needs to be able to trust my goal-setting process and goal-achievement system. 

The first belief is that the seed doesn’t look like the fruit. 

On my journey to better outcomes, I’ve met people who want to eat a baked pie. Don’t we all? But when I tell them to take some ingredients, process it, and bake it in an oven and out comes a pie, they look at me in disbelief. The flour looks nothing like the pie they want. So they don’t do it. 

To use a biblical saying, we must walk by faith, and not by sight.

The second belief is that the time will pass anyway.

Some people actually start but then they realize how far behind they are. And they decide not to keep going because they recognise it will take them 7-10 years to achieve their big dream. They decide that the price is too high to pay. They take their eyes off the prize. Someone offers them what appears to be a quicker route, and they pursue that. But it doesn’t get them there. What the short-cut actually does is that it steals even more time, and resources, and by the time they realize that, they have even less courage to embark on a 10-year journey. But achievers don’t think that way. Achievers know that the ten years will pass, and if they start today, in ten years, they will be farther ahead than the person who went looking for the quick fixes. 

The third belief is that results escalate towards the end.

This is similar to Jim Collins’ flywheel concept. At the beginning of any endeavor, you put in lots of effort and see minimal results. The majority of people get discouraged by the small results and give up. But for those who persist, the results increase exponentially over time. By the time people start to notice the results, years have passed. 

The fourth belief is that there is a distinction between true progress and appearing to win.

It is a natural human desire to appear successful. But achievers are more committed to truly being successful, not just appearing to win. By way of illustration, I went to see a fifth grade art work displayed by students. All but one were finished. I asked about the student whose work was not completed. The teacher explained that the others had traced their work. The incomplete work had drawn without tracing. By choosing a different although more difficult process, the student whose work looked least impressive had covered the most ground in terms of building capabilities. S/he had also learned that looking impressive is not the point. Being impressive is.

The fifth belief is that you can go back.

Let’s say your true desire was to study law but when you finished college, your grades weren’t good enough and you didn’t have confidence that you could pass  the law school entrance exams. So you didn’t even try. And now 10 years have passed. Most people will believe that it is too late now to pursue that desire. But the truth is that you can go back. This is akin to the Ghanaian concept: sankofa. In this context it would mean that you can go back, pick up the pieces, and do whatever you still desire to do. 

Thank you for reading this far. I hope at least one of these beliefs has challenged your own thinking. Next week, I’ll be back to teach why goals must be written down.

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