From what I have read I understand most Psychologists believe everyone should have a major professional goal in their life. In my considered opinion, one major goal is not enough but I guess it helps to focus. Having a number of goals to aim for is more realistic because when you are young it is sometimes difficult to choose the employment or professional direction one wants to take.
Although I know there is pressure on young people to make an early decision – “early” meaning in the first years of High School – on what type of employment one should pursue, you should always be prepared to amend those thoughts.
You might be surprised to know that I didn’t decide what I wanted to do, the professional direction I wanted to take, until after I completed my final High School exams. I am sure you now know that I changed my mind and direction on numerous occasions thereafter.
It doesn’t really matter. You mustn’t consider yourself a failure if you change direction. We are all entitled to review our decisions and hopefully make better choices.
We go through so many different circumstances in life. Believe me when I say they always feel more significant to young people. These circumstances and changes may include moving house, changing schools, meeting new friends with different objectives for themselves (thus exposing you to new ideas). Your family’s financial circumstances may also change thus affecting a further change in plans and opportunities.
Life throws up many changes and challenges – some expected and others not considered in your wildest dreams.
Once you make a decision about the general direction you want to head how do you decide what is necessary to get there? What are the most important matters to consider in setting and achieving your goals?
Have you heard of Warren Buffett? Most people in the business world certainly have. He is one of the richest men in the world – a self-made millionaire. Actually, he is a billionaire and is currently considered to be the second richest person in the United States of America.
Warren Buffett once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
The clear message is one should plan early, plan well, and nurture the results of that planning and effort. You will eventually reap the benefits.
We can always learn from others. Now I am not suggesting you should aim to be financially wealthy in your life – although as an afterthought I think that would be useful as a means of looking after your grandparents in their later life (hint, hint) – because a wealth of experiences, happiness and lifestyle are all more important, but Warren Buffett’s experience and wisdom bear consideration.
Take a few minutes to think about Warren Buffett’s message. Put simply, his message suggests one should stay focused.
How does one develop the focus and nurture the tree? It was reported that in a discussion about success with his private jet pilot he asked the latter about his goals in his professional life.
“You must have dreams greater than merely flying me all over the world?”
“Yes I have sir, but do you really want to hear about my aims?” asked the pilot nervously.
“Yes, indeed I do and please don’t be embarrassed,” came the polite and considered reply.
The pilot apparently listed a number of objectives. Buffett smiled at his pilot’s grand plans, not because he considered them too extravagant but because he considered the list too long.
“Excuse me for smiling but with respect, may I offer some advice on that list of goals,” came Warren Buffett’s rhetorical question.
The pilot nodded eagerly and Buffett proceeded to offer advice.
“You need to take three important steps:
1. Put pen to paper and write down a list of twenty-five career goals.
2. Think long and hard about them. Analyse your strengths. Take your time and do some serious soul-searching and then circle the five highest priority goals. As hard as it might be only circle five.
3. Most importantly take a hard look at the twenty goals you didn’t circle. Remember, they are no longer your goals. You must avoid them at all costs. These are the things that can distract you; they eat away time and energy and take your focus from the goals that matter most.”
My dear chilliwops, this is a simple formula to achieving your objectives. Taking the time to write them into your notebook – you do have a notebook, don’t you – has the effect of reinforcing them and making them more meaningful. It helps raise your level of awareness of those issues and helps maintain focus. Keep it simple.
It can be difficult to make a selection of twenty-five goals and even more difficult to pare them down to five but it is also enormously satisfying to realise you can let go of the distractions and can maintain focus on the key goals in life. In a sense it is rather liberating. It becomes difficult to ignore that list of five.
Stay loyal to the knowledge gained from this simple exercise. Staying persistent, consistent and focused – nurturing the tree – will achieve success.
*Anton Clever is well into his seventh decade … a former teacher, soldier, farm hand, lawyer and businessman (not in that order). He has travelled extensively for business and for international clients. More recently he has started writing … currently a thriller (which will probably not be worthy of publication, he says) and has written but not published a series of “postcards” from various places (including, but not limited to, Victoria, Papua New Guinea, England, France, USA, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Iran) referring to experiences in those places. He has also written for several magazines on unusual subjects but matters worthy of debate.