I was not the most intelligent kid in school. I was not the smartest kid in class. I was not the best student ever.
One thing I am sure of is I am the most ambitious person you can ever meet. As it turned out a few years after graduation I began to see the difference of the course of my career compared to all my peers. The differentiator was not I.Q. for mine was way behind some of my super genius peers. The biggest difference was the goals I set to myself compared to the goals they set to themselves.
One thing that puzzles me is why people do not set goals? Three things come into mind:
Focus – A lot of people do not know what they want. Today their focus is to build this kind of skill set, tomorrow their focus shift to another interest. How can you set goals if you are constantly changing your interests? Unless your focus is to be a jack-of-all-trades type of person this would not do.
Awareness – How important is setting goals? Why do I need to set goals? What are the benefits of setting goals? We should realize that setting goals helps us decide or even drives our daily decisions. By being aware of the importance of this mantra we should be able to make decisions that are aligned to our specific goals. We become closer to achieve our dreams by constantly aligning ourselves to our goals.
Failure – People are afraid to fail. The drama, emotional investment, the resources put into your goals makes it more frustrating when failure seems to lurk around.
Where do I begin?
The best place to begin is you. According to Philippine Senator Manny Villar (One of Forbes richest Billionaires) people at a young age wants to change the world. As they grow old the area of change they would want becomes smaller until they end up wanting to change themselves when they reach the age of 40. This is way too late. One moral lesson we have to keep in mind is before we are able to change the world we should be able to change ourselves. “I” is where we need to begin. We should take charge of ourselves for us to take charge of situations and others as well.
What Prevents us from taking Charge?
Back in high school during one of our daily morning ceremonies; a Salesian priest was giving advice on the importance of emotional quotient. He went on by saying that based on studies conducted all over the world; the most successful people are those with higher emotional quotient rather than higher intelligence quotient.
What makes people emotionally weak?
Art of the Start – It takes one burst of negative feeling to trigger a prolonged negative ripple in a person. When we start to become negative about something we tend to justify and defend that feeling by hanging on to it way too long. For example. If we start to rant about our paycheck to our officemates, we end up saying our rants over and over again. Another example is when we engage in small petty fights with someone special. Pride would not allow us to smile after being a baby whiner for a period of time. Instead on focusing on action items for improving our outlook and attitude, we end up less productive.
Hypersensitivity – I have worked with so many people who are way too sensitive. This becomes increasingly annoying especially on situations when constructive criticism is a necessity for the team to achieve its goals. One of the common problems we encounter is how we let our emotional perspective get in the way of our logical reasoning. The world is full of negative people. The sooner we become accustomed to these types of people the better we are able to cope and logically act on situations.
Owning – When I was in grade school I missed an intramural soccer practice that prompted me to call my classmate who had the same fate. He simply answered — I will suffer the consequences of my actions. I was stunned upon hearing that. It is best not to finger point anyone for your failure. You are the owner of your destiny. Take full responsibility of your actions.
I cannot stress this enough. Visionaries create the world we live in. We should learn to look years ahead of us. See where you will be 2 years, 5 years, 10 years or even until retirement. Ask yourself this simple question — If I had the resources where and what will I be doing years from now? Now ask yourself — What will it require of me to get the necessary resources for me to reach my goals? By asking and reflecting on these two simple questions you will be able to slowly see things in a different perspective. Your actions, decisions, and the time you spend should always be aligned to your goal.
Finding your Purpose
Knowing your purpose in life is one mystery most people find difficult to answer. Some people find their purpose after certain events in their life, experiences or after being enlightened by mentors or coaches. Usually your purpose in life is aligned to your values and beliefs that drive your expectations and actions through your attitude.
What if the values are not for the common good?
This is a dilemma found in some people who have the misfortune of being raised in a not so good environment. For example, if your values are related to theft normally you become a thief. Similar to the movie entrapment where Catherine was a thief following in the footsteps of her father. On the contrary having a not so good values could be channeled in such a way that your purpose would still be for the common good. Instead of becoming a thief, you could become the best thief buster cop in the metropolis.
