A reader requested me to write on setting goals. So, today, I am sharing my philosophy on goal setting. Let me begin with a little story:
On a gorgeous sunny day, under the soft winter sun, Mulla Nasrudin and his best friend were lying on the plush bed of green grass in a stately garden. They were enjoying the sun bath. Trees stood gracefully in an organized fashion as if forming a natural boundary of the garden, they were arching over the pathways. Blooming flowers of various hues made the place look like a Floriade. Bees were hopping from one flower to an another. Birds were unobtrusively tweeting and singing in the trees. Warm breeze caressed and massaged them as it traveled intermittently, as if playing hide and seek. It was peaceful and serene.
“Oh! How beautiful,” sighed Mulla. “Right now, I would not trade places with anybody for even a million dollars.”
“How about for a hundred million?” asked his friend heightening the appeal to insane levels.
“Nope. Not even for the combined wealth of the whole world would I give this up!”
“Well, how about three? I can give you three dollars right now to leave this place.”
“Hmm…Three? Alright, that’s different. Now you are talking real money,” said Mulla sitting up with the intention to move.
This anecdote underscores a beautiful message: your mind does not take even the most lucrative dreams seriously but it is willing to act on the tiniest of real possibilities of rewards, of gains. You eat real food, you work real jobs, you wear real clothes, why not have real goals? Reality does not always mean that you need to aim low, it means you genuinely believe it to be practical.
1. Believe in your goals
The most important thing about goals is that you must genuinely believe in them. It should be a bite size piece cut out of reality and not a monstrous meal snatched from the fangs of day-dreaming. There is a fundamental difference between dreaming and goal setting. Your conscious mind will only allow you to believe in what you consider real. It has evolved that way. However mythical your concept, your reality or your goal may be for the whole world, if you believe it to be real, you can turn it into your goal. Whatever you can work towards, can be your goal.
Your reality is dependent on your beliefs, commitment, efforts and mindset. Imagine a mango hanging five feet above you. You know you can jump two feet comfortably and if you stretch your arm, you can easily reach four feet. You only have to jump a little harder and stretch more to gain that extra one feet. Your mind believes it to be attainable. It is based on your belief, your reality that you may attempt to jump. The same mango when twenty feet high, will discourage you to even try. Aiming for a mango at twenty feet is not unrealistic or unattainable, especially if you are serious about getting it. However, jumping alone will not accomplish it. You will require some sort of paraphernalia, perhaps a slingshot, a stone, or a ladder and so forth. Your conscious mind automatically comes up with ideas if it believes in your goal.
2. Work towards your goals
Dreams are not something you work towards, you just have them. Goal is what you are willing to work for. You have probably heard about SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific (what), Measurable (how much), Attainable (how), Realistic and Timed (when). I reiterate: your mind will only allow you to put a serious effort towards what you truly believe to be a real goal. Perhaps having a SMART goal is not enough, it should be SMARTER where E is for Evaluate and R, Realign. If you are prepared to work towards your goals, you have much greater chance of attaining them. Sometimes, they say, it is all about being at the right place at the right time. If you are persistent, your chances of ending up at the right place at the right time go up significantly. Probability of miracles in your life go up, fortune starts to favor you. Be patient and be persistent. Be determined and be disciplined. Results will certainly come through. Evaluate your goals and realign if necessary.
Dreams are many, but goals are those dreams that you believe to be real, feasible, those dreams that you prioritize. Imagine a kid in a candy store, she wants to have everything. But she must pick and choose based on what all is allowed or affordable. From the store of your dreams, pick the ones you cannot be without. Prioritize your goals and align your actions. Achieving each goal requires time and efforts. If you can be infinitely patient and eternally persistent, you can attain even the most extraordinary goals. You can dream as big as you like, especially if it helps you stay motivated, but you need to be realistic about your goals if you are serious about their attainment. First you define your goals and then they define you.
Do you know your greatest strength in attaining your goals? Your habits. And your greatest weakness? Your habits. Discipline is a habit, so is indiscipline. Read the last three posts on attraction, psychic imprints and erasing them to form the right habits and achieve the desired results.
Spend time understanding yourself before you define yourself. If you are patient enough to analyse yourself, you will be potent enough to elevate yourself.
Take it easy. Not for granted.