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A Different look at goals

Ever since I was 15, I would write a ‘manifesto’ every six months. It included lessons learned from the past, and a new outlook on objectives for the next six months.

Today, I opened my notebook to plan the next 6 month’s objectives. To start, I wanted to get a better sense for what the future held, so I drew a timeline. On that timeline, I filled in my ‘must do’s’, the things I was certain would need to be on the calendar. On the side, I put all potential goals.

This produced some surprising results for me. For my ‘must to do’s’, I had only about 20 days filled. And for my potentials, everything seemed to be up in the air, dependent on each other. The possible combinations were too varied to think about.

For most of my life, I had much more must do’s, which allowed me to more clearily make choices.

The skills needed to make choices in that scenario aren’t so useful in this one.

So, what does work? The first thing that comes to mind is to ignore all choices that depend on other choices — they are too up in the air, and the number of possible combinations will make your brain explode.

Only focus on the decisions you can immedietly act on.

However, this can introduce a secondary problem, where by focusing too short-term, you end up missing out on longer-term investments.

A perfect example of this, for me, was language learning. For the first year that I was in Beijing, I didn’t put much effort into learning Mandarin. I was more focused on business and immediete goals, and thought I wouldn’t have enough time to become fluent. One year passed, I started learning Mandarin, and boy do I wish I learned for that year!

so the soluton looks like, focus on more immediete decisions, but assume that you will be in your current state for longer. This way, you won’t put off objectives that will take a long time.

Thoughts? Reach out to me via twitter or email : )