SMART Goals

In my earlier post, I have written about the importance of setting goals. However simply writing goals will not help if goals are not SMART.

Goals that are not smart are more or less like dreams or desires, not goals. Goals essentially need to be SMART for them to get converted into reality.

Let’s try to understand what SMART means along with an example. Years ago, I was conducting a session on goal setting and I casually asked a participant about any of his personal goals. He thought for a while and said that one of his personal goal was to buy a house. After he shared that, he looked at me, and observing the expression on my face, asked me why I wasn’t happy with his response.

Then I told him that his goal was very vaguely defined and that he should make it SMART. Then I went on to explain how he could make it SMART.

SMART stands for

S = Specific

M = Measurable

A = Attainable

R = Relevant

T = Time bound

Then I started helping him to make his goal smart.

I asked him what SPECIFIC type of house he wanted.. Dis he want an Apartment, a Row house, a Bungalow? Was it supposed to be a One Bedroom Apartment, a Two Bedroom apartment or a Studio apartment. If a Bungalow, would it be a single type or a duplex. He told me that he wanted a 2 Bedroom Hall Kitchen apartment.

Then I asked him to make his goal measurable. I asked him what should be the area of his 2BHK flat. Would it be 800 Sq ft, 1000 Sq ft or 1200 Sq ft. He said approx 1000.. Then I asked him which floor (since floor rise affects the rate. How far from the nearest railway station etc. Since that would also affect the price. Basically we were making it measurable.

Then I asked him to check if this goal was Attainable based on his current source of income, ability to get a loan, current cash at hand etc..

I also asked him to check if this goal was relevant to his life considering his job, future plans, suitability for the next 10-20 years etc. (I know one person who put in his entire investment in buying a flat that he has never lived in since his job would get him transferred to different places. In addition, property prices didn’t rise as expected so his investment did not increase in value as compared to what it would be have if it was still invested in mutual funds or shares.)

Finally I asked him to make it time bound. When did he actually want possession of the flat. I asked him to put a Year, Month and date to it.

Finally I asked him to read out his goal statement and check if it was SMART now after all the additions.

As mentioned earlier, goals that are not smart are like dreams.

So, if you haven’t written your goals in this format, it’s never too late to make your goals SMART. Good luck!!

Goal Setting: If you don’t know where you want to go, which way you go doesn’t matter !!

It is said that everything in this universe is created twice. There’s a first creation in the form of a thought, a design or a visualized image. After this, then there’s a second creation. If the first creation is not done properly, then the second creation usually gets negatively affected.

If one is building a house, then he would first create a design or drawing in great detail trying to achieve everything that he wants in the house. the elevation, plans of the living room, bedroom etc even before a nail is hammered anywhere. If this first creation is not done properly, then he might have to make costly changes later.

The first creation is similar to what we call in life as ‘Goal Setting’. Knowing exactly where one wants to reach. i.e. the Destination.

Most of us have probably read the story Alice in the Wonderland (By Lewiss Caroll) in our childhood. This story has a very important lesson on the importance of Goal Setting.

In this story, Alice, a little girl gets lost in her wonderland and while she goes here and there trying to find her way, she gets lost. While walking around, she comes to a fork, where the road divides into two paths. Now Alice is confused since she doesn’t  know which way to go. Finally she finds a Cheshire cat and she asks the cat as to which way she should go. The cat in turn asks Alice ..”Where do you want to go?” and Alice say’s “I don’t know.” . Then replies the cat “My dear Alice, if you don’t know where you want to go, then which way you go, doesn’t matter” .

What this means is that if we are not clear about our destination, then what path we choose or what approach we follow, doesn’t matter. We must first be clear about our Goal, and only then everything else becomes relevant.

Goal setting is formally done in the corporate world every year where the organization sets its goals, which leads to the Management team’s goals, which then are broken down into departmental goals, and finally individual KRA’s (Key Result Areas) . However, people do  not realize that similar to this, goal setting is also very important in our personal life.

Each one of us, must essentially have clarity on our long term life goals. We must know what we intend to achieve in a lifetime.

