Friday, January 04, 2008

Making specific goals helps you 'know thyself'

I wrote about SMART goals a while back. Good goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. What does it mean for a goal to be specific? It does not simply mean precisely stated and detailed, but it also means that the goal must be specific to you and your motivations – not someone else’s goal.
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Ask yourself, “Why do I want to achieve this?”
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Then ask yourself, “Why does that matter to me?”
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Then ask yourself, “So what?”
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Keep asking “why” or “so what,” drilling down into your motivations for your goals. When you get to the point that you can’t answer “why” or “so what” anymore because you just stammer around and can only come up with something like, “well… just because…” you have dug as deep as possible into your motivations. You are working at the level of worldview or presuppositions about how the world works. To know thy presuppositions is to know thyself. Take the following dialog as an example...

Socrates: What do you want to accomplish this year, dear friend Ursus?

Ursus: I want to get better at judo.

Socrates: What do you mean, “better?”

Ursus: Well, I want to get better at newaza.

Socrates: Why?

Ursus: Because Rhadi told me that more and more judo guys are studying BJJ to get better ground game.

Socrates: So what?

Ursus: So I want to be able to use Rhadi’s strategies that he taught me to take matches to the ground and win.

Socrates: Why?

Ursus: Because I want to win.

Socrates: Why?

Ursus: Because that makes me the best.

Socrates: So what?

Ursus: So I want to be a winner.

Socrates: Why?

Ursus: Well… because... I just like to win. I think it's fun.

Socrates: Well, it sounds like you know yourself, Ursus. You know, some Chinese guy I met at a philosophy convention told me “know thyself and know thy enemy and you won’t be defeated in a thousand battles,” or something like that…

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Don't forget the Call for Submissions for Carnival #5. The theme for this month is related to non-violent resolution of conflict.

1 comment:

  1. Y'know, it's like I told my oldest son when he was playing baseball and we practiced a lot: it's not that you have to win, it's just that going out on the playing field and feeling like you have no chance to win pretty much takes all the fun out of everything.

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