Five Supposedly Good Reasons Why People Don't Set Goals (and Why They're Wrong)

International bestseller Brian Tracy found out that only 3% of adults have clear, written, specific, measureable, time-bounded goals. And by every statistic, they accomplish ten times as much as people with no goals at all.

Brian lists below Five Supposedly Good Reasons Why People Don't Set Goals (and Why They're Wrong):

Myth One: “I already have goals; I don’t need to set any.” People who say this also say that their goals are to be rich, thin, happy, successful, and live their dreams. Buy these are not goals, they are wishes and fantasies common to all mankind. A goal is like a beautiful home, carefully designed, revised continually, upgraded regularly, and worked on constantly. If it is not in writing, it is merely a dream or a wish, a vague objective with no energy behind it.

Myth Two: “I don’t need goals; I’m doing fine.” Living your life without goals is setting off across unknown territory with no road signs and no roadmap. You have no choice but to make it up as you go along, reacting and responding to whatever happens, and hoping for the best. If you are doing well today without written goals and plans, you could probably be doing many times better in the future if you had clear targets to aim at and the ability to measure your progress as you go along.

Myth Three: “I don’t need written goals; I have them all in my mind.”
The average stream of consciousness includes about 1,500 thoughts a minute. If your goals are only in your mind, they are invariably jumbled up, vague, confused, contradictory and deficient in many ways. They offer no clarity and give you no motive power. You become like a ship without a rudder, drifting with the tides, crashing into the rocks inevitably and never really fulfilling your true potential.

Myth Four: “I don’t know how to set goals.” No wonder. You can take a Masters degree at a leading university and never receive a single hour of instruction on goal setting and achieving. Fortunately, goal setting is a skill, like time management, teaching, selling, managing, or anything else that you need to become a highly productive and effective person. And all skills are learnable. You can learn the skill of goal-setting by practice and repetition until it becomes as easy and as automatic as breathing. And from the very first day that you begin setting goals, the progress you will make and the successes you will enjoy will astonish you.

Myth Five: “Goals don’t work; life is too unpredictable.”
When a plane takes off for a distant city, it will be off course 99% of the time. The complexity of the avionics and the skill of the pilots are focused on continual course corrections. It is the same in life. But when you have a clear, long-term goal, with specific plans to achieve it, you may have to change course many times, but you will eventually arrive at your destination of health, wealth and great success.

One last point. Goal setting has been called the master skill of success. You have two choices in life: You can either work on your own goals, or you can work for someone else, and work on achieving their goals. When you learn the master skill, you take complete control of your life and jump to the front of the line in your potential for great achievement.

Any thoughts? Ideas? Responses?

Mark Levy's Five Rules to Disobey in Freewriting

Mark Levy, bestselling author and founder of Levy Innovation, wants you to know about the power of freewriting and how it can help find answers to problems, reach goals, and enhance creativity. But using freewriting means discarding some "traditional" standards.

Here's the (much abridged) freewriting process: fix a problem in mind, open a blank document on your computer, set a timer for seven minutes, and begin. Write as fast as you can -- without stopping for any reason -- about your problem.

That's it? Not quite. Below, Mark lists Five "Traditional" Rules and Standards You Should Toss Aside for Effective Freewriting:

First Rule to Break: Don't time yourself. People don't time themselves when they write because they've been taught that timing oneself causes a distraction and puts the focus on time rather than quality of work. Well, forget that rule. Do time yourself. When the timer starts, you start. When it finishes, you finish. By using a timer, you can forget about logistics and spend your attention and energy on writing flat-out.

Second Rule to Break: Stop to think as you write. Forget that training that asks you to measure out each word carefully with forethought. While freewriting, it’s important to keep writing no matter what’s happening in your mind. That means, if you’re stumped, write about being stumped. If your thoughts are choppy, put them down choppily. Stopping for more than a second gives your internal editor a chance to reengage and disrupt the process.

Third Rule to Break: Write at a leisurely pace.
Don't. If you freewrite too slowly, you’re writing, not freewriting. You want to write fast enough so that your internal editor slackens its grip. That means, if your editor is running at five miles an hour, write at six miles an hour. Your fingers needn’t fly over the keyboard. They just need to move at a clip slightly quicker than your norm.

Fourth Rule to Break: Stay on topic.
Too much focus is a bad thing in freewriting. Sticking too closely to a linear route is probably what’s got you blocked in the first place. As Edward De Bono says, "Great ideas are only logical in hindsight." Our minds like to roam. If you start thinking about a TV show you’d like to watch, or a trade your favorite ball team is planning, write about those digressions.

Fifth Rule to Break: Write only from your own experience and reality. Yes, disregard. Since freewriting is done for your eyes only, feel free to make up characters and tell tall tales. Why? They free up the mind and force fresh perspective. Once you come up with an interesting idea in fantasy, you can always bring it back to reality and see if it can be made useable.

Give it a shot and then tell us about your experience below.


