I have been reading self-help books since I was 17, my first book being the age old ‘classic’, “How to Win Friends and Influence People in Business” by Dale Carnegie, way back in 1978! Even now I continue to read books in that category and get quite excited about trying out the ‘new’ concepts presented in them.
One of the most intriguing concepts is the one on “Goal Setting”. Maxwell Maltz in his ground-breaking book, “Psycho-Cybernetics”, Steven Covey in his masterpiece, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Anthony Robbins in his bestseller, “Awaken the Giant Within” and of course, the latest entrant being Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, all propound their unique understanding on the topic. I can safely hazard a guess that any self improvement guru worth his salt would expound his wisdom on this topic.
What I understood from their teachings is that the human brain is a ‘goal-achieving mechanism’ that has to be given ‘what’ to achieve in no uncertain terms, preferably in a written down form with a time limit, and left strictly alone! By keeping ‘first things, first’, you can maximize your chances of achieving them in the shortest possible time. You may even visualize the end result as graphically as possible and your brain, which is akin to a heat-seeking missile, will go after it like a tenacious hound chasing a fox, not resting till it achieves it!
Well! As far as my experience goes, I have seen mixed results. Every year, usually in the middle of December, I sit down and spend a week trying to capture in writing all the goals I would like to achieve in the coming year (not to be confused with my new year resolutions, which are more like boons requested from gods!), in the all areas of my life – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, relationships, financial and professional. At the end of the year when I revisit them, I find that some of them became redundant in changed circumstances, some not touched at all and some achieved. I have never achieved substantial success in achieving my preset goals. I do make plans for each one of them and visit them at least once in a quarter. But it appears that ‘man proposes and God disposes’.