Then we must break it down into 3 year or 5 year goals. At least that’s what I did. I had set a goal way back in the year 2002-2003 that by the year 2008, I would have my own firm offering training and consulting services to corporate clientele.  Exactly in 2008, I quit my job and started my consulting and training services. Clear goals naturally lead to flawless execution.

There’s a simple method that I follow for annual goal setting and trust me, this works like magic. For instance, in the annual goal sheet of year 2016, I had written that by the end of 2016 I possess the ability to heal people. Surprisingly,  in July 2016, things happened in such a manner that I actually was able to heal people and since that time till date I have now helped more than 450-500 people in helping them heal themselves from various ailments. Check out my blog category ‘Healing’ for more details.

I recommend that you too could follow this simple system of writing a goal sheet every year. Take a piece of paper and on the top, write the goal achievement date. For example,  you could write 31st Dec 2019 or for Financial Year 31st March 2020.

Then, below that write each goal in present tense as if you have achieved it. So instead of writing I will buy an apartment in Mumbai city, you have to write I have bought an apartment in Mumbai city. You could be slightly more specific too if you want, but don’t be too specific. Let the universe have some flexibility.  The reason why goals have to be written in present tense is because the universe does not understand Future tense. The only time zone it understands is the NOW (The Present Moment). So, this way, write each goal (Financial goal, Health Goal, Education goal, Materialistic goals, Family or relationship goals etc) in the present tense.

Then, at the end of the goal sheet, put your signature. That represents your  commitment  towards the fulfillment of that goal. Keep this goal sheet to yourself and do not make it public or show it to others. I normally keep it at a place where I would come across it at least once every quarter. I read it, and put it back.

Apart form an annual goal sheet (Macro Goal) , It is good to follow a system to write down our Micro goals i.e. a daily To-DO List.  In a separate post, I will share some tips on writing a daily To-DO list.  Till then think about your purpose in life, write down your long term goals and create an annual goal sheet. I wish you all the best. Have a wonderful day ahead. !!

Not getting results: Change your Approach

During school days, we all were taught the importance of perseverance and the need to keep trying despite failure. We all have learnt that successful people are those who kept trying in spite of failing several times. Every time they would fail, they would get up and try again.

‘If you fail once, then keep trying’ is what we have been taught. However, what they probably forgot to emphasize on in school is the fact that while we certainly must try again, we must essentially do something different, or in a different direction.

Very often we fail, not because we do not have the ability to succeed or the effort is falling short, but just because some parameter in the equation for success is not right. Changing this parameter can get us to success. Often, either we need to change the inputs or else change the process.  In either case, a change is required.

A common mistake made by people is that they keep trying in exactly the same way as before and expect better results than before. This would not happen. Principles of science tell us that if we keep doing the same things as before, we will keep getting the same results as before. So if we want a different result, we need to do something different.

I was once visiting the office of a client and came across a lovely quote on a wall hanging behind the Manager’s chair. It was about the definition of insanity and it read.. “Insanity is the process of doing the same things over and over again but expecting a different result every time” . Unfortunately we have a lot of insane people around who keep doing same things as before and then keep wondering why they are unable to achieve success in life.

 

Intention to Reality @ the Zero Point

It is said that we all are born with the ability to have our intentions instantly manifest into reality. The prerequisite is that certain conditions and a particular environment is required for for our intention to instantly transform from a Seed of Desire to a Fruit laden Tree in Reality.

However, very often, since the fundamental principles of this process are not known to most of us, the environment that is essentially required  for this instant manifestation is not available and then manifestation does not happen.

In this post, I am trying to share my understanding of what this environment is all about, and how do we create this environment to enable effortless manifestation of our desires.

We must understand that in order to create something, we must first access the field of the ‘Nothing’ . From the field of Nothingness, Something will emerge after a relevant stimulus strikes it. For example,  if I want to create  ripples, then I need to throw a pebble into a still water body. Then, the intensity with which the pebble transfers its energy (Potential Energy+ Kinetic energy) will decide how the wave or the ripple gets created.

