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Scott Burton
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Is it better to have no goals at all? Interesting thought exercise from Leo at ZenHabits that is counter to what we are usually taught. http://zenhabits.net/no-goal/

Agree or disagree?

I agree with much of the idea as presented but it's still a difficult idea to grasp given previous teachings.
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It's interesting, at last, to see someone agree with and write down in an accessible form the philosophy I've always lead my life by which seems to be the one diametrically opposite in direction of all those goal orientated schemes that seem universally popular.

I've always preferred to go with the flow. That though, as the piece you linked to says, doesn't mean I've done nothing.

I've managed to become, what I consider to be, a highly successful performer with a world class act, working for appreciative audiences in some of the best theatres in the world and I've achieved, what I consider to be is , this idyllic position without ever having set myself any form of professional goals. I have just allowed my passion to take the lead and have to a large extent been a happy passenger on the journey that has taken me on.

There of course have been times where I have had decisions to make as to which direction I should go in but these are decisions that were made in response to where I have found myself rather than as a result of where I had planned to get to.

The only thing I have positively tried to avoid is the feeling of treading in my own footsteps to deeply as I'm a believer in the old adage that the path least traveled is likely to be the more interesting.

Of course it could all go horribly wrong tomorrow but then again so can a strategically well crafted master plan.

I feel I have been able to enjoy all the benefits from following the path I have chosen without any of the worry, angst or stress that one often associates with making a professional success of one's life but I suspect it's not a suitable choice for everyone.
Neal Austin

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Bill Hegbli
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Yes, all goal setting should be able to be adjusted. Sealegs, you have a goal, being a performer, that was your goal. You were just smart enough and made the correct decisions to adjust the path of your goal.

Sealegs has explained Goal Setting in a very well worded manner. Thank you. The only thing you did not do from the traditional form is write it down. So we will not be reading your inspirational autobiography any time soon. To bad it sounds interesting already.

A goal is not a non-adjustable plan, it needs to adjusted as the need arises or as you meet your smaller goals in your path.
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Scott Burton
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Quote:
On 2011-12-30 17:20, wmhegbli wrote:
Yes, all goal setting should be able to be adjusted. Sealegs, you have a goal, being a performer, that was your goal. You were just smart enough and made the correct decisions to adjust the path of your goal.

Sealegs has explained Goal Setting in a very well worded manner. Thank you. The only thing you did not do from the traditional form is write it down. So we will not be reading your inspirational autobiography any time soon. To bad it sounds interesting already.

A goal is not a non-adjustable plan, it needs to adjusted as the need arises or as you meet your smaller goals in your path.


I think you missed the point slightly but admit it gets confusing (ex. isn't not having goals a goal?). It's more about "being" rather than looking forward. It's the state of mind that changes even if it appears to be the same from outside perspective.
Bill Hegbli
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I use to work and teach for a motivational and self improvement company. I know what you are saying, but in reality, goal setting is not "a written in stone path" for one. It is made up of a major goal, call it an idea or thought, if you will; and a lot of smaller goals hopefully leading to the major goal. Any of these smaller paths must be changed if they are found out not to take you in the direction that is required.

Yes, I had a son-in-law that had no goals in life. He laid on the bed until he was thrown out by his mother. He wondered the United States taking from every relative he could until he was thrown out. This is the state of many of our youth and the "NEW" economy of today.

I would have to say that not having a goal is a goal, but one that will have one sitting on the curb of a street somewhere. I have also talked to many young adults that just tell others that inquire, what they think they want to hear. Then nothing but disappointment when they fail at doing what they said they had a strong desire to do.

Goals or not, it all takes action and if the person refused to act in a direction that will take him forward, then he is lost. My neighbor, did nothing that was required of him to keep his apartment (No Action). When they evicted him he did act because he was forced to, he is now walking the streets. Because everyone tells him to move on, not because he has a desire to move.

