Let’s talk about setting up real goals to empower us to be unstoppable. I was having late night tea with a few friends in which we talked about where we wanted to be in a year. Once you’ve unlocked a goal you graduate onward to the next challenge. It’s kind of like leveling up in a video game. Goals are a check point to make sure you’re on track of getting stronger, better, faster <the the rest of Daft Punk’s song>> and ultimately where you want to be in the future. You really must have specific goals for this to work though. Throughout the years I’ve watched peers express goals of doing what they love –while having full coverage benefits, 6 figure salary, being happy at work, actually taking a risk and trying something new, ya da da da. Some of them made it, congrats! Most of them failed.
Goals You Want
You should set up goals that help you grow and develop as an individual. Most of these achievements are non-tangible and sensible. I’m talking about things such as:
- – Becoming more disciplined
- – Better time management
- – Being accountable to others
- – Being open to foreign ideas and perspectives
- – Having intention
- – Etc.
At first glance becoming more discipline won’t look very attractive, but guess what? It’s good for you. Who doesn’t want to be completely dedicated and in love with their craft? Answer: no one. In spite of this it’s actually very difficult to unlock these goals. The primary reason is that it take a plethora of deep, focused practice. When your working towards unlocking these long-term goals nothing else should be on your mind. Every part of you down to the cellular level should be completely engrossed by your practice.
If we really wanted to get into it we could talk about how:
(1) Every human movement, thought, or feeling is a precisely timed electric signal traveling through a chain of neurons –a circuit of nerve fibers. (2) Myelin is the insulation that wraps these nerve fibers and increases signal strength, speed, and accuracy. (3) The more we fire a particular circuit, the more myelin optimizes that circuit, and the stronger, faster, and more fluent our movements and thoughts become. – Daniel Coyle in The Talent Code
Therefore the more focused practice we do, the more myelin our brain builds, which yields honed skills and more long-term benefits. With exercising things such as accountability and discipline this means responding to all forms of communication in a timely matter (emails, text messages, social media, phone calls), putting up with busy work and just going to town on it, and even saying “no” to going out with friends to having the pleasure of staying at home to get work down while you watch them play, see some entertainment spectacle, and gorge on delicious foods via social media. When it comes to goals pertaining to personal growth the great obstacle is that it forces you to change your lifestyle. Break the cycle, break the old habits.
I think this little charcoal drawing by Kusodesign summarizes this well.
Goals You Don’t Want
For lack of better words these you shouldn’t want materialistic, superficial goals (I say shouldn’t because these are mostly items of luxury –not necessities, but acquiring them does feel nice! har har.) These are goals that are tangible and exists physically. They’re something you can touch, hold, visit, share, visibly experience, etc. Examples could be:
- – Buying that new shiny camera (or just treating yourself to something nice in general)
- – Actually new anything
- – Being famous among peers
- – Booking a job
- – Printing a book or making a personal project
These are great as short-term markers of growth, however they don’t offer you much long-term benefit. Buying that latest camera isn’t going to going to make you a better artist let alone photographer. And booking that next big gig or printing/publishing that next project isn’t going to sudden drop a heaping load of success on you. Instead of looking at these goals and other likenesses as an end all be all endpoint look at them as milestones or markers to ensure your keeping on track of your long-term goals.