One thing that is important to understand is that in the process of creating a ripple, the environment (i.e. the state of water) is what plays a critical role.  I have a question for you. Think about this. If I drop a huge big rock into the extremely turbulent Atlantic ocean, do you think it will create ripples?  Well the chances are low. However in contrast to this, what do you think will happen if I drop a tiny grain of sand in a completely still bucket of water.  Don’t you think ripples will definitely get created.

In an absolutely still pond, if I drop a pebble, then I will get ripples instantly. There will be nothing to disturb my creation, and the entire force that I have applied will be used in the creation. similarly, when we intend to insert an intention into the universe, the first thing that we muse ensure is a silent still state of our mind and being.

For most people, their minds are in an incessant chatter mode. Their mind keeps  jumping around from thought to thought like a monkey jumping form one branch to another on a tree. Stillness is completely absent. Very often, half of the thought waves are in a direction opposite to the goal or outcome that we desire. Thoughts of Failure, Fear, uncertainty, doubt etc keep creating turbulence in the mind. We all know how at times the mind works more in the negative then the positive. Now, in such an environment, if we insert an intention in the field, do you really think our goals will manifest?

In order to create the perfect environment for manifestation, first create a perfectly still state of your being. Then a simple thought will manifest into reality. During the healing treatments that I do, very often, while I am at the Zero point State of stillness, simply looking at an ailing person or body part, triggers a healing reaction almost instantly. The desire to heal manifests itself in the field of the stillness of my being.

The simplest way of creating this still state is to anchor ourselves in the present moment. This is because, in the present moment, the mind has no existence. It can only exist in the Past and Future, and therefore keeps pulling us in these two zones, to keep itself active. However, in the present moment, it simply disappears, and then what remains in the background is the default stillness and silence which is the eternal nature of our being. Once the ship of our being is anchored in the present, it can move nowhere even if a storm comes in.

I normally simply bring my awareness to anything that’s happening in the present moment and anchor my awareness to that. It could be my body, breath, or even any action that I am performing. Even right now as I write, I am experiencing a very deep level of stillness, I have a feeling as if I have got united and one with the universe, and an integral part of the creative field.

Once this silent state is created, then I simply bring in my awareness to the desired goal as it has already happened, (not as it will happen – remember that the universe does not understand future tense. it only understands present tense) and then I thank the universe for already having done whatever was required and then just release this reality creation pebble in that amazing potential field of creation, thereby allowing the universe to take over and use its infinite organizing ability to create what is desired.

If your being is anchored in the NOW during this process, trust me, not a single negative thought will cross your mind  and therefore, there will be nothing to disturb the universe in its creation process.

 

 

Sensory Acuity

A very important ability for any human to succeed in life is the ability to sense the environment while on the journey towards achieving his/her desired goals. This ability is called as Sensory Acuity. This ability is important for the following reasons:

  1. It helps us in knowing whether we are getting closer towards our goals. i.e. to serve as a feedback mechanism for us.
  2. It helps us to spot problems in advance, before they hit us. If we know what’s coming our way, we can change our approach.
  3. It helps us to predict the behavior of people based on their body language. Remember that people can lie and manipulate us, however the human body is not designed to lie. It usually reveals the truth, provided one is able to read body language.

At a very young age, humans are known to have very strong sensory acuity. Children scan the environment completely and can read the body language of a parent and know in advance what their response is going to be. Also, at a young age, most of the sensory organs are very sensitive to various stimuli. Our sensory inputs come in through our eyes, ears, nose, skin, i.e. touch and taste. It is said that we also have a pineal gland that acts as an alternate sensory organ.

 

As we grow up, our sensory organs lose their ability to sense and very often that is because we do not use these.

For example, we humans lose our peripheral vision as we become adults. You’d remember that in school we were taught that our eyes have ‘Rod cells’ and ‘Cone cells’ (One type gives us Focal vision and the other Peripheral vision) . However, over the years, we get conditioned to just focus, focus and focus, thereby losing our peripheral vision to a large extent. I have read somewhere that focal vision is just 10-20% and remaining 80% is peripheral vision.