You cannot assume everyone in the world wants to be successful in one form or another. Some truely do not, thus no action in any direction. We tend to call them lost, but to them they are not lost, they are doing exactly want they want to do, nothing. Oh, and they are being!
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TomBoleware
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Many people see a goal as a set of steps written down in a little black book. I kind of see it is as a deep seeded thought that burns the mind. I believe that where there is a will there is a way. I believe that if you can dream it, you can have it. I believe that half the battle is won by setting the goal, the other half is won by doing whatever it takes to see it through. I believe that the first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want. So yes, I believe in goals.

Some say, there is no achievement without goals. It's been said that "if you don't know where you going, any road will take you there." A goal is simply a road map. It's a shortcut. You can wander around hoping you will get there one day, or you can decide you will get there and take the right road. A goal is also a choice.

Would an archer ever hit the bulls eye without knowing where the target was?

Would you ever take a vacation without planning it? Where would you go? How would you get there?

But I do agree with the article that most do spend too much time planning and not enough time doing. And I can see how goals can limit someone because most are afraid to set very high goals.

But with most, I'm not sure the motivation to do anything would be there without a goal. The goal inspires us to take action. The goal is an inner desire and it is this inner desire that motivates us. We are where we are in life today because that is where we 'think' we should be. We need something (the goal) to raise the bar (thinking) for us.

Matthias Schmelz, a self-made successful multi-millionaire who made a fortune in business said, "Your dream is not big enough if it doesn't scare you." So maybe this is why so many don't have a goal.

The real reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t identify them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. They don't really have a goal. A winner has a goal and they can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the reward with them when they get there. It's no longer a question of 'if' but rather a matter of when.

I think J.C. Penny said it well; “Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk.”

Tom
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RichardShure
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Great J.C. Penny Quote... loved it.
Scott Burton
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Do you think this has more to do with semantics rather than a change of approach?
Alex Rapattoni
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I think the article is more about living in the present moment. It's not that you dot have drive or ambition, it's that you decided to stop making lists, and planning each year, day by day. When you plan each day out like that, you set yourself up for disappointment. And it's not a very fulfilling idea.

I think you need to keep the big picture in mind. If you live everyday just going with the flow, there is no direction, and you could end up walking the street. Grab an oar and give yourself some direction by having a big picture in mind. If you set off in the right direction, you'll make it there somehow.

Scott, I can see this being semantics. Its more about finding a method that works for yourself. No one persons mind is quite the same as the next, and each person may have to think of things differently in order for it to make sense to them.
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Blair Marshall
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Scott, not sure if I missed it but I got the feel that the article was mostly about personal goals, not business goals.

As self-employed folks there is a big overlap/cross-over between our personal and business lives, but I can do without goals on a personal level, but I think my business needs them. You can have the best structured business plan full of goals, but come time for your personal life none exist.

While some above have indicated that they are succesful without goals, I would suggest many of them have "tasks" and "things to do" to keep their businesses running. Isn't a "to do " list another form of goals?

An interesting comment was made...."Even recently I made a decision".....sounds like goal-setting to me.

Blair
TomBoleware
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Well said wmhegbli.

Scott, I think it is mostly semantics. A writer must write about something, so he writes and writes. You can mix apples and oranges, but at the end of the day you still have fruit.

Still a good interesting article. I enjoyed reading it, and I do agree that much of the planning and tracking is not really needed. At least not needed for those who have learned to 'do' on their own. But even those should still do in the right direction.

Moving your life/business along in a certain direction is a goal. Surely at one time in your life you said to yourself, I would like to go that way. Everybody has a general idea of what they want out of life. There are choices to be made and these choices are made based on a plan, a goal.

I too have reached a point in my life where I don't have 'goals' like I use too. But I like to think that it was my goals (my choice) that got me here. Today my direction is on auto pilot but I still have to monitor it.

Deciding which direction to take your life/business is a very important decision and I think it should be a decision. I think it should be a controlled decision.

