I am 5′ 11″ tall.
Another person, let’s call him Mike, was also 5ft 11 inches tall. In his sophomore year, he failed to make the varsity basketball team classed as “Too short to play at that level”. But Mike was persistent. Every time he felt tired, he would close his eyes and visualize that list in the locker room that did not have his name on it. That made him go back to his practice. Instead of stopping, it kept him going.
Mike didn’t make excuses, but he set a goal and continued to perfect his basketball game. Mike went on to become one of the most admired, and probably the greatest basketball players of all time. People know Mike as Michael Jordan! He has said, “I failed over and over again, and that is why I succeed“.
Michael Jordan had a goal, and he worked hard, persistently to achieve that goal.
Why is goal important?
You have probably heard or read these famous lines from Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.
If you don’t know where are you going, then it doesn’t matter which road you take. Every road has its own obstacles, own rewards and own destinations. Roads may intersect, may be easy or hard but that’s all it is – a road. A pathway to take you from A – where you are, to B – Where you want to go. So, its important for you to know what your B is. Where do you want to go? (Of course, there is a WHY you want to go there, but that’s a topic for some other day!)
Sometimes its not easy to find where you want to go. Why? Because the world is full of temptations and comfortable choices which may entice you and provoke to make an easier choice rather that what your potential is.
There are a number of methods to set goals and create plans to achieve those goals. Many of us use these methods to create our business goals, or professional goals on a regular basis. Still, we are not able to set life goals which are much more important. Why?
Normally, we use a method to set SMART Goals. Goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound. If you can have SMART goals, you can plan to achieve them as you have a time frame in mind to plan for, and they are relevant to your life, as well as they seem achievable. Its a good idea. But not the best if you are trying to get an extraordinary life.
What is the problem with SMART Goals?
So, here is my suggestion to you, if you are serious about Goal setting and achieving your goals. Learn from the Laser. A single ray of light can not do anything to a piece of metal. But when the same light is focused with intensity – as in a laser beam – it can shred the metal to pieces. Same is the power of focus on your goals. Yes, Goal Setting is important. But once you have the goal, the focus and relentless execution is what turns the goals into reality.
My goal is to get 100,000 pages views of this article. I can write that goal on paper. I can hang it on my wall. I can get it tattooed on my forehead. But until I focus, and put effort towards getting 100,000 views, I am not going to get anywhere close.
Meet Arjuna. A warrior from the mythological epic of Mahabharata, Arjuna is known for his skills of archery or bowman ship. He had sharp eyes, and he focused on his goal. One day, when his teacher, Guru Drona was testing all his trainees, he asked them, “What do you see when you look at the bird on the tree”. “I see the bird and the leaves around it”, someone said. “I see the tree, the sky, the bird,” said the other student. As the students got their chance, one by one, everyone explained how they see the bird, the wings, the beak, the leaves, tree, sky, etc. Finally, it was Arjuna’s turn. Guru Drona asked him to shoot the bird’s eye, and asked him what did he see?
“I see the bird’s eye”, was Arjuna’s answer.
Sometimes, having that laser focus is difficult to achieve. Like many other things in life, you can practice and build this capability.
Here is an exercise that might help you build this FOCUS muscle. Here are some tips for goal setting and focus like Arjuna.
- Go to anyplace where you think there will be a few distractions.
- Pick one object, preferably stationery, and try focusing your attention on it.
- In the beginning, it will be difficult – but you’ll need to train your mind. Your thoughts will wonder, and you’ll need to bring them back to the object of focus. Try this exercise for 5-10 minutes multiple times each day.
- This will train your mind on focusing and reduce distraction.
Now, decide on ONE key objective or goal of your life. Make sure you know WHY you want it. You must have a burning desire to achieve this objective. Think of all the reasons why you badly need to get this goal. Then – FOCUS only on this one goal. Leave everything else aside for the time being. So, if you want to be standup comedian – but your have a promotion due next year that needs you to spend over time working. Think again. What do you want more – being a standup comedian, or that promotion? Only you can answer this question.
I am guilty of working on multiple projects at the same time – and the results were not good. I ended up running my ventures in parallel and even though they were successful – not even close to what they could’ve been if I had 100% focus, energy and effort in those projects. Its a lesson I learned the hard way – and that is why I want to share with you.
After the goal setting – FOCUS is the key to achieving this goal.
In order to achieve your most worthy goal (the one which you are focusing on), you’ll have to say NO to hundreds of other ideas. Each idea will sound good, and unique, and worthy – but if you have made up your mind, then don’t get distracted. I closed Vastram Rental after spending a lot of time, energy and money on it because it did not seem like a goal I could focus on. There are plenty of examples in industry where a great product, or project, was shelved because the founders lost focus.
In Steve Jobs’ words – “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas.”
So starting today, FOCUS on your one big, great idea. Put everything else on the backlog.
Let me know how are you getting close to focusing on, and achieving your goal. Share your story, your feedback and lets all focus on hitting the bullseye of our goal – like Arjuna.