So, this means that as adults, we are probably using only 20% of our vision and sensory ability. In fact, we lose a lot of other sensory abilities. for example, do you know that humans have the ability to see without using eyes. We are able to get visual input even from our skin and other sensory organs. A course offered these days, called Mid Brain Activation, can help children (in the age bracket 5-15 Years) to develop this vision. My daughter who has attended this course can see with her feet. if she is completely blindfolded and you place a document under her feet, she is able to read it perfectly.

What I’m trying to tell you is that  with damaged sensory acuity, we are unable to read our environment properly and that reduces our prospects of achieving our goals. We have actually become so distracted that we end up losing 80% of what’s happening around us and again out of what all goes inside, how much we are able to decode and process is probably another aspects that we need to consider.

I suggest that henceforth, whenever you are doing anything, immerse yourself completely in any task. Do not engage in Multi-tasking . Actually, we have a completely incorrect understanding of Multitasking and what we end up doing is Multiple tasks together, which simply divides our attention thereby reducing sensory inputs. When listening to people look at them, and observe their body using your peripheral vision. observe their eyes, posture, gestures and Skin.

 

You will receive valuable inputs that will guide you towards working out your approach and thereby lead you towards success.

Activating the R.A.S

The Reticular Activation System or the R.A.S in the human brain is what helps us find what we are seeking. It helps in spotting that particular thing or highlights those paths in the environment around us that can lead us towards what we are seeking.

To give an example, It works similar to an operator in a Telephone exchange who would connect an incoming caller to someone within a region or organization that he/she wants to connect with.

To activate the R.A.S, we must essentially be seeking something. Then the R.A.S. gets activated and starts hunting for ways, means and paths towards that what we are looking for.

Let me give you an example of how this works.  Let’s say that one fine day, you a desire to buy a red colored compact car. Once once this goal is set, in the next 7-10 days you would suddenly start spotting red colored compact cars everywhere around you. You’ll find them in parking lots, on the highways, at the Toll Plaza and probably a few in your neighborhood.

Note that you weren’t spotting these cars earlier. The cars were always there but now because the R.A.S is activated, it is bringing those into your conscious observation through the sensory route. You might suddenly spot a seller of a Red compact car or probably find a car dealership nearby or spot a scheme for Car finance in the newspaper next day.

Activating the R.A.S is done by means of Goal setting. We need to set clear goals and then also become passionate about achieving each of that goal. Then the ways and means to achieve those goals simply open up in front of us.

It is said that whatever you are seeking in life is also seeking you. However, the meeting point of you and what you are seeking happens when your mind is open to possibilities and is eagerly and passionately looking for that thing. Then the entire universe then conspires with you to convert that goal into a reality.

Flexibility: A critical attribute

In my previous blog on the fundamental principle of success, I have written about the importance of Flexibility in achieving success. Flexibility is critically important in life too. However, remember that here we are talking about the flexibility of our approach, and not of our Goal.

Flexibility is an essential requirement for anything to flow. Whenever we aspire to create a flow, flexibility is the Key.
There is a law called as the Law of requisite variety by W. Ross Ashby. The Law of Requisite Variety is so powerful that it is known as the First Law of Cybernetics. The law implies that the degree of control by any element in a system is proportional to the amount of flexibility of that element.
The element with the highest degree of flexibility will be able to control the movement of the other elements of the system.

For example, in a car, the steering mechanism has greater flexibility compared to other fixed elements in a car. so it gets the ability to control the motion of a car.

In life too, you will agree that flexibility is the key to survival. for example, the most flexible organism will survive for the longest period. Similarly, in a storm, the most flexible tree will survive the storm, whereas the rigid ones will get uprooted.
We too exist in an ecosystem with various entities and stakeholders. If we want to gain control on other elements, we simply need to ensure a high degree of flexibility in our approach.

Success Principles



Success is something that everyone is seeking, be it on personal or professional front. However, in the absence of a reliable formula, we keep trying hard often without success and finally give up. We often keep looking at a few others who have succeeded and wonder how they were able to succeed while we have put in much more effort than them. 


