Goals Are Bulls#*@

According to Inc. and Forbes, about 92% of people DO NOT ACHIEVE their GOALS.  This leads to copious amounts of tools, articles, and apps that you can buy, read, or download that will supposedly put you in the 8% of successful people who theoretically achieve their goals.  With that in mind, I have a few questions:

  • Are the 8% happier, more successful, or more fulfilled simply because they achieved their goals?
  • Were their goals meaningful?
  • How were they able to achieve their goals?

They certainly did not achieve their goals because they were more focused, passionate, or dedicated. This is what we like to believe because we like the “superman” theory of performance.  We are drawn to believe that if we only “try harder” or “want it more” then it will happen and that is absolutely false.  Sadly we not only tell ourselves this self defeating bulls*&# but we also share it with our peers and, worse yet, our kids.

What really drives results are systems or processes that assist us in overcoming our inherent weakness and lack of self-discipline.  Ever heard these aphorisms:

  • 80% of success is showing up
  • One of the things young people always ask me about is what is the secret to success. The secret is there is no secret. It’s the basics. Blocking and tackling.
  • There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
  • The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.

Goals are like opinions, everyone has them.  We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world so our goals can and will change during the course of a year. What shouldn’t change is the system we develop to ensure we are doing the right things each and every day.  To make progress, we need a process.  We need to manage our activities and focus on only those that are essential and aligned with who we are and what we wish to accomplish.  Show me a person who holds themselves accountable for doing the right things each and every day, and I will show you a person who is making progress towards their “goals”.

If you don’t believe me, check out this insightful piece of writing from Scott Adams or this one from James Clear

My number is 10,950…what’s yours?