Who Am I?
You are who you think you are. It has been said that you become the person you spend most of your time thinking of becoming. This in itself is true since most of the time your subconscious mind guides and instructs you to act in a manner that will align you to where you want to go.
One Step At A Time
It is important that you focus on one of your goals, work on it until you have reached success. You cannot do everything at the same time. The last thing you need is to spread yourself thin across all other goals you have. Within your goal you should break it down into smaller steps and do things one at a time. By focusing on a particular goal you get to focus all your energies on that goal and when you become successful on it will give you a new found flexibility of power. By having more power, you could have the resources to diversify yourself on other goals and ambitions you have.
What are the Guidelines on Goal Setting?
Reality bites. We also have to remember that we live in a world of reality. First thing, I ask myself about the probability of success whenever I am going after a particular goal. Yes I know, one of my major mantra says — “Impossible Is Nothing”. This mantra has its limits though. You could not possibly aim of going to Pluto or even landing on planet Mercury. Be realistic and differentiate between something that is extremely difficult to achieve as oppose to impossible to achieve.
Another important factor to think about is your personal likeness to the goal. I do not go after a goal unless I want it bad enough. Or better yet, I go after goals that I really, really, really feel strongly about. The goals you set to yourself should also be aligned and related to your other goals.
I had a friend who took up computer science in college and nursing after that. That in my opinion is pretty lame and would not do him any good. On the contrary, another friend of mine took up computer science in college and Japanese class afterwards. These two things may not be related but come to think of it learning Japanese would enable you to understand the complex technology of the Japanese that could help you improve your career. True enough, when people where chosen for a major I.T. project, he was the team’s first choice given his understanding of the language and computer skills.
What are the Tools I could use to define my Goals?
A simple spreadsheet would do. You can divide your goals as high, medium and low. For each category, list down each goals you have including the time frame for achieving them. You can put other columns such as “Is Achieved?”, “Is On Time?”, and “Date of Accomplishment” to help you list and keep track of your goals.
Power of the Mind
I was asked by a music teacher before on what made good singers great? The voice? Wrong answer. He told me that a musician is as great as his listening skills and his listening skills is as great as his mind. Our outlook, beliefs and perception is what drives and guides us on a day to day basis.
Ask yourself — Is my mind conditioned to win?
For us to win we should translate what are mind tells us to do base on our perceptions and beliefs on a day to day basis. Our mindset should always be in winning mode no matter what the world tells us.
One great advice I got from a book is this — “All your life people will try to take away your achievements, Never allow yourself take it away from you”.
If people rejects and tells us we are no good individuals then let them think what they want to think. Always remain firm that you have the power to achieve and win. Larry Ellison (one of the founders of Oracle and one of the richest men in the world) was told he would not amount to anything by his uncle. He did not let that change his outlook instead he went on to create one of the most powerful software companies in the world.
Start from Scratch
How many times have you heard this before? In going after a goal you would not always find yourself lucky enough to start at the middle. Unless you were born from a billionaire parent, prepare to start from scratch. Do not let the gigantic goals penetrate your armored goals and ambitions. Instead of feeling the enormous task ahead of starting from ground zero; think and feel excited on how sweet success is going to be having started from nothing. Again, this is all about your attitude.
The Race is called Marathon
Do not allow bumps and small failure to push a spear through your armor. Always keep in mind that the race is a Marathon. It is long and tiresome. It is long but consistent. It is long and challenging. For every failure you encounter always think that it is a long, long race that you can adjust, learn and improve on in order to win. Be strong and resilient. Never start things and quit at the middle unless absolutely necessary. Evaluate yourself through checkpoints. Like in a race where every full circle is signaled by waving people or by a flag reminding us where we are and how we are doing. I repeat: Never, never give up. Thomas Edison could have failed thousands times before making a light bulb work; instead he declared thousands of solutions how not to make a light bulb work.
Think of the light at the end of the tunnel for which you will without any doubt accomplish and triumph.