Ten Common Sense Principles for a New Economy

David Korten is very concerned that we still haven't learned out lessons from the last meltdown. The proof? Here is David's list of Ten Principles that Sound Like Simple No Brainers, But Directly Support Actions So Radical as to Invite Instant Dismissal:

1. The proper purpose of an economy is to secure just, sustainable, and joyful livelihoods for all.

2. GDP is a measure of the economic cost of producing a given level of human well-being and happiness. As with any well-run business, the proper goal is to minimize the costs of a given level of useful output, not to maximize them.

3. A rational reallocation of real resources can achieve the essential reduction in aggregate human consumption required to bring the human species into balance with Earth’s biosphere simultaneously with improving the health and happiness of all.

4. Markets allocate efficiently only within a framework of appropriate rules that maintain the necessary conditions of competition, cost internalization, balanced trade, domestic investment, and equality.

5. A proper money system roots the power to create and allocate money in people and communities to facilitate the creation of livelihoods and ecologically balanced community wealth.

6. Money, which is easily created with a simple accounting entry, should never be the deciding constraint in making resource allocation decisions.

7. Wall Street financial institutions devoted to speculation, the inflation of financial bubbles, risk externalization, the extraction of usury, and the use of creative accounting to create money from nothing unrelated to the creation of anything of real value serve no social purpose, are all forms of theft, and should be regulated or taxed out of existence.

8. Greed is not a virtue; sharing is not a sin. If your primary business purpose is not to serve the community, you have no business being in business.

9. The only legitimate reason for government to issue a corporate charter extending special privileges favoring a particular enterprise is to serve a clearly defined public purpose. That purpose should be clearly stated in its charter and subject to periodic review.

10. Public policy properly favors local investors and businesses dedicated to creating community wealth over investors and businesses that come only to extract it.

Energized? Offended? Chime in below!


Five Ways to Find Meaning in Madness

Alex Pattakos has successfully translated Viktor Frankl's key principles for finding meaning in life into our daily world. It's not very easy to do, but it is possible to find meaning and learn a great deal from setbacks other than the traditional "I-know-not-do-that-again" lesson.

As an exclusive to the Author blog, Alex presents below The Five Ways We Can Find Meaning in the Setbacks and Problems We Experience Daily:

1. See setbacks as a way to believe in meaning. Whenever we suffer -- no matter what the severity of our suffering is -- we have the ability to find meaning in the situation. Meaning exists in all scenarios and believing that means you'll be able to find it in the roughest patches. Also, meaning is not a singular value -- look for the "mini-meanings" along life's paths, not simply for the "BIG" answers to the questions that life asks.

Example: If you experience a tragedy but you don't acknowledge the value of meaning, it's too easy to start believing that you are a powerless "victim" of circumstances and nothing more. We all know people who are like this and we know how damaging such a self-fulfilling prophecy can be.

2. Use adversity as training for your attitude. In all situations, no matter how desperate they may appear or actually be, you always have the ultimate freedom to choose your attitude. This doesn't mean you can force yourself to be happy because something awful happened, but you can choose how you react and interpret an awful experience. Your choice of attitude is a first, and a very important, step towards finding meaning in any given situation. Choosing your attitude empowers you and builds your resiliency to misfortune.

Example: Ask yourself with absolute honesty whether you usually confront situations with a focus on positive outcomes. Your attitude dictates how you'll perceive events and how you'll grow and learn from them -- or not. Focused properly, your attitudinal predisposition positively influences your search for meaning, but done wrong, it can also thwart it.

3. Use an unfortunate event as an opportunity to gain perspective. Seek to look at both the situation and yourself from a distance as a removed third party. Learning when and how to separate yourself from a situation not only can help you deal with the stresses associated with it but also can help you find ways to deal with the situation effectively because you see options you wouldn't otherwise notice. A key strategic aspect to this removed perspective is a sense of humor. Humor can be used to put distance between yourself and your situation while also helping you find meaning in your plight.

Example: Have you ever been so close to a stressful situation that you felt frustrated and immobilized because you had tunnel vision and couldn't see other factors in the periphery? Now, imagine the same situation if you had been able to take a step back and laugh at yourself instead of tightening the blinders. Do you see how differently the situation would have been resolved?

4. A bad scenario is a good excuse for a break.
Deflecting your attention from a problem or otherwise challenging situation to something else positive can help you cope with the situation by putting it into a more manageable context. Even a quick "mental excursion" can be healthy, help you deal with adversities. This capacity also provides us with opportunities to find the deeper meaning in our predicaments.

Example: Have you ever found yourself "day-dreaming" when confronting a stressful situation and realized that it actually helped you ease your tension? Can you see how focusing on something positive can get you "unstuck?" No one ever found meaning or resolution in single-minded obsession, but "taking a break" actually moves you closer to finding value in a tough predicament.

5. A tragedy is a tool to relate to more than yourself. By directing your attention and relating to something or someone other than (and more than) yourself, you increase your chances of finding meaning in life. Authentic meaning often comes as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Finding meaning in tragedy or setbacks, in this regard, is less about oneself and more about extending beyond oneself.

