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  1. 1. Goals When you take a sneak peek into the lives of successful people, theprimary factor responsible for their upward career trajectory is a goal. Theirlives start and end with goals. They are simply crazy about their goals.Consequently, they are sitting pretty in life with tons of sublime self-confidence. The theme of this discussion is setting worthwhile, reachablegoals and shaking hands with success on a regular basis. Goals are the tools you will use to build a new life. You havecreated a vision like an architect. However, an architect does not build ahouse. It takes hammers, saws, nails, wood, and concrete and a step-by-stepplan to construct the house. Your goals become the tools that will make yourvision a reality. Observe large organizations, for instance. They lend credence to theidea of goal setting (it is the password for their business success). Anorganization appropriately delegates a variety of work among differentlevels of employees and lays down a respective time frame to achieve goals.Failing to attain these goals puts organizations in a real bind. For anorganization to be successful under the stewardship of Mr. “X,” theemployees need to be committed to their assigned goals. Collective effortscan only serve as a conduit for an organization’s growth. It is a team game,like Cricket, in which every player has to perform to secure a win for hiscountry. What I like most about successful organizations is that they do notwallow in self-righteousness. They keep setting higher goals in the form ofmore and more expansion. Many unsuccessful organizations make a tame viewing (no need tosugarcoat the reality of their failure) because their employees do not enjoythe working environment and feel stuck in stodgy jobs. They have nooverwhelming desire for excellence because they have no goals and theirorganization conducts business without planning for the future. Furthermore,their boss punctuates the need for productivity and increased turnover, butthe system in place, an old hat, is anathema for its employees. As ispredictable, these organizations soon get outpaced by their competitors. Yousee, having a vision for the future or a lack of it is a harbinger of things tocome.
  2. 2. “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, Stronger,”was the motto for the 2008 Olympic Games. Giving one’s best shot andstriving for personal excellence is a fail-safe recipe for success. Team USA’s complete dominance in the 400-m hurdles is theultimate example of that principle. Silver medalist Kerron Clement pinnedthe hope in the success of his team and even went on record saying that histeam would bag the gold, silver, and bronze medals. And guess what? Histeam did stark justice to his belief. We need to show respect for TeamUSA’s achievements (for taking the Olympic slogan to heart and bringingjoy to their fans). The good thing is that this is an idea that rises above theOlympic Games and is very much relevant to our everyday lives. Goals are like guiding forces: As long as you have a guiding force, youcan move toward your destination without much difficulty. It providesdirection for your plans and actions. The possibility of veering off-track andderailing into failure is eliminated. As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Theworld makes way for the man who knows where he is going.” Once the Mayor of Chicago, clad in a tuxedo, shirt with a bow tie, andblack pants, was traveling in a train. A conductor, as part of his duty, cameto him and asked “Excuse me sir, can you please show me your ticket?” TheMayor searched for it, obviously irritated, as the conductor stood by,waiting. Finally, the train official told the Mayor, “Never mind, sir, afterfinding your ticket you can simply mail it to the railroad. We have completefaith in you.” The Mayor replied, “Bullshit, I am not putting too muchemphasis on you getting my ticket. I just wanna know where I am going.” Goals are yardsticks: Goals help in reflecting on your progress or thelack of it. Had they not been reminding you where you are and what youshould be doing to get where you want to be, you would have been plumbbaffled. Combine your plans with day-to-day actions, and voila, you achieveyour goals. Jorge and Mikayla took a long flight to Asia on their honeymoontrip (they had paid for their holiday abroad in advance but had to pay asurcharge because of the devaluation of the pound). While they were on theplane, the screens that usually showed movies and preflight safetyinformation were used to project a large map of the world, which indicatedthe plane’s current position. As time went by, and the couple watched the
  3. 3. little plane on the screen make its way across the Pacific Ocean, they had avisual reminder of how much progress they were making. Goals draw out your sense of purpose: Do you know the purpose ofyour life, or are you just drifting in an unknown direction? A purpose is avision that facilitates what, when, and how you want to do a certain thing. Apurpose provides the directions to your future voyage and depending on ityou can invest your time, energy, money, and talent. Whoever moves aheadsingle-mindedly on his chosen path is sure to have success follow him.Though a lot of thorough planning and preparation are required to define thepurpose of life, it is well worth the time spent as nothing is more importantthan this self-improvement exercise. Even trees and animals have a purposeand so should you. The countdown to your progress and growth has alreadybegun. Most people do not live a purpose-driven life. You ask them whatthey are going to do tomorrow? They say, “I don’t know.” You ask themwhat they are going to do next year? They say, “whatever” or “let’s see whatcomes up.” A life without purpose has no meaning, and such an aimless lifecannot inspire anyone. People with a meaningless existence are not onlyunhappy themselves but also make others unhappy. Pulitzer Prize-winningwriter Katherine Anne Porter observed, “I am appalled at the aimlessness ofmost people’s lives. Fifty percent of people don’t pay any attention to wherethey are going. Forty percent are desultory and will go in any direction. Onlyten percent know what they want, and even all of them don’t go toward it.” Walt Disney’s purpose: “To make people happy.” Dr. R. Buckminster Fuller’s purpose: “Humanity’s comprehensivewelfare on spaceship earth.” Henry Ford’s purpose: “To mass produce, mass distribute, and have carsmass consumed.” Andrew Carnegie’s purpose: “To manufacture and market steel.” Mother Teresa’s purpose: “To care for and comfort the poor, sick, andneedy all over the world.”
