Since I began my latest round of MAGIC Hundred Goals last week I’ve been steadily working my way through my current. During that time I’ve been inundated with emails and private messages in Facebook from people asking me about the goals I’ve set for myself and whether I’ve set the bar too high and too unrealistic.
Many people tell me that maybe that kind of approach might work for me but for them they might need to do things differently. Maybe, they tell me, they might need to keep their feet on the ground and think a bit more realistically before they start setting the big goals.
To that I always give the simple answer that I’ve used for years with people who seem doggedly committed to thinking smaller than they should.
“If there is no enemy within, then there’s no enemy without”
If that sounds a little too cryptic, a little too metaphysical or a little too ‘flaky’ then let me explain it this way; the only true ‘enemies’ or obstacles to the achievement of your goals are the enemies and obstacles you yourself create within your own mind.
You see, greatness, that over-riding, all-consuming desire to be, do and have the extraordinary in your life is a choice that WE get to make rather than some external decision or some kind of ‘luck’ that only few of us will ever experience.
Greatness is the combined effect of the various choices we make day in day out, week in week out, month in month out and year in year out that shape our actions and, eventually, our destinies.
Make great choices and your destiny (your destination in life) is a great one, hence ‘greatness’.
Given that that’s true (and it is) why is it that so many of us fail to make those great choices that could lead us to the achievement of the great life we all claim to crave and desire so much?
Well, just a little examination reveals EXACTLY why we get pulled off course.
There are 7 reasons. Lets look at them:
1. Indifference – It’s crazy I know, but many people are just plain indifferent to creating a life of greatness. Sure, they may talk about what they’d like to do, they talk about ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…’ but for these people there’s just never enough of a reason to actually get up and walk their talk.
Shame really, because if they have the ability to even think about having more, they have the ability to have more. All they’re missing out on is a little passion, a reason, a WHY?
Having a powerful enough why would propel them into action faster than ever but lacking this they simply talk about, think about but never act on any of their dreams.
2. Indecision – Some people just can’t make a decision. In fact, MOST people don’t really know what a decision really is and so it’s no wonder that they’re stuck in that no-mans land where they take no action whatsoever.
For the record, the word ‘decision’ shares its latin word roots with the word ‘incision’ and means ‘to cut off from all other possibility’. Maybe that’s why most people struggle with making decisions. They never truly cut themselves off from other options and so they to and fro, to and fro between actions and pretty much go nowhere… fast!
A decision about stopping smoking means that you’re not going to ‘try’ to stop but rather ‘that’s it, I’m a non-smoker, I don’t do that anymore’ a decision about losing 50lbs means that you’re not going to drop out of your exercise plan or diet because it’s going slower than you’d hoped but rather “Ok, that just means it’s going to take a little longer before I can eat my first ice-cream or eat my first chocolate bar, but I WILL NOT do so until I’ve hit my goal”
A decision adds amazing strength to any goal. Indecision weakens anything and everything about it.
If you haven’t really made a decision, you haven’t really set a goal.
3. Doubt – It’s amazing how many people set out to pursue goals that they ‘know’ in advance they cannot achieve.
Of course, there’s no evidence that the goals are impossible, rather it’s the individual’s own mindset that says so, yet despite this they still claim to be chasing the goals and that they’re important to them.
Of course they’re not!
How can they be important and how can they possibly chase a goal that they ‘know’ they can’t ever get? It’s all a show. Smoke and mirrors stuff that makes them look like they’re being positive and proactive whilst really they’re looking at all the ways that they CAN’T have what they want.
Let me ask you, how hard would YOU work toward achieving something that truly believed you could never have?
The answer is, you wouldn’t. You’d take the minimum amount of action you could then you’d tell everyone that the goal was unrealistic and wasn’t meant to be, right?
Shame, because you don’t have to 100% believe you’re going to have something come true for you. Sure, it’s even better when you do, but for some of us that’s a big ask, right? Instead, you can just agree to suspend disbelief.
Just stop telling yourself why you can’t have it. That’s enough… for now.
4. Worry – You can’t really separate worry from doubt. They’re both sides of the same coin.
When you doubt the outcome of something you worry about what will happen instead. Will you waste time? Will you waste money? Will you look stupid? Will it cost you your job, your house, your relationship?
Worry can eat all of your personal power away to the point where it’s easier to be indifferent and indecisive than it is to actually pursue the goals that would change your life for the better. Worry freezes you to the spot wondering “what if it goes wrong?” instead of focusing on what it’ll be like when you achieve your goals.
Shame, because that’s the very simple cure and antidote for worry. Focus on the other ‘what if’. The ‘what if all this goes RIGHT?’
5. Over caution – Over-caution is born of worry. It’s the same thing but it’s sneakier.
Over caution may allow you to take some actions toward your goals but it’ll always have you taking the teeniest-tiniest, tippy-toe steps toward them on the pretence of ‘playing it safe’ or ‘reducing risk’ rather than launching a full-scale ‘assault’ of your goals with all your motivation, all your inspiration, all your passion and all your purpose.
Do that and your goal achievement is certain but over-caution tells you that now is not the right time, to be careful, to take it slow.
Over-caution reminds you of the Lao-Tsu quote that ‘a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ but forgets to remind you that the same 1000 mile journey can only be completed by continuing to take steps one after the other until the journey is complete.
6. Pessimism – This is the ‘grown up’ hybrid of doubt, worry and over-caution all rolled into one.
But pessimism’s more dangerous.
Pessimism doesn’t hint at why something may not be possible like doubt does, it doesn’t make you take small half-hearted steps toward your goal like worry does and it doesn’t have you advancing timidly, scared of what’s around the corner like over-caution does either.
Pessimism tells you straight out that what you want isn’t possible, that it’s not worth pursuing and that if you do then something is absolutely certain to go wrong.
Pessimism says to you “the mountain is to high, the path is too steep, the load too heavy and the reward too small small so why bother?”
But pessimism can be killed off by its alter-ego… optimism.
Optimism is merely the sum total of expectation plus excitement. If you can get excited about something and truly work on expecting it to happen then pessimism withers up and dies and bothers you no more.
7. Complaining – This is perhaps the most dangerous of all the enemies of goal achievement as it combines all the other six and brings them into the world in a very real way.
When you give voice to your indifference, indecision, doubt, worry, over-caution and pessimism you start to verbally persuade both yourself and others about how unfair life is, how tough it is to get what you want, how hard you’ve tried yet how many times you’ve been let down and more.
When you do this you create your own little pity-party, attracting to you others who agree with and reinforce your belief that you’ll never get what you want from life and how deluded those ‘positive thinking, goal setting weirdos’ are.
Complaining is dangerous because it manifests negative thoughts into negative reality. The ‘dark side’ of thoughts become things at it’s worst.
Misery loves company. Don’t give it any and it’ll soon look elsewhere.
So there you have them, the 7 deadly enemies of goal achievement. Let them into your life and you’re guaranteed a struggle with every single goal you set for yourself both now and in the future. On the other hand, learn to spot them and kick them out of your life the minute you spot them and your goal achievement is guaranteed.
Now, get to work!