Leaders Must have a Personal Aim

By | September 4, 2020

[September 4, 2020]  Look at those people in the world that we admire most.  Often, these are sports figures; people on a team that possess a positive attitude, which are good sportsmen against the competition and can lift up others.  While these folks work for their own personal aim to be the best they can be, there is something more significant to be had.

Not only do such sports leaders work for their own improvement, but they also do so in a way that simultaneously works for the improvement of their team, for the sport, and has its spillover into the broader culture. This is not a philosophical idea; it’s a concrete idea that works across cultures and has historically been shown to be true.

Unlike philosophy or theology, a sport is acted out visually.  That is why nearly everyone so quickly identifies with a sports team and individual players.  If a person can play well with others – which is the hallmark of a good sport’s member – then that means the leader is a reasonably sophisticated and civilized person.  It’s essential to play well with others.  Dr. Jordan Peterson notes that doing so is the grounding of ethics.

Leaders and everyone should have s noble aim in life.  A “noble” aim is one that gives your life-sustaining meaning; the meaning that keeps away or at least helps us deal with catastrophe, chaos, and calamity.  Failure to have such an aim allows us to suffer, and suffering leads to hopelessness and bitterness.  When we are hopeless and bitter, we can get mean and cruel, and that is when we hurt others and ourselves.

So what should our aim be?  The aim, of course, is about orienting ourselves to accomplish what is most important.  Leaders must have a personal aim because that is where they derive meaning.  And, without that, things go to hell.

Rule 2 in Dr. Peterson’s book is “Treat yourself like you’re someone responsible for helping.”  This is an excellent place to begin to attain a reasonable aim.  Look three to five years down the road and look at what you want (being practical, of course, and what you’re willing to make sufficient sacrifice).  A reasonable aim is one that is within our grasp, something realistic and attainable.

We know from scientific research into the human mind that once a person has an aim in life, they can begin the formulation of a plan to attain it.  The aim helps us also structure our perceptions.  Your brain helps show the way, showing obstacles in that path and open pathways.  This is how the world reveals itself.  And that is why a leader (or anyone for that matter) must have a personal aim.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

20 thoughts on “Leaders Must have a Personal Aim

  1. Albert Ayer

    Not many folks realize it but if you don’t have a personal aim or appropriate goals in life, you are not going anywhere worthwhile. Remember …. pursue responsibility which leads to satisfaction, ignore the desire for happiness which can be fleeting.

  2. José Luis Rodriguez

    Without a personal aim (or high goal) in life, things start to go bad early on because you are just drifting along and that is never good.

  3. Valkerie

    General Satterfield, thank you for making my day. This all makes plenty of sense to me.

  4. Eddie Ray Anderson, Jr.

    Each of us has the unique ability to THINK and REASON. If we wait for others to determine who we are or we don’t decide ourselves, then we will never live up to who we could be.

    1. Greg Heyman

      Right, Eddie, — and we will never be of help to our families, community, or society in general. Get a grip folks and have a personal aim.

    2. Yusaf from Texas

      Eddie, it is interesting how so many people have no personal aim but when something comes along that grabs their fancy, pow, they jump on it. Like the looters in all the major US Democratically run cities, they see an opportunity to “steal, loot, burn, and destroy” in the name of a “good cause.” That gives them a temporary but bad personal aim.

  5. Jerome Smith

    Excellent blog posting today, Gen. Satterfield, thank you.

  6. Tracey Brockman

    At least have a plan for your life, even if it’s not a great plan, at least have a plan that you can work toward. If not, you will forever be adrift in the world and bad things come to those who drift. Just look at the average drunk. The drunk has no goals, no vision for the future (only “now” matters), and no desire to improve themselves.

  7. Willie Shrumburger

    Here is the sentence I found to be most useful.
    “A “noble” aim is one that gives your life-sustaining meaning; the meaning that keeps away or at least helps us deal with catastrophe, chaos, and calamity. ”
    Now, who can argue with that? So, the obvious next question is, Where do we start? If we follow what Gen. Satterfield has written in the past, the starting point, the most basic starting point, is to tell the truth or at least never tell a lie. Simple but very very hard.

    1. Shawn C. Stolarz

      Good point, Willie. I agree with what you say. I also agree that this is the key to the article.

      1. José Luis Rodriguez

        Never overlook the old sage advice given to us by our parents. One of them was certainly “have a personal aim.”

  8. the ace

    Another super article, Gen. Satterfield. Thx. These are helping me get my act together as a new team leader at work. Please keep your website online for those of us like me who appreciate your works.

    1. Newtown Manager

      That’s why I’m here too. I’m a relatively new reader, yet every day now I come to this site for a little bit more inspiration and look to a different perspective and way of thinking. That’s very important, a new way of thinking from those who are proven successful senior leaders.

  9. Ronny Fisher

    Dr. Jordan Peterson has a collection of his lectures on Youtube. I highly recommend that folks here go there, search is name and listen to several of those videos. Many are very long, like his series on the Bible, but are vastly worthwhile to listen to. I would like to have those lectures written so I could go back and read the parts I highlight, but alas, that is not there yet.

  10. Army Captain

    I agree that a leader must have a personal aim but also they must have a well-articulated mission.

    1. Forrest Gump

      Correct. The whole point here, I think, is that a leader that doesn’t have a personal aim will drift and have problems regardless of their leader skills dealing with other people. A person that has no personal aim is adrift in a sea of chaos.

      1. Tom Bushmaster

        It is not uncommon for someone to have both a personal aim (one that is doable and reasonable) and a mission (for the team, like family, community, and work). When both are realistic, then things will go that persons way all his/her life.

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