Well ..it turns out that success is not dependent on the amount of effort that is put into a task. It actually depends on whether we are using the right process to achieve success. 


There is a formula for success, which I have figured out after closely observing a lot of people who were successful in what they were doing. The formula is very simple and straightforward and if followed well, can definitely lead one to success. 


Success requires the following two key ingredients. 

1. A Rigid goal 

2. A flexible Approach    


Let me explain the above by means of an example. How many of you have observed children at the age of 5 years. You would agree children at that age have an extremely  high success rate in terms of getting what they want, whether it is a toy, a balloon, cookies or a chocolate. How do they manage this. Do they have many years of experience? have they attended training so as to develop this skill of influencing and convincing?

If the answer is NO, then how are they able to get what they want. How we get what we want, with a near to 100% success rate. The answer is simple. We need to ensure the two key ingredients.

  1. A completely rigid goal and
  2. A completely flexible approach. 


Let’s take a scenario where a 5 year old girl has a craving for chocolates and she knows that nobody at home would allow her to have that since it was time to go to bed and she had already finished brushing. She tries convincing her mother, who refuses point blank. Do you think this girl would go to bed without that chocolate. Never. Now she tries convincing her dad. He too refuses and asks her to go to bed, knowing that his wife will be really upset if he allows her to have it. Do you think the child goes to bed without the chocolate.. Never. now the child tried other ways to get it. Probably tries emotional blackmail with grand parents knowing that the melting point of their hearts is lower .. and if that too doesn’t work then will try other innovative ways to get it. Probably will try whining and disturbing parents as they watch their favorite TV series or if that too doesn’t work, will fall down, cry hoping that parents will give the chocolate to pacify her. 


Only when she finally gets the chocolate, then she’s going to bed. Also, if you try to offer her something else instead of the chocolate, do you think she is willing .. Never. She would either refuse all that or else take all of that and then again keep pushing for the chocolate that she has set her heart on. Parents, however smart cannot negotiate with a 5 year old. 


Now if you look at the approach of the child, you will find that the child is using exactly the same two principles. 


1. A Rigid or Non Negotiable Goal 

2. A flexible approach


These two attributes lead to success. Let’s now understand both of these in a little more detail. 


Rigid Goal: 

You will find that people who are successful always have very clear goals and they have a very high level of commitment and determination towards their goals. They never let go their dreams and goals even when faced with adversity, failure and barriers. They get up and continue on their path even when they fail multiple times. They do not change their goals when they fail. When Edison was working on the light bulb and failed a thousand times, somebody asked him about his failure and he said, ” Now I know 1000 Things that Don’t work as the filament” and went ahead with his work till the time he came across the Tungsten filament. 



Flexible Approach: 


Flexibility in approach means that we try doing things in a different manner to achieve the desired goals. In science, we all know that there is a very simple principle that applies to all experiments i.e. If we keep doing the same things as before, we will keep getting the same results as before” . If we want a different result, then we essentially need to do something different. Successful People know that if a particular approach has led them to failure, then doing the same things again exactly in the same way will get them exactly to the same result as before. Therefore they identify what part of their process needs to be changed and then try again in a different manner, and when they do this repeatedly, they finally land up with the right combination that leads them to success. 


In contrast, unsuccessful people, like horses have Blinkers (Blinkers, sometimes known as blinders, are a piece of horse tack that prevent the horse seeing to the rear and, in some cases, to the side.) These Blinkers prevent people from seeing other possibilities and roads that lead to our goal.


In school, we all learnt a quote that “If you fail once, then keep trying”, unfortunately whoever created that quote forgot to put something at the end … 

“If you fail once, then keep trying — in a different direction” 



People who are creative and keep trying in various ways have a much greater probability of success than those who aren’t.


Action Point:


Ask yourself–> 


1. Do I have a clear goal?

2. Am I committed towards achieving it even when faced with repeated failure?

3. Do I have Horse- Blinders which can enable you to spot different approaches?

4. Am I willing to trying various approaches in the journey towards that goal?


Very often, we lack the courage and confidence to allow the possibility of failure. Successful people know that failure is a step towards success.