[February 29, 2020] If there is one thing in life that is certain it’s that you don’t get something you don’t aim for. A few, less skilled leaders will not specific their goals because it is “too hard” or unpleasant. The reason for having clear goals, however, is to have standards that specify what it is failure and success.1
Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto talks about this issue. He notes that by having fuzzy, unspecified goals, we cannot know when we fail, and that makes us feel better in the short term. On the other hand, he says that when we organize the world around our aims, we can see the world better. Our brain functions better when we know where we are going and we are better off in the long run.
The idea of having clear and realistic goals in life is no trivial matter. Practically speaking, we have many goals, and some are high goals. One example of a goal is to become a good person. Anyone having this goal ideally translates it into knowing how to constrain our own inner-evil and work to decrease our laziness, complacency, dishonesty, and cynicism.
The best leaders have clear goals. They also can disassemble their primary goals (like to be a good leader) into micro-actions that they can work on every day. This explicit goal setting gives dignity to what they are doing.
One technique is creating a sustainable schedule of things that need doing. For a real leader, this can mean designing their time that they would like to have that takes care of people in their charge. Some of this schedule is simple; get up early, exercise, eat well, put on a positive attitude, and go out into the world without too much fear.
“Our life is a story with a goal and a purpose and a beginning.” – Dr. Jordan Peterson, University of Toronto
Another method is to write a plan for the future. Part of that plan would be for the leader to take care of himself or herself, as well as taking care of others. This ‘plan for the future’ means creating a vision of the world for several years down the road. Things to consider are family, friends, career, education, and health. Figuring out how this would look in the future is what the great leaders can successfully accomplish.
Regardless how or what technique a leader uses, what they recognize the most is that the first things they must deal with are those things they have the power to fix. After that, the world is open.