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Powerlessness, the ultimate adversity.
Nothing to gain from this adversity — no silver lining — only helplessness.
Held captive by your own thoughts, feelings and actions.
The seeming escape becomes just another avenue of the same captivity.
Is there any real escape?
Can one break free from the subjection of constant external influences?
To regain control, you will need a framework. A framework that you design.
Stop flailing in the river of instant gratification.
Stop walking the common societal patterns trail without question.
Stop living to eat, breath and survive without direction or positive intent, pursuing the next good feeling and disregarding tomorrow, next month and next year.
Stand up, get on dry land, and begin planning.
This post is the first step against powerlessness.
These are your guides. What you can aim yourself toward and direct yourself with. How to keep your conscious self in charge of your mind and actions and how to use the rudder instead of the sails.
- Types of Goal Setting
- At What Expense?
- Supporting Players
- Final Words
There are many different types:
Whether it’s a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and the mini-goal breakdown:
I want to be a millionaire.
So, learn business, learn investing.
Then, learn advertising, product creation, managing, money-raising and crowdfunding. Learn the types of investing, the principles of good investing, follow the leaders in the investing space.
Therefore, what I’m going to do today, this week, this month —
Or if it’s a goal within the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework:
S: Specific – Leave no room for interpretation. You have defined exactly what you want to accomplish.
M: Measurable – A specific and trackable metric – an amount of weight. an amount of money, an amount of time, etc…
A: Achievable – Not too long of a shot that it’s discouraging to think about.
R: Relevant – Makes sense in your life. Not something like, be a rock star if you are 38 and don’t know how to play an instrument and there are more efficient and better goals for you.
T: Time-Based – Give yourself a time-based deadline to make the goal more real.
Or you could outline goals in the 7 key areas of your life:
Just one, simple, baby, move the needle goal:
Floss teeth today.
Or some combination.
The ‘how to’ of setting goals isn’t as important and the actual setting of the goals.
Define the finish line first and figure out how to run on the way there.
You know what you want and you know how to get it.
Run your goal through one of the goal frameworks above, write it out on a piece of paper, or paint it on the inside of your eyelids. Whatever is necessary for it to fit with who you are and how you do things.
The point of a goal is to inspire action — to give you a good, personalized, custom reason to get the ball rolling — to improve your outlook and your prospects. To reward your future self with a better state.
There is magic in that. If you can run it through a framework and still retain the magic, then no problem. But if the point of this is to saddle yourself up with something to strive for, something that gets you going and has you bouncing while you walk, and attaching that saddle to an efficiency horse takes the magic away, then it may not be worth it.
You want to be able to ride this horse out. So know yourself, choose wisely and ride through the rainbow-realm on your robot unicorn.
Worst case, it doesn’t work out and you can try another goal or another goal framework. Iteration is usually the solution to any problem — and you can’t lose if you don’t quit.
At What Expense?
Accomplishing a goal should not come at the expense of quality of life, though. Unless you deem the trade-off worth it, don’t set deadlines and goals that will require misery to accomplish.
Brains catch on to patterns quickly, they are designed for efficiency and are all about saving energy. To accomplish this, the brain will remember connections and thought patterns that are more frequent, and will make it easier to access those connections and patterns by strengthening them as they are used more and more. That’s why repetition is so important and routines and habits are so powerful.
If accomplishing your goal requires you to be miserable every weekday for two months straight, then your misery connections and patterns will end up being pretty well-traversed by the end of those two months. Then, even though you may have accomplished your goal and “improved your quality of life,” somehow, and unless you ween off those connections, you will still find that you are often miserable.
So if a goal is not worth the mind-numbing, heart-wrenching, back-breaking, vomit-inducing, mental and manual labor — then pick another goal and pursue contentedness with a smile on your face.
The Supporting Players
But you’re right.
You shouldn’t just throw goals away because they look too hard or because they might make you miserable. Some goals are worth the struggle. You should be able to pursue a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) without breaking under the pressure or turning away without even getting started. There’s got to be a way… but how?
There are two factors to mitigating misery and sustaining passion for your goal:
- Efficiency Tactics
Motivation. The intangible side of things. The feeling, the emotion, the passion. The spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. The difference between hitting the snooze button and waking up wide-eyed, doing a backflip out of bed.
Efficiency Tactics. The actionables. Through specific actions, getting more for less. Doing the things that save and/or increase energy, improve quality of life and make the hard things easier.
- Read through motivational quotes
- Go through the Average Optimized motivation section
- Come up with a list of ‘whys’ for why you want to accomplish your goal – include the results that you would be happy to receive for the achievement.
- Get your levels up and remember the reasons that this goal or goal-focused lifestyle is driving you and pulling you toward it.
- Remember the unenticing alternatives to a goal-driven life and a growth-focused mindset.
For Efficiency Tactics
- You could read some books like:
- Practice the more Common Tactics:
- And the Less-Common Ones:
and if you choose the growth and goal-focused lifestyle, and want to mitigate misery and sustain passion for your goals, then you may want to Subscribe to Average Optimized.
Self-Motivation and Quality of Life Tactics are half of what Maddi and I find, study, think, test and write about around here.
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So, to recap.
Bob reads this article and decides to leave the river of instant gratification.
His first step is to think of a goal that he would like to accomplish and he decides to go for a BHAG. He shall become an astronaut. So he breaks it down, he needs to:
- Be healthy
- Know space science
- Make connections with other space peeps and astronauts.
Now to break those down into routine actions:
- Workout 3 days a week
- Eat healthy and stay hydrated
- Research how to become an astronaut
- Read atleast one space science book every month
- Visit space blogs regularly
- Attend space conferences
- “Accidently” bump into a SpaceX employee, become friends and impress them with space knowledge and acumen.
Now he’ll assign these to a regiment and a schedule and will be off to the races. When he’s not at work or dealing with other responsibilities, he’s got his eyes on the prize and his nose to the grindstone.
When he feels down, he revisits his ‘why’ list and reads motivational articles. All the while making life better and easier by applying and improving his efficiency tactics, like practicing gratitude, relaxation and meditation.
He sustains the goal, living with a purpose and ambitiously tackling mini-goal after mini-goal.
One day, a few years later, Elon Musk calls to interview him to be an astronaut for their new ISS program because he’s heard great things.
Bob graciously accepts and has now accomplished his goal of being an astronaut.
By starting with a goal, Bob went from candy crush to royal flush and is spending his only life as best as he can — as an astronaut.
It doesn’t always have to be the BHAG. The BHAG is usually for the person who is willing to trade a lot in return for a lot.
The S.M.A.R.T. goals are probably the most economical – some might say, the smartest, and are for those who want to make incremental and significant improvements to their life.
The 7 area goals are for those who are doing a life-audit, who are seeking improvement on all fronts over the course of time.
And the little, baby, move the needle goals are the toe in the water dips that put a little smile on your soul.
So, whether you start small; don’t eat between dinner and bedtime,
or you aim high; start a multi-national cell phone company from your basement —
Having a life that is framed by goals is the best way to live YOUR life. To be the puppeteer, not the ragdoll.
So saddle up and say YAH! and ride your magic pony all the way to the finish line of satisfaction.
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