Set Your Personal Goal and Focus on It
Why immediately focusing on the obstacles and challenges to overcome in order to achieve a goal tends to lead to not achieving the goal
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You set an important personal goal that you want to achieve and the next thing that happens is that your mind starts iterating on the obstacles and the challenges to overcome on the way to achieving the goal. Before you know it, life happens and you never took any action towards achieving your goal.
The pattern above is incredibly common among adults in the world today. We have personal goals that we want to achieve and end up never achieving them. Not because these goals are outside our control or are unattainable but because we never even take any positive action to achieve our goal. One day in the future, we look back with regrets on what might have been.
The aim of this newsletter is to offer one solution to fix the destructive pattern of immediately thinking of obstacles and challenges to be overcome whenever we set a personal goal.
Immediately focusing on the obstacles and challenges to overcome takes away positive energy
When we immediately focus on the challenges we will face and the obstacles we will have to overcome in order to achieve a goal, we immediately lose focus on the most important thing: The goal itself. When we lose focus on the goal, the positive energy or intent behind the goal is lost. Using a statement made by 17th century sword Japanese Samurai, Musashi Miyamoto, a Samurai must know the difference between cutting and slashing:
To cut and to slash are two different things. Cutting, whatever form of cutting it is, is decisive, with a resolute spirit. Slashing is nothing more than touching the enemy. Even if you slash strongly, and even if the enemy dies instantly, it is slashing.
When you cut, your spirit is resolved. You must appreciate this. If you first slash the enemy's hands or legs, you must then cut strongly. Slashing is in spirit the same as touching. When you realise this, they become indistinguishable. Learn this well.
Why does this happen?
It happens because we do not have the discipline to focus on our goals. Our minds have been conditioned over the years to focus on obstacles as soon as we set a personal goal to achieve. This habit engrained in our subconscious then becomes a limiting factor in achieving our personal goals. The insidious part is that most of us are not consciously aware of this habit.
Focusing on obstacles and challenges to overcome to achieve our goals ends up working against us. We use up the energy that should have been used to achieve the goal. This lack of discipline to focus on our personal goals is something that we must fix.
What we must do?
The first step is to go through your personal goals set over the past year and see if the pattern described in this newsletter applies to you. Write down the goals and why you probably took no actions to achieve them. This step will probably be difficult because you have forgotten the obstacles and challenges you came up with at the time you set the personal goal. But do persevere with this step.
The second step is to consciously train our mind to set personal goals and focus on the end result. Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline provides a process that will help you stay focused on your personal goal. The process is:
Set your goal.
Imagine that your goal has been fully realised.
Ask yourself how the question, If I actually had this, what would it get me?
The answer in question three will probably reveal the why or desire behind achieving your goal. Take note of the desire.
The desire in step 4 then becomes your vision of where you want to be. This desire will enable you focus on the end goal despite the gap between your current state and the end goal.
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