I often ask people, ‘How many of you want to be financially independent?’ and many people put their hands up. Why then do such a small percentage ever obtain that financial freedom?
I believe that they are setting a goal that is not aligned and congruent with what they value most.
Every individual has a set of priorities, so do you… a set of values that you live their life by – things that are most important to least important in your life.
Whatever is highest on your list of values is something that you’ll spontaneously do.
As you go down the list of values, you have a higher probability of needing motivation, incentives, reminders, and a push to get you to do it.
I often say that external motivation is a symptom of an uninspired goal.
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There’s intrinsic drive, which I call spontaneous activity, and there’s extrinsic drive, where you’re likely to need motivation from the outside.
For example, I don’t need motivation to research and teach. I’d probably need motivation to cook and drive and maybe go to the gym.
So, whatever is highest on your list of values is the thing that you’re likely to spontaneously do. If you then set a goal that’s aligned to your highest value, you’ve the highest probability of achieving that goal. But if you set a goal that’s lower on your value list, way lower, you decrease the probability of achieving it.
An objective goal is different from a subjective fantasy.
An objective goal is something that has objectivity, which means even-mindedness or the pursuit of something that is balanced in its orientation.
Let me give you an example. A young boy who loves video games loves to pursue the game, conquer the game, move on to pursue a more challenging game. He is likely to pursue the challenge and not shrink from it, and will tend to be more willing to embrace the pains and the pleasures in the pursuit of mastering that game.
- Whenever you set a goal that is truly aligned with what you value most, you are more likely to embrace pleasure and pain equally in the pursuit of it.
- When you set a goal that is lower on your list of values, you have a higher probability of doing it if it is easy and not doing it if it is difficult.
In other words, this young boy will play video games and keeping moving up the levels without needing any extrinsic motivation. However, he may behave differently when asked to do his chores or complete his homework, and may even procrastinate, hesitate and frustrate.
When you live according to your highest values, you tend to embrace pleasure and pain equally in the pursuit of a goal.
When you live according to lower values, as a result of setting goals that are injected values because of other people you admire or things you fantasize about, you might reach those goals if it’s easy, and not reach those goals if it’s not.
Your fulfillment level is going to be proportionate to how high up on that value list that goal is.
There is an old proverb that says that when the why is big enough, the how takes care of itself. So, when you have a big enough reason for doing it, when it is high enough on your list of values, you’ll tend to find the solutions to solve challenges and won’t stop, even if it is challenging.
It’s for this reason that it would be wise to set goals that aren’t a fantasy, but instead ones that are real objectives that are aligned with what you value most.
If you haven’t already done the FREE Value Determination Process on my website, I would encourage you to do so.
These 13 questions will help you identify how you fill your space; how you spend your time; what energizes you; what you spend your money on; where you’ve the most order; where you have the most spontaneous discipline; what you think about, visualize, and internally dialogue with yourself about; what you converse with other people about; what goals are the most persistent and consistent; and what you love reading about, studying about and learning about.
In other words, what your life already reflects that you value the most.
These are the things you have the highest probability of setting an objective you may actually achieve.
It’s for this reason that you would be wise not to waste time on goals that are not truly inspiring, truly meaningful, or truly high on your list of values. You are likely to procrastinate, hesitate and frustrate, and may not experience a sense of fulfillment while pursuing them. It’s also when you’ll tend to make excuses and lack the drive needed to push through any challenges.
Every time you set goal – a real goal – you’re more likely to anticipate potential obstacles and challenges you might face and decide how to mitigate any risks in advance.
If something is really low on your list of values you probably won’t take the time to plan. Physiologically, blood and glucose don’t go to your forebrain or executive centre, but to your amygdala – the so-called ‘pleasure center’. As a result, you’re likely to make decisions that pursue pleasure and avoid pain or difficulty, and may instead pursue an easy path, immediate gratification, and addictive behaviors.
This is also where fantasies begin – a fantasy being the pursuit of a one-sided outcome.
Points to ponder:
It would be wise to:
- Set goals and objectives that are truly meaningful, inspiring and high on your list of values.
- Break each goal down into smaller and smaller daily action steps to increase your probability of achieving each one.
- Create realistic timeframes for each of these smaller goals.
- Look for evidence in your life of ways you are already making progress towards that goal. If your life does not show evidence, you may have a fantasy instead of a goal.
- Reassess your goals regularly in terms of progress you have made. If you find you are hesitating, procrastinating or frustrating, you may want to relook at how closely those goals are aligned with your highest values.
- Consider delegating some of your lower priority goals to someone else. They may not be your highest priorities but they may still be important. The art of delegation can be a game-changer when it comes to reaching your goals.
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About Dr John Demartini:
Dr. John Demartini, is a human behavior specialist, a polymath, philosopher, international speaker and published author. He has recently been awarded the IAOTP Top Human Behavior Specialist of the Year as well as the IAOTP Lifetime Achievement Award.
His work is a summation of over 299 different disciplines synthesized from the greatest minds in most fields of study today. His extensive curriculum focuses on helping purpose driven individuals master their lives so that they are able to more extensively serve humanity with their inspired vision and mission.