  4. 4. Goals help modify your strategy: While researching for this book, Iinterviewed two groups of successful people and they had this to say: Thefirst group of people devised a particular plan of action to accomplish theirgoals but soon after realizing that the same strategy won’t work in othersituations, they changed their strategy. They went on rising higher in life.The second group of people were those whose success was a flash in the panand could not go the distance, merely because they were overbearing, hadshut their minds for alternatives, and lacking in attitude for positive change.Hence, their lives turned out to be ordinary. In short, they threw away theirsuccess, though not intentionally. Many people make a mistake when they keep flexibility on the fringeof goal setting. The vital point here is that some of the goals that we had setfive or ten years ago do not hold the same meaning anymore. Thus, it isnecessary to redefine them a little. There are no failures in goal setting—justadjustments to the process or to the level of the goal. Goal setting is yourservant, not your master. Reaching a goal should bring you real pleasure,satisfaction, and a sense of achievement. Are you willing to pay the price? Jared is a self-aggrandizing media mogul based in New York City (thecosmopolitan, financial capital of the world is also an international capital ofthe musical avant-garde and a hyper-kinetic city). He owns multimillion-dollar estates and golden parachutes. He has investments in the LondonStock Exchange and in the NASDAQ in the United States, as well asBarclays Bank in the United Kingdom. Success, fame, and recognition aresynonymous to Jared. He is in the sunset years of his career, but he is stillyoung at heart. One day he was invited to a cocktail party. Upon his arrival in aCadillac limousine, he was given a regal welcome by many of his friends aswell as his fans. He smiled at them, waved his hand, and said, “Thank you. Ilove you all.” Forty minutes into the party, the mogul was holding his horsd’oeuvre and cocktail in one hand while making animated conversation withthe other. This was the moment when one of his fans walked up to him andsaid, “Sir, I want to emulate you.”
  5. 5. The mogul gave him a cursory glance and replied, “Well, you cannotbecome like me.” The fan was somewhat taken aback, but this time, he replied morefirmly, “I most certainly will become like you.” The mogul, sensing the hurt he had caused to his fan’s fragile ego,explained what he really meant: “In life, there is nothing such as a freebie. Iam here today because I have been putting in effort to the tune of sixteenhours a day for the last forty long years to reach the place where I am today.Unwavering passion and single-mindedness toward work have served mewell.” Cleverest method to achieve goals Goal setting and goal achieving are two different kettles of fish, i.e.,there is a sharp division between the two. Suppose you have set goals butfailed to achieve any of them. What could be the major obstacle standing inyour way? The only simple, straightforward answer I can figure out is a lackof required motivation. Even if you were to say that “I set goals with allseriousness and still I didn’t get there!” then also I would say that your levelof motivation was not sufficiently high. Your motivation levels should makeyou constantly think about your short-term and long-term goals, even in thethroes of catastrophic situations. This way your motivation leads to actionsthat bring you hard-fought victories. As the success rate in your lifeincreases, so does the level of your motivation. In his teens, Stephen Spielberg started to watch movies for pleasure,and bingo, he was hooked. He decided to make movie making hisprofession. Today he is one of the most respected Hollywood directors,known for his larger-than-life portrayal of characters. His movies do nothave a déjà vu quality about them. Whoopi Goldberg fought tooth and nail to transform the negativesituations from her childhood into positive ones. Her strong, determinedattitude catapulted her to stardom. The entire world is bewitched by herbeauty. Just to digress a bit, the goal of retiring at 60 or 65 is ananachronism of a bygone era. Many celebrities are proving this point. They
