Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Goal Is To Have No Goals, But To Have...

Today's post was inspired by one chapter in Rod Judkins's book, The Art Of Creative Thinking. So, it's kind of unconventional, many people might find it illogical, which is understandable because you can't have too much logical thinking in creativity. 

Anyway, the point of this particular chapter of the book is discussing why people tends to over-rate the "goal setting" and its "side-effects". For example, if you've set a particular goal, especially those S.M.A.R.T. goals* (e.g. achieving financial independence in 2020), you might fall victim of the following side effects:

1. When you have goal, the route to it becomes a labour. Put it another way, it is too linear and anything linear is hardly fun or interesting. 

2. The imagination becomes closed to other possibilities. A goal limits your actions. There isn't room to explore other pathways. 

3. The goal usually need to be precise and has time-limit. This is exact reason why goals backfire - they encourage us to focus narrowly.

So, what should we do if setting goal is not the right thing to do? As per the author, rather than identifying goals, it is better to identify areas of focus. Two key points by the author in differentiating goal and area of focus:

-  A goal defines an outcome but an area of focus establishes what to spend time on.

-  A goal is a result, an area of focus is a gateway.

So, if the goal is to "achieve financial independence", then the area of focus would be "things/stuff that you like to spend more time with before and after you've achieved the financial independence"?

Not sure whether I've illustrated the points correctly, what do you think? 


*S.M.A.R.T. Goals are defined as goals which are Specific, Measureable, Achieveable, Realistic and Time-specific


  1. Don't set smart goals but set stretch goals or band range goals. Lol

    1. CW8888 : Hahaha, ya.. something to work towards to and not so rigid! Good point there :-)

  2. The most important thing about goals is having one. It gives my brain something new to look for and focus on.
    But goals are means not just ends. They are means to enhance enjoyment of the present. They should provide meaning and pleasure. Thus goals should turn into something I do on a regular basis. You might want to call it a System.
    Example from the exercise realm, running a marathon in under four hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. Which one is more meaningful?

    1. Hi Andy, I think you can articulate the same point much better than me, your analogy is a good one too :-)


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