The Thursday Thesis - 15/03/2018
Last week I invited you to look at the way that everything boils down to One Good Reason.
Logically, this week I’d ask you to consider having a thousand Good Reasons.
I’m not being contrary or wilfully difficult – though I am very good at that, too.
No, what I’m talking about is having your One Good Reason, and setting it atop a thousand smaller Good Reasons – usually called goals - that mark out your path, way-mark your journey, provide reminders and spurs to compel you to act in pursuit of that ultimate One Good Reason.
How does that sound?
You see, here’s what I’ve learned about goals: they are powerful and compelling when they are the right reasons; and they are “meh!” when they are not important to us.
The more goals - reasons to act - you have, and the more powerful they are, the more likely you are to take action to capture that goal.
Makes sense doesn’t it?
So why do so many people not have a goal: and even fewer have definite multiple goals?
Beyond the vaguest of half-arsed wishes, like “I want to be happy”, very few people have goals at all.
And let’s face it, if your wishy-washy wish is to “be happy”, how are you going to get there, and how will you know when you’ve achieved that?
What if you had 1000 definite, written-down goals for your life?
And what if every one of those 1000 goals led you along an inevitable path to your One Good Reason?
How would that feel?
Imagine yourself, every day, taking action designed to bring your own dreams to life – how would you feel about the day ahead of you?
Imagine having a plan for your own life; a plan that transported you toward becoming the sort of person you’d most like to meet?
Tragically, most people spend more time planning their summer holidays than they ever do planning their lives.
And most people spend more time planning their wedding than they do planning their married life.
So there’s a game for us to play this week, all about figuring out what we want and how it supports our One Good Reason – the one thing that gives us fire in the belly, makes us glow and makes us GO!
Grab yourself a notebook and pen, because research indicates that writing by hand causes us to re-process information and learn more deeply.
Here we go, then.
Make a list of everything you want. It doesn’t matter if what you want is material, spiritual, financial, animal, mineral or vegetable!
Don’t edit yourself or judge whether you’re right to want what you want. There is no good or bad, there is only what you want.
Keep going until you have at least 100 things on your list, and keep the list open so you can add anything else that presents itself as we play the rest of the game.
Now, look down the list again and add a tag to each line, indicating which area of your life each goal fits into. The tags I use are
Let’s suppose that your goal was to finish writing the first draft of your book, telling the story of a childhood incident.
At the top of column 1 you’d write “When I complete my first draft, I will enjoy...” and list all of the good things that will happen when you achieve your goal.
At the top of column 2 you’d write “When I complete my first draft, I will not suffer...” and list all of the bad things that completing your goal will prevent.
At the top of column 3, write “If I fail to complete my first draft, I will be unable to enjoy...” and start listing all the positive things which may never happen if you fail to achieve your goal.
And At the top of column 4 write “If I don’t complete my first draft, I will be forced to accept...” and list all the negative outcomes that could happen if you do not achieve your goal.
When you spend time doing this, you’ll have over a thousand good reasons to capture your goals.
Only column 1 is built on the anticipated pleasure of your positive outcomes, whilst columns 2, 3 and 4 are based on the fear of negative consequences.
Fear and pain will get you moving much more effectively than anticipation of pleasure.
That’s what makes this goal-setting routine so powerful: it’s more than a list of what you want – it’s a list of the horrors you’ll have to endure if you don’t get what you want.
© Neil Cowmeadow 2018
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