  6. 6. have not passed the “sell-by” date in their profession and are still composmentis, which is always a good thing. Importance of written goalsAt Yale University, the graduating class of 1953 was surveyed, and one ofthe topics they were asked about was whether they had a set of specific,written goals. Only 3% of them responded that they had written down theirgoals. When they were interviewed 20 years later, the 3% who had engagedin goal-setting activity and had clearly written goals were more successful,and were worth more in terms of wealth than the other 97% put together.The same 3% also tended to have better health and relationships than theother 97%. Written goals acted as catalysts in their success. If you do not have written goals, your life can be likened to a shipwithout a rudder. You might move here and there with plenty of enthusiasm,but where is your last stop? If you ask a captain of any boat where his endpoint is, he will never say “Ah, some seaport on the Ivory Coast.” Thecaptain knows precisely the location of the seaport, and moreover knowsspecifically the distance the ship must sail, the arrival time of the ship, andthe quantity of fuel required. Successful people plan their lives by having (i ) One-month goals (short range): 1. 2. 3. 4. (i i ) One-year goals (medium range): 1.
  7. 7. 2. 3. 4. (iii) Lifetime goals (long range): 1. 2. 3. 4. Goals chartKind of Why to Possible Steps Advantages Dates Goalsgoals s et obstacles taken in achieving to accomplished these to these goals achieve goals? achieve these these goals: goals:(1 )Academicgoals(2 )Personalgoals(3 )Financialgoals(4) Careergoals………
  8. 8. Dreams and goals Goals are dreams with deadlines. This is an overly simplistic view. Agoal with deadlines means there is a fixed time to achieve your dreams. Forexample, you have a dream of learning to play the piano, and you giveyourself a 10-month deadline for this. When the 11th month comes, you areno longer an amateur and do not plonk away on the piano. The mastery overyour craft helps you to give a competent performance. It has now becomeyour “home ground.” There is a wise saying, “A man without dreams is like a bird withoutwings.” Just as wings are essential for a bird to fly and consequently, for abird to live, dreams are essential for a person. Note: It is of utmost importance to continue freshening up the dream,connecting to it, to make sure it does not wither into the background andfade into oblivion. Dreams need to be closely monitored all the time andgiven some energy. Ignacio spoke to one of the Sherpa guides from Nepal who helpclimbers reach the top of Mount Everest. “Why do you do it?” Ignacio asked. “To help others do something they cannot do on their own,”answered the guide. “But, it is a bone-crushing experience. Correct me if I amwrong,” said Ignacio. “Why do you insist on taking people to the top of themountain?” The guide smiled and said, “Well, you have never been to thetop, and so you do not know how it feels.” The main thrust of this discussion is: Going to the top takes a dreamand a strong commitment. The greater the journey, the more committed youhave to be to take it. Life is too short to not follow your dreams. Someday your life willnear its end, and all you will be able to do is look backwards. You canreflect with fondness or repentance. Those who dream, act on their goals andlive a life of their choice. They have plenty of reasons to celebrate. Their
  9. 9. hearts swell with pride. Surely, they have left a rich legacy for succeedinggenerations. Set your own goals Completely convince yourself that what you are thinking are actuallythe goals you want to achieve (I like to think of these as guiltless goals).Many times we are externally driven and set the goals according to theexpectations of parents, a spouse, or friends. This is a wrong approach, asyou’ll not get the true satisfaction of having achieved your own goals. For the purpose of improving their financial standards a great deal,many people invest their hard-earned money in market shares. There isabsolutely nothing wrong with aspiring for bigger and better things, but theway these people go about it is “dopey.” Sadly, most investors assume thatmaking money from stocks is simply a case of buying them. Hence, theylisten to other people, who are considered to be more expert and moreexperienced than them. They take advice from brokers, authors of marketnewsletters, financial journalists, economic forecasters, etc. (Can theypredict market gyrations?) Well, taking the financial advice of others rarelyworks. Many a time, a person buys the stocks, and the result ends up as aloss (it is impossible to undo the damage caused by a tailspin in stockprices). This results in a fit of frustration. Hit yourself over the head and beon your guard so as to not ask yourself this question, “Why do thesedisasters always happen to me?” Financial tips (1) Do not be penny wise and pound foolish. (2) Search out information about different investment strategies such as mutual funds, stocks, IRA’s, and many other personal investments. (3) Create savings by placing 10% or 15% of your paycheck in a savings account. This way, you can parlay some small investments into a large fortune. (4) Cut your coat according to your cloth. Never get into wildcat ventures.
