We are all pushed to have goals in life. Be achievement oriented, reach a level, make so much money etc. We have a feeling that if we achieve we will be successful and happy. But is having aggressive goals a way to achieve and be happy? Or is there is an easier and more effective way and happier?
So what’s wrong with goals? Let me see if I can illustrate a few things based on a real story of an old acquaintance. Let’s call him Amit (nice and short). Amit was an IT professional who was running a small IT company. The first time I met him he talked of his dreams (goals). Of which, the most prominent and memorable one was to make 1 Million Dollar before he was 30 – guess that time he may have been 26. Today he is 34 and in a situation where he can’t even return a small amount he borrowed from his best friend. It got me thinking as to why is this happening to an intelligent, capable and hard working guy? Some may say its bad luck but is it really?
My take is – his biggest roadblock was an obsession with the goal of being monetarily successful to a certain degree in certain time. I am not saying that such goals are not achievable but what it really takes is to move your focus from the goal to having a broader ‘purpose with value creation’.
Purpose with Value Creation
A purpose is much broader than personal goals. A purpose looks at the greater good, at what value you are adding to others that pays you back in terms of you achieving your goal. In case of the example of Amit, I remember him trying to sell me tall stories of how he could help me get an investor for my venture without him even making an effort to understand my venture. When one is singularly goal focused we tend to shut down to listening to what others want. We tend to try harder to make things happen without ascertaining its value to others / market.
If we look at all the success stories such as InfoSys, Facebook, Apple – what we learn is their leaders had very high goals but they were really more passionate about a broader purpose – a purpose that kept them going even in tough times. Personal goals just don’t have that kind of propelling power and a person usually loses interest when things don’t start going their way.
Go beyond your goals, have a purpose that excites you and adds value to others and you are sure to meet your goals!