Tom
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Andrew Zuber
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I think the JC Penny quote makes a lot of sense. Having spent eight years in retail management myself, I saw all kinds of people come through the doors with no goals or ambitions, and there was NO flow with these people. They came in, did what was asked of them and nothing more, (or sometimes even less than that,) and either stayed right where they were without any forward momentum, or left. I eventually left because my goal was to move out of retail; I made relationships, gained valuable experience, and moved on. You've clearly had goals in life - you say you own two homes. That doesn't happen on accident. I'm guessing you saw a home, your goal was to buy it, and you did so.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Scott Burton
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Here are some examples where I could see this working:

1 - Losing weight. Many people set a goal to lose weight but do not (me too at times). Obviously goals are not everything. What if, instead of setting a goal of losing 1 pound a week and obsessing over numbers, a person learns to enjoy and look forward to the experience of eating healthy food and getting fit. A person enjoys the journey and looks forward to every day while the idea of losing weight is simply a little bonus that comes with the territory.

2 - Running a marathon. We could all sign up today but I will place my bets on the people who actually learn to LOVE running. Today I ran 3 hours and was looking forward to doing it for days. I had a great time. Those who can lose themself in the experience of training will get farther than the person obsessing over weekly mileage and other such monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

3 - Selling. What if, instead of focusing on whether you hit 1, 10, or 20 sales this month, you learn to passionately enjoy the process of selling. You look forward to every day and see results as you love every moment of your job. Each day you cannot wait to get on the telephone and talk to people.

Perhaps the idea is to focus and enjoy the behaviours that become the basis for a happy and successful life and business rather than judging yourself on arbitrary goals and numbers.

Regardless, I think it is an interesting conversation.
Scott Burton
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I think goals are different from having a vision or ambition. Goals speak more of specific numbers (make $50,000 more this year) while a person can still have a vision for their life and have ambition to go after it.
Bill Hegbli
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I don't think judgements on people is the correct way to discuss Goal setting. As Andrew seen those people coming and going, it was not that they had no goals, it was that they were like you. Working toward 'their' goals. Goals are many when it come to people, remember we are all unique in our own way.

Some of the employees, could have been there while looking for their dream job, some to fill in a lay off from a job, some may have simply need insurance for medical insurance for bringing a new human into this world. So they did what was required to maintain the job. Isn't that what they should do when working for a business.

One has to be careful not to judge a person with your own goals and measurements in life. I for one never wanted a to own a house. I see it as more work, after 12 hours at a demanding job. Mowing lawn, constant repairs, etc. is not my idea of something to really want to look forward to in an evening or an occasional day off of work.

True all our goals is not necessarily our goals, as if we take on a life partner, then their goals are added to ours. We word it different, but when the wife says we want a house, she just set your goal for you. If you let yourself get side tracked which happens with most of us. Our goals are not usually met from our original thinking. When a little child say I want to be a Fireman, then ends up being something else, then life got in the way of his goal. He got off track, and put himself in a situation that did not let him get back on track. So he had to re-evaluate his goals for his present life. Why do we do these things to yourselves, if we would just actually say 'really' want we want and where we want to go, then stay on track. As humans we cannot do that as we are conscience beings that have emotions and feel we have to fit a mold that will be accepted by 'others', whoever they are.

When we take on responsibilities of other humans, it makes our personal goals change and our 'dream' goals put on the back burner. No we are motivated to the goal of providing the needs of the ones in our life. That is your goal now, and is the main goal for you to work toward. All your personal goals take a back seat to these 'force' responsibilities. Forced meaning we did not realize the price to personal goals, and put it out of minds, and let our emotions take over for common sense.
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Bill Hegbli
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Scott, now you are getting confused, because if you set a goal to make $50,000 more, the you have to set a plan to do that. Set down and figure how you can achieve that goal. Wishing will not work, and going with the flow will not work as well. If you are say making 50 telephone calls a day, and have honed that process to the max, then you will have to make more telephone calls to increase the changes of more positive results.

