High-performance coach and personal growth trainer Brendon Burchard does not believe in S.M.A.R.T. goals. You know the ones: Specific… Measurable…. Actionable…. Relevant…. Time-Bound.
Burchard admits that S.M.A.R.T. goals work just fine, but he thinks they’re lame. He says they keep us playing small. He may be right.
Instead of S.M.A.R.T. goals, the best-selling author, whose books include THE CHARGE, THE MILLIONAIRE MESSENGER, LIFE’S GOLDEN TICKET and THE MOTIVATION MANIFESTO, says he wants you to formulate and get behind D.U.M.B. goals – Dream-Driven, Uplifting, Method-Friendly and Behavior-Driven.
Here’s his YouTube video, “How NOT to Set Goals,” that delineates his own take on goal-making. It is a beautifully expressed, well-argued rant that gets you thinking way bigger thoughts.
As an internet guru who also coaches, Burchard is certainly impressive. In 2015 Huffington Post called Burchard “one of the Top 100 Most Followed Public Figures on Facebook.” He’s the star and executive producer of the #1 self-help show on YouTube and his podcast, The Charged Life, debuted at #1 on iTunes across all categories in multiple countries.
Burchard’s well-attended seminars include High Performance Academy, a “now-legendary personal development program for achievers,” it says here, and Experts Academy, a comprehensive marketing training for authors, speakers, coaches and on-line thought leaders.
LOOKING AT THE SHADOW BEHIND THE SHINY
The thing about goals that nobody (except creaky, ancient wise guys who were probably broke-ass mendicants on the side of the road) points out is that all of our goals are absolute mind-constructs. They’re completely made-up, predetermined outcomes that we want to happen in the Great Someday.
Since nobody knows what the future is likely to bring, how can we know whether this outcome or that one (which we actually made up out of the limited knowledge we have) is the only good outcome? The wise guys wonder about this.
They point out that there are many possible outcomes. Some of them might be really great. Others, not so much. The wise guys tell us that being fixed on just one outcome could actually be quite limiting.
Many of us have experienced times when we’ve been exceedingly focused on a single desired outcome in our lives. We fixated on achieving that one chosen goal or reaching that one predetermined milestone or grasping that one perfect opportunity in our careers and we narrowed our focus down so much that we become blind to and completely missed all of the other excellent goals, milestones, and opportunities that also happened to be dancing around right in front of us.
We are bombarded every day with messages from the media and from other social networks and groupthink tanks that are constantly trying to tell us and sell us on how we, too, can be rich and famous and hap-hap-happy, just like the latest cool celebrity-type flashing across the sky.
Experts abound to tell us how we, too, can hack our lives and ourselves into a semblance of some version of a rich, famous, physically beautiful, powerful persona living a life that is nothing like ordinary. (How can we even think about being happy if we are merely ordinary? Right?)
So, we make up these goals and then we focus and fixate on achieving them, using the goals to motivate us to keep on making our moves toward that better, brighter future that we imagine is just around the corner.
If we’re really good at working them, then we very often do achieve at least some of these goals. We like to think that is a good thing.
However, the wise guys point out that fixating on achieving a future fantasy outcome pretty much means that we are not really looking at where we are. In fact we’re so busy looking at and working toward that one specific sparkly future outcome that it’s unlikely that we will actually be able to just enjoy the moment in which we are currently living.
THE POWER OF DISCONTENT
It’s sort of makes sense, that. You only set out to “improve” things if you are not happy with the way things are. What this means is that goals and discontent probably do walk hand-in-hand.
Once the goal is reached, of course, then you have this wonderful new set of problem-solving skills that sends you off to correct and make right yet another discontent.
Just because you’ve achieved your one, pre-set “I’ll-be-really-truly-happy-when” goal doesn’t mean that you can shut off the future-oriented mindset you used to get it done.
Have you ever noticed how the guys who are really good at reaching their goals always seem to come up with new and bigger and better goals to reach for? They usually don’t stop after they’ve resolved their original discontent. Instead, they just find more discontents they feel they need to fix.
If you fail somehow to reach your fantasy outcome, you are very likely to feel bad and may be prone to beat yourself up about it or lose all hope of ever improving your situation in the way you would prefer. It becomes a whole other movie that is also not conducive to promoting happiness and contentment.
THE FOCUS THAT LIMITS POSSIBILITIES
Fixating on narrow, pre-set goals (especially the ones that are pushed at you by the society in which you live) the wise guys say, is very likely to blind you to new opportunities for happiness that open up in completely new-to-you directions.
With your eyes locked onto your one ultimate goal, you are unlikely to notice any other possible path to happiness and success. Like the racehorse wearing blinders, you can only see the track in front of you and the finish line at the far end.
One alternative to this laser-like focus on some already mapped-out trail is to become immersed in deliberate innovation and creativity, to look at the way the world is changing and to look for the paths that wander off into the untracked wilderness. Then you choose to follow one to see where it might lead.
This YouTube video, called “Change the Game” was published by MindWerx. It points to a way of looking at how the world is changing and how to choose paths to follow that may lead you to interesting places.
You’ll have to pay attention and learn to play with the life that is all around you.
All kinds of questions will come up: Where does this trail lead? What lessons can you learn? Is this side-road a way forward for you? Does this thing work? What about that one?
As the 19th-century English biologist Thomas H. Huxley once said, we must “be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever or to whatever abysses nature leads, or [we] shall learn nothing.”
Here’s a poem:
And this is the goal
When you play in the Real:
To find the still point
That is in you, sitting there
Obscured by World thoughts
And dreams and schemes,
And to stand there looking
Into the Void
Where yin and yang
Do their eternal dance of now.
To reach that high plateau
You have to slog through
Muddy bogs of despair and doubt
That leave your legs encrusted with
A thick layer of mud, which
Falls off in big chunks as
The hot sun bakes the mud boots off
While you climb up the steep slopes
Built by worldly ambition and pride.
And when you’ve climbed many a day and night,
And more, and more, and more,
Through buffeting winds and sudden storms,
Through chill and misty obfuscations,
Through illusion and through dreams,
You finally reach the top
And look out into that wondrous abyss
Of deepest warm mystery.
And wouldn’t you know it?
The next thing you have to do is jump.
By Netta Kanoho
Header picture credit: The Finish Line Where Everything Just Ends by Amy Sian Green via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
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