Sometimes, it’s a good thing to set goals.
Other times, it’s better to not. A recent post by Carol Roth led me to reconsider the drive to set goals – not because they’re not important, but because we can often use our “best efforts” as a cop-out for not achieving them.
See, sometimes, we work really hard at something, and it isn’t working. It’s sweaty, nasty, and even painful. It’s downright hard. So hard in fact, that no one would fault you for quitting.
“Heck, look how far you’ve come!” people will say. You might even say it to yourself. I know I have.
I used to take pride in doing things the hard way. Then I learned that there’s a time and a place for effortless as well.
The trick is figuring out which is which. Sometimes, to achieve real success, you need to throw the goal away, and keep striving. Put on a blindfold to the rest of the world and just do that thing you are “giving your best” to – and assess the outcomes later.
Sometimes, that means deleting and unsubscribing from all the newsletters that dump into your inbox every week. Sometimes, it means clearing your calendar, your home, or just getting away from all the distractions so you can focus on that thing you’re about in the world.
Sure, goals still have their place, but they should never be used as a guidepost (or excuse) for mediocrity.
Do you want to quit on the 50 yard line because that was your goal, or do you want to be in the end zone – where the points are made?
No, not every at-bat is a home run, but if you never swing for the fences, you’ll have a hard time hitting a homer. And that takes practice.
Practice at setting and achieving goals – not at giving up half way there because it was hard.
This is a voice of experience, mind you. I’ve seen a failure or two in my recent past. It’s rare for me to quit. Even when it’s hard. I’m more likely to stand over the dead body and keep trying to revive it than I am to quit “while I’m ahead”.
My experience has shown that while it can be incredibly painful to have a loss, persistence and patience are strong indicators of your ultimate success.
What are you willing to stick with – no matter what?