  10. 10. (5) Watch CNBC—a channel that runs stock tickers across the bottom and top of the screen, and also gives more detailed stock information along one side of the screen. Unrealistic goals Before setting any goal, ask yourself this fundamental question: “Will I be able to achieve the goal I have set for myself?” You should set your goal within your reach. It should not be unrealistic or obscure. Consider this example: Arturo went to see his psychiatrist friend, Nora, because he was feeling dissatisfied with his life. “How are things?” she asked. “I’m not having a good time,” he replied. She responded, “What do you consider to be a good time?” He explained, “A good time is when I build architectural icons similar to digitally designed structures like Herzog and de Meuron’s Olympic Stadium and Rem Koolhaas’s China Central Television headquarters in Beijing, when I win five Grammy awards for my first music album, own a plot of ground on the moon, when my books become as successful as the Harry Potter series, and when I visit Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth.” Indeed, such outlandish goals had pulled Arturo down. He had set impracticable objectives for himself, and when he did not reach these unfeasible objectives, he felt chagrined. His ignorance about how to establish the proper level of a goal took my breath away. Setting yourself unrealistic goals is the equivalent of picking a fist fightwith a professional boxer twice your size. There is only going to be oneoutcome. What’s uncertain is just how badly you’ll be hurt. Performance goals vs. outcome goals On this topic, a metaphorical ocean exists between my betrothed (aclotheshorse) and me. She vouches for “outcome goals,” and I believe“performance goals” are the best. Let’s see who is right and why… A marquee athlete has set an outcome goal to secure a gold medal forhis country. In a photo finish he comes in second. The situation becomesgalling to him. He even refuses to accept the fact that he has to contend witha silver medal. Conversely, if an athlete sets a performance goal of achieving
  11. 11. a particular time (say, to run 100 m in 12.10 seconds), then his chances ofachieving the goal soar, resulting in a concomitant increase in self-confidence. The athlete has even greater control over accomplishing his goalif he focuses on running using the correct form, driving his knees throughthe entire race. This performance goal eventually gives the athlete morecontrol over his performance. When you establish a goal and fail to achieve it, it completelydemoralizes you, strangles your thinking, and results in a feeling of failure.The causes of failure are beyond your control. The verdict is clear now—setperformance, not outcome goals. I proved to be right. How goals and values go hand in hand Because I consider myself to be a good raconteur, let me tell Edberg’sstory. Edberg was a database administrator. He had a tangible career goal inmind. To fulfill his goal, he used to work long hours, thereby disrupting hisbiological clock. Saturdays and Sundays were no different. Although he wasmoving confidently in the direction of his goals, he was not thrilled to bits.Why? His dissatisfaction had nothing to do with his job, but his family lifewas what caused him the most worry. You see, he put great value on beingwith his family. He missed the time he used to spend with his wife andsharing memorable experiences with his two pudgy daughters. He was awayfrom home too long. After retracing past events in his mind, he brought hisgoals and values into alignment. He no longer stays at the office after theofficial closing time, and comes straight home. He also does not work onSundays, but reads a multilingual bible, with the text in English, Latin, andGreek. Once a fortnight he visits Salisbury Cathedral. At last, better sensehas prevailed. When your goals and values are not in line, you feel that somethingstrange is happening in your life, as in the “X Files,” starring DavidDuchovny. You feel as if you are pulled in two different directions. Yet ifyour goals and values are in alignment with each other, it results in a springin your stride. This simplifies and clarifies things, at the very least. Last word: My late designer aunt, schooled in the skills of hautecouture (who died of cranial bleeding as a result of a horrific car accident)used to give a slightly verbose explanation on the topic of goals: As you
  12. 12. achieve some of your goals, take the time to rejoice. You really deservepraise for this. Keep building on your successes, always staying aware of thefact that your aim is not to accomplish all your goals (it is not humanlypossible to achieve all your goals in one lifetime), but to make continuousheadway. You are trying to fulfill your purpose, move toward your potential,and help others—not arrive at a destination.