I use to sell the motivational classes as well as help present them, you have to look at your success rate and increase that to increase your income. I liked selling very much, but it is a momentum thing when it come to sales. On money you have to force your self to make that 1st sales call. You then build during the week and you are on a roll. Then Friday hits and you have to stop dead in your tracks. Those weekends kills your momentum, and you cannot start again until Monday.

Really Scott! Vision and ambition are not a part of goal setting. Please tell us how you can create a goal without the vision to see it in your minds eye, and the ambition to take action to make a plan (goal) and follow that plan. I would be very interested in your view on this.
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Sealegs
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I guess any decision thoughtfully taken can be regarded as leading one towards a goal... I need some milk... I'll go to the supermarket and get some.... but using 'goal' in this context feels like an overly excessive term.

Likewise, one could say that I had the goal of developing a strong, entertaining and bookable act that I would enjoyed performing. My goal, if I had one, was actually more nebulous that that. I just wanted to perform and be good at what it was I was doing. As it has turned out the string, entertaining, bookable (and modest) act that I've ended up becoming (that encompasses that more nebulous "goal" of being able to perform well) is, in the sense of the goal, more of an artifact.

Of course it could be said that I had many smaller goals to get to where I wanted to be with my act and that these were constantly altered as I went along. And again, it would be difficult to argue that this wasn't true. But I feel the use of the term 'goal' doesn't seem appropriate here in the same way as it doesn't seem appropriate for going and getting some milk.

To me, it makes more sense to think of how I got to where I ended up in terms of following a path rather than heading for a target. So the process was one of trial and experimentation rather than thinking; in order to get 'there' I need to do 'this'. My approach was more one of; let's see what doing this does. In this sense the path I was following wasn't prescribed or specifically determined by any 'goal'. Discovering the path was part of the process. The path I generally followed was one I hadn't been down before, and was also one that looked like it wasn't going to cause me any grief, angst or stress. If the result ended up being enjoyable and worked then I would follow that path further. If it wasn't I'd look for the next direction.

Along the way I worked successfully in comedy clubs, theatres, holiday parks, aircraft carriers, Royal yachts, war zones for the troops, television, in a foreign language, etc etc etc. I never had any of that in any master plan or goal but I've enjoyed all of it and would hate to think that had I been set on a goal such as, say, working on cruise ships, where I now work exclusively, I might well have missed out on some or all of those marvellous experiences.

Tom Boleware wrote: "Would an archer ever hit the bulls eye without knowing where the target was?" Probably not.... But think of all the other things he might hit if he was more interested in the firing of the arrow, it's flight pathand seeing where it landed? Who knows what fate might then throw in the archers direction from one randomly fired arrow?

Tom also wrote; "Would you ever take a vacation without planning it? Where would you go? How would you get there?"

Well I'm pretty sure many people do just this. (Indeed I remember doing it when I was a student) People who behave like this tend to be as interested in the journey, and what surprises it might throw up, as they are in wondering exactly where it is that their end point will be.

But as with the idea of going with the flow in more general terms, I can see this approach wouldn't be for everyone.

But regardless of where these vacationers end up and what happens to them along the way they will, at the end of it, have 'had a holiday'.... just as they would have 'had a holiday' had they booked one at Club Med. Now of course one could of course say that whatever holiday that they end up having was actually their goal.... but I'm sure the people taking it wouldn't look on it that way.

And now I'm off to buy some more milk.
Neal Austin

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Scott Burton
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On 2011-12-31 12:35, wmhegbli wrote:
Scott, now you are getting confused, because if you set a goal to make $50,000 more, the you have to set a plan to do that. Set down and figure how you can achieve that goal. Wishing will not work, and going with the flow will not work as well. If you are say making 50 telephone calls a day, and have honed that process to the max, then you will have to make more telephone calls to increase the changes of more positive results.

I use to sell the motivational classes as well as help present them, you have to look at your success rate and increase that to increase your income. I liked selling very much, but it is a momentum thing when it come to sales. On money you have to force your self to make that 1st sales call. You then build during the week and you are on a roll. Then Friday hits and you have to stop dead in your tracks. Those weekends kills your momentum, and you cannot start again until Monday.

