Throw Your Goals Out Again!

I got a lot of comments from different sources regarding my post Throw Out Your Goals.  There were a few misconceptions that I want to cover.  First let me list some of them:

  • Goals are important to accomplish what we want
  • Brad Pitt has good genes and is lucky
  • Success is defined differently for different people
  • Just because you love something doesn't mean you'll be good at it
  • Not every one can do what they love and get paid for it

 

There were plenty more.

Let's start with defining success.  My first post never defined success.  It defined certain people's level of success but never went as far as gave it a definition.  In this post, I will remain ambiguous on the definition of success.  Because who ever commented and said success is different for different people is correct.  I know a man who thinks he's successful because he's raised healthy, intelligent children.  I know fighters who've beaten great opponents who believe their own performances were below par.  Hell...Donald Trump hates being a multi-millionaire, and only considers himself a success when he has multi-billions.

Success is much like a goal.  Once you reach it, your work, the process to attain it, doesn't stop.  If a fighter won her first fight, she doesn't stop training.  She continues to train for the next fight.  If she's won the world belt in her weight class, then she still has to continue to sharpen her skills for her first title defense.  What happens when she defends it successfully?  Celebrates?  For sure!  Beware.  There are others who are hungry for her belt.  Back to the process.  What if she loses?  Back to the process.

I love this one.  Brad Pitt has good genes and is lucky.  I'm not denying his good genes and looks.  What I do deny is his luck.  To say he was lucky is to deny the hard work he'd committed, wearing a chicken suit, working odd jobs, before he got his first major role.  Look at Steve Carrell.  He was an unknown comic for twenty years until luck struck him.  Luck?  No.  Hard work and perseverance?  Most definitely.  

And good looks was never a prerequisite for success in Hollywood.  With over a million good looking people in Los Angeles, it doesn't explain Jack Black.  Now, some find him hot.  But he's doesn't fit the traditional leading man look.

This next one is good.  You can't make a living doing what you love is a lot of people's excuse to settle for mundane jobs.  I'm not saying quit your day job, lose your house, die of starvation.  Keep your day job, but work on what you love during your free time.  John Grisham is a great example.  He was a lawyer for ten years before he wrote his first novel.  He got to the office two hours before he started his real job, wrote, then started on his case list.  The awesome thing is he published his first book.

If you don't think you can make a living doing what you love, then you won't.  Simple as that.

Think you'd suck being a parent?   You will.

Believe you can run a marathon?  Follow up with action, and you will.

Whether you think you can or can't, you're right.  Henry Ford said that.  He wanted to create a V-8 engine.  He surrounded himself with brilliant engineers. You know what they said?  Can't be done.  Ford pushed them forward, told them it was possible.  Through several failures, it was done.  Look it up.  True story.

The last one I want to tackle is:  just because you love it doesn't mean you can be good at it.  Crap.  In Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers:  The Story of Success, he talks about mastery of skill.  He'd found one commonality among all world class musicians, artists, athletes, etc.  What is it?  Ten thousand hours of practice.  You want to be a world class anything?  Here it is, ten thousand hours of work.  That's why you gotta love the process, not the goal.  Love the process, the goal will come many times over.

Throw Out Your Goals

Brad Pitt. A friend on mine told me a story about him. We were talking about how we’re surrounded by people who’ve not only chased their dreams, but have achieved them. What most people don’t see is their perseverance. Pitt had dropped out of college, moved to the city of angels, did a lot of odd jobs like wearing a chicken suit to promote El Pollo Loco for years, before he landed his first major roll in Thelma & Louise. Now he’s one of the biggest movie stars in the world.

There was a study done on a high school class. The study followed late into their adult lives. It found those who stuck to one career path had earned and attained more than their combined classmates who didn’t. This story has floated around the self-help industry for many years, and is rumored to be just a folk tale. But its prevalence tells us a truth.

I was talking to a friend, and she’d reconnected with one of her long time classmates who works for Coke. This person is about ten years younger than I, but has climbed much higher on the corporate ladder. I’d always moved from job to job. She’s worked for Coke since high school, about eight years now, and illustrates an important point about consistency.

A few years ago, I went to a Renaissance Faire. I love them. My girlfriend at the time and I were watching a turtle race. Each person would place bets on a turtle of their choice. The race started. Contestants yelled and screamed, urging their turtle to crawl faster. One turtle, slow and steady, made great headway and was literally one step away from crossing the finish line. Then it stopped with one foot stuck in the air. All it had to do was place the foot down, and, bam, it won. It just froze. Another turtle from behind took the win.

So what’s the point? Once you find your passion in life, follow through with it. Whether success is truly overnight—it does happen—or takes time, love the process. If you love to act, go into every audition and act! If you love to work on projects for your company, or love reaching sales goals, go in every day and love working.

For the process is really what we love. The goals matter little. Why? Well what happens once an actor becomes a huge movie star like Pitt? What happens to the sales executive who reaches their ultimate sales goal? They continue to act, continue to sell, continue their work. All of them display a high level of dedication (knowing what they want), focus (loving what they do), and take each step toward their dreams (doing what they love).

Love your work. The goal will come.