Systems & Tips

One Overlooked Key to Achieving Goals

Band Aid

In Pick Four, Seth Godin has revamped Zig Ziglar’s classic program to goal setting. It’s a pretty simple approach (which is a good thing), but there was one powerful step that caught my eye.

It’s something you probably know about. But it’s something you might not be doing.

And it could provide a crucial boost to achieving your goals.

The Review Questions

Godin writes:

The kicker is the ability to write down what you learned from what didn’t work. Most goal achievement is about figuring out all the ways you’re unable to reach your goal. Only by identifying the dead ends will you be lighting up the path that gets you where you want to go.

At the end of every week, Godin instructs goal setters to review their progress and ask these questions:

What got in the way? What didn’t work?
What have I learned from what didn’t work?

Common Sense?

Your first reaction might be like mine: “This is just common sense. I already knew this.”

You can probably cite quotes and stories about Edison learning from failure while inventing the lightbulb.
Or quotes from Ben Franklin. Or Colin Powell. Or C.S. Lewis.

It’s common sense, obvious, worn-out advice.

But are you doing it?

Thinking Hard

This is more than pulling your hand away from a hot stove. This isn’t about a reflexive reaction to fear or discomfort. (That’s often counterproductive.)

This is intentionally and intelligently taking a good, hard look at what doesn’t work. It’s mining for the gold that’s so easy to miss if you just go with what feels nice.

What isn’t working?
What can you learn from that?
How can you change what’s not working so that it does work?

Photo Credit: ECastro (Creative Commons)

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