Really Scott! Vision and ambition are not a part of goal setting. Please tell us how you can create a goal without the vision to see it in your minds eye, and the ambition to take action to make a plan (goal) and follow that plan. I would be very interested in your view on this.


Actually I agree that you need a vision to create a goal and you need ambition to put that goal into reality. I either failed to explain myself properly or I was misunderstood.

I would say that you COULD have a vision for yourself and ambition to take it on without having set specific goals for yourself.

Here is a beautiful comment from a friend (posted on facebook) who is an engineer when I posted the same link:
"I adopted this philosophy over the past year... Not intentionally but because I started to get comfortable with the randomness and adventure that came with following my heart on a daily basis. It has been very frightening at times though, mainly because it means I can't have expectations of my career anymore. It will be what it will be. I'm no longer aiming to produce a certain outcome like reaching a certain position, I'm just trying to be my best everyday."
lou serrano
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Quote:
On 2011-12-30 12:31, Scott Burton wrote:
Is it better to have no goals at all? Interesting thought exercise from Leo at ZenHabits that is counter to what we are usually taught. http://zenhabits.net/no-goal/

Agree or disagree?

I agree with much of the idea as presented but it's still a difficult idea to grasp given previous teachings.


I found the article quite fascinating, especially since I'm a huge proponent on setting and attaining goals. I think the author was quite smart in writing in contradiction to most commonly held beliefs about setting goals in that it does stir up controversy and brings more attention to his writings. Bravo!

He does start his article with this quote. "Consider this common belief: 'You’ll never get anywhere unless you know where you’re going.' ” I've never heard this quote. It seems he twisted a different quote. " If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."

In any case, most people don't really set goals. Very few set goals and then set up a plan to achieve them. Most people live their life be default. Going with the flow. I think if one chooses to live life in that way there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I think going with the flow and enjoying the journey as it presents itself can be quite satisfying for some people. I on the other hand would be miserable. All of the major accomplishments in my life have been a result of setting goals and accomplishing them. Becoming a successful magician, making a six-figure income, and owning my own home were all results of setting goals and executing a plan to achieve those goals. I may have attained all of these things if I hadn't set any goals, and then again maybe not. Who knows?

Setting goals and executing plans to achieve goals puts me in the driver's seat, and gives me a sense of control over what I'm doing and how I'm living my life. It gives me the sense that I'm living my life by my own design as opposed to living a life by default. That's not to say I've achieved all my goals. Sometimes my goals change along the way. Some goals stop being important to me, and I set new goals.

The main point of the article that stood out to me is whether you set goals or not, don't forget to enjoy the journey. After all, in the big scheme of things, there is no destination except death, so all that's left is the journey. Enjoy the journey.

Respectfully,

Lou Serrano
Scott Burton
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Quote:
On 2011-12-31 15:43, lou serrano wrote:
The main point of the article that stood out to me is whether you set goals or not, don't forget to enjoy the journey. After all, in the big scheme of things, there is no destination except death, so all that's left is the journey. Enjoy the journey.


Agreed. This is the main point - and a valuable point it is.

I often felt that so many things we do are in preparation for upcoming events:
- each level of school tried to prepare you for the next level
- University tries to prepare you for a career
- Each level of your career in meant to prepare you for the next level of progression
- Work becomes a stepping stone to retirement

A person can become so focused on goals and bettering themselves that they forget that life is meant to be lived (not prepared for or sought after). I know - as a naturally goal-oriented person - the feeling of taking life by the horns and making fast progression towards levels of success. I was never happy unless I was progressing fast and steady.

My parents generation are now retiring and I cannot help but think that I would not want to work so long for a later reward. Why not enjoy life to its fullest now.

I am slowly starting to give myself permission to sit back and enjoy where I am and soak in the simpler aspects of life.
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