Example: Have you ever confronted a challenge in which you were more concerned about others than you were about yourself? An amazing dynamic occurs when you rise beyond yourself in service to others -- an understanding of values outside yourself. Relating to others is a key part of finding meaning.

I welcome all of your thoughts and reactions (and stories) below!

Five Bad Assumptions

Marcia Reynolds has researched and studied extensively about high-achieving women and their ways of thinking and reacting to various scenarios. She's also noticed that there are certain erroneous assumptions that many successful and smart women make that can create a hefty brain-lock cycle from which is it very difficult to escape.

As an exclusive to this blog, Marcia Reynolds presents below five core assumptions that lock women into rigid perfectionist patterns:

Assumption #1: There is a right answer and it is mine

If you are the best and the one who knows, then you have an answer for every question about things that are important to you. No one dares to disagree. Always being right not only hurts your relationships, it is a heavy responsibility to bear.

Assumption #2: Everything is up to me

Things will spin out of control or fail if they aren’t done by you. As a result, you will overwork, take on too many projects, and resist sharing your work with anyone else.

Assumption #3: I will always be disappointed

Whether it's a job or a relationship, you start out excited about the possibilities, then you feel let down. This is due to the unreasonable standards you set up which no job or relationship can meet in the long run. The truth is, this behavior gives you an exit door so you never have to commit to ironing out your problems. If you don’t release your attachment to disappointment, you will always focus on what is wrong.

Assumption #4: I don't need help

You are a strong, smart woman so you don't need anyone to help you succeed. You can figure it out on your own. Unfortunately, this assumption is a horrible waste of your precious time. Letting other people help you is more efficient, it builds relationships, and you look stronger as a leader.

Assumption #5: I have to be great at everything I do

For the first time in history, women are brought up to believe we can do anything. To make up for lost time, this message is being delivered with a vengance. As a result, girls interpret the words to mean, "I must be great at anything I choose." As they mature, the greater their knowledge and experiences, the heavier is the "burden of greatness." When one accomplishment is complete, they quickly search for the next great thing to conquer. As a result, they restlessly wander with no clear purpose. This realization launched the idea for my research and the book, Wander Woman.

Thoughts? Responses? Suggestions? Ideas?


Five Simple (But Not Easy) Ways to Build Your Community

Peter Block is a bestselling author, speaker and legend in the organizational development world. His current passion, and the subject of his latest book, is community -- how to create it, nourish it, and sustain it. Real life satisfaction becomes possible only when we join our neighbors to live and create a community that supports our family and makes us useful citizens.

"The consumer society encourages this romantic idea that schools can raise our child, doctors can keep us healthy, institutions and services can care for the vulnerable, police can keep us safe, government will care of the land, and there is out there a global company will move into our city and save our local economy. The reality is that we already possess the ideas, the tools and the support to create a neighborhood that can raise a child, provide security, sustain our health, secure our income, care for our vulnerable people and get us work to do. Each of these is within the power of our community. Each is within walking distance. Here are five simple, though not easy to do steps to satisfaction:

1. Become gift-minded. Find out the gifts of each person in the neighborhood. What do they like to do, what do they know that they would be willing to teach other people? Skills such as training a dog, sewing, gardening, fixing a car or babysitting children can be useful to everyone.

2. Welcome Strangers. There are people nearby that we do not know. We are shut off from them by like-mindedness. Instead of staying in your social core, create a welcoming to those who are not part of the core circle but are still part of the neighborhood. This is not just hospitality because we need these people -- all people -- to make the neighborhood function. We do not have to particularly like them, but we need them to function as a community.

3. Discover Local Association Life. Dozens of formal and informal associations, groups of people who come together by choice to do something they enjoy exist in all neighborhoods and communities. Find out what and where these groups are and join one. If you can't find a particular group, start one. Groups can be for just about anything: a coffee group, a book club, dog walkers gathering, or those interested in the history and preservation of the neighborhood where you all live.

4. Choose to be a Connector. Every neighborhood has people who know just about everyone and like to find out what people love to do and bring them together. Be one of these people. Find a friend and knock on doors up and down the block asking what people like to do and would like to share with others. Meet with other Connectors and talk about building the social fabric of the place. Discuss how to support small local businesses, including the many being operated out of homes. Connecting is not just for adults, however. Find out what the neighborhood children are interested in and give them a function related to that interest. Doing so lets the youth know that they are vital and needed.

5. Finally, See it all as a Social Movement. This is a movement to reclaim into our own hands the capacity to find satisfaction. It is a social movement called localism. It marks the end of the dominance of consumerism and has been underway for decades. The movement remains invisible because it holds no large financial interest and is not in the job descriptions of people we call "leaders." Therefore it is not called news, it is minimized by calling it "human interest," but it is vital and kinetic. All of this is explored both in The Abundant Community and the website;

Join us in this movement, tell us your story, hear what others are doing that works, find each other. It is a world based on gifts and relatedness. Radical but doable."

Chime in below with your thoughts and responses.