Goal Setting Doesn’t Work (For Me)
My accountability buddy James Taylor and I were talking recently about the “perfect day” version of goal setting. It’s supposed to crystallise the vision and drive us toward it.
In practice, we both just feel sceptical when we read what we’ve written. It doesn’t work.
And that’s okay.
Grant, as another example, advises making your goals as big as possible, and to write them twice a day. The audacious amazingness of them, plus the repetition, is meant to create massive motivation to drive you forwards.
When James and I do that, it feels flat and silly.
Neil Strauss and Tim Ferriss are different, too. They use something else for daily motivation when they’re in the middle of writing a book. They set themselves the daily goal of 2 crappy pages.
They can hit that goal every time, and often they go over and above. To them, that’s motivating. It drives them forwards.
Grant is very different. If he hits a goal, he’s pissed. He calls it “leaving meat on the bone”, that it means there was more he could have done.
Now, yearly goals and daily goals are different things. No matter who you are, your long-term goals should be challenging at least. However, successful people have many different approaches, particularly concerning day to day feelings (like motivation).
The old cliché is true – different things work for different people.
Now that I truly get that, I’m much less worried about all the things I “ought” to be doing but don’t.
From the great and truthful book, What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars, we learn that there are many different ways to succeed, but only a few ways to fail. Successful people come in all shapes and sizes – introvert or extrovert, kind or cruel, “in the trenches” or “lofty” – but the one thing that almost all of them share is an aptitude for protecting themselves from the downside of failure.
Think of Ferriss’s “Fear Setting” procedure reflects this wisdom.
Main Takeaway: Listen to People From Your Cloth
Don’t worry if you tried to work 12 hours a day and burned out. You’re not Gary V, and maybe you’re not cut from the same cloth as him.
Don’t worry if you’ve tried setting big goals like Grant Cardone and you’ve felt no surge of motivation – only a miserable deflation when you didn’t hit them. No matter. He’s just wired differently.
It can take a tremendous amount of self-awareness to see that you are not similar deep down to someone you admire.
You’re actually more likely to admire someone who’s wired differently because you could never do things the way they do.
The dirty little secret is you don’t have to do things the way anyone tells you, and you can still succeed.
You can absolutely be an introvert and succeed while staying true to that wiring.
Take advice from successful people who are wired similarly to you.
They are out there.
And their advice will actually work.