Tag Archives: Goal

If You Want Something, You’ve Got to Reach Out and Take It

Several months ago when I was still a student at George Mason, I was sitting in one of the coffeehouses on campus. Well, actually, it was the Starbucks. I differentiate Starbucks from coffeehouses because I know that some folks don’t necessarily see Starbucks as a coffeehouse anymore. Nonetheless, I was sitting in Starbucks, probably writing a post. In fact, I think it may have even been a Monday and I was working on a post for the list of biases in judgment and decision-making. Anyway, not entirely relevant.

As I was sitting there, I noticed a stranger ask a table of two if he could use one of their computers to charge his phone (they didn’t have their computers out). Invariably, I knew he was going to make his way to me and ask if he could use my laptop to charge his phone (he happened to have his USB charger, but not a charger that plugged into the wall). When both of the girls declined and he turned to me to ask if I’d be okay with it, thoughts of espionage raced through my mind. I think this was about the time that I had just spend a weekend watching a number of episodes from Alias, so “spy-stuff” was on my mind. Eventually, I caved and let him use my laptop to charge his phone.

As his phone was charging and he was waiting for his ride to arrive, we chatted briefly. I don’t remember how we got onto the subject of politics, but we did. He told me that he’d written a couple of books of poetry and sent them to the White House — to President Barack Obama. He also had written one to former President Clinton. I was quite shocked that he had been so bold as to send books of poetry to the 44th and the 42nd presidents of the United States. In fact, he even gave me a signed copy of the one he sent to Pres. Obama. More than that, he received responses from both of the presidents. In an updated edition of the book he sent to Pres. Obama, he had a picture of the letter he received from Pres. Obama.

Shortly after this, our conversation ended as his ride arrived. When he left, I got to thinking about the gusto it might have taken to drum up the courage to write a book of poetry and send it off to the President of the United States. Many of us may balk in anxiety at the kind of response we might get (if we even get a response!). Paralyzed by fear, we fail to reach for our dreams. If you want something, you’ve got to reach out and take it. This is exactly what this gentleman was doing. He wanted to write something for the President and he did — and he sent it to him!

I bet there’s something in your life that you’ve been putting on hold. Something that you’ve thought, ‘Oh well, I’ll do that later,’ or ‘I’ll wait to do that until I’m ready.’ I contend that TODAY is that day. Today, you are ready to do the thing you’ve been waiting to do. Don’t wait for your future. Reach out and seize it – today!

Thirty-Five Years Later… A Dream is Realized

In 1978, a young woman stood on the shores of Havana, Cuba, and set out to fulfill her dream of swimming from Cuba to Florida — a 110-mile journey that includes sharks and plenty of jellyfish. The young woman wouldn’t succeed in her attempt that day. Nor would she succeed on the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th tries. In 1978, there’s no way that she could have known that she wouldn’t have succeeded that day or that she wouldn’t have succeeded on three subsequent tries. Yesterday, however, on her 5th try, Diana Nyad successfully swam from Havana to Key West.

By now, no doubt, you would have heard of this incredible story. A triumph of perseverance and dedication. She had a goal and she wasn’t going to let anything keep her from it. It’s absolutely incredible that she first began this goal over 35 (!) years ago. Many of you out there probably can’t remember the goals you set 10 years ago, much less 35!

One of the most striking things I found about this story was how much has changed. For instance, when Nyad first stepped into the water in Havana to achieve her goal, she probably wouldn’t have guessed that the ‘achievement’ wouldn’t have happened for 35 years. Nor would I imagine that she would have guessed that her name and her story would have been trending on Twitter (what’s that, by the way?) or something called the internet. 1978. In 1978, there wasn’t even a Commodore 64, yet!


You’ve probably got some lofty goals. You probably hope to achieve them soon — great! Nyad’s story is a perfect example of why you needn’t give up on your dreams. If you’re looking for some inspiration, she’s certainly got a bucket full.

If you enjoyed this story, you’re probably also going to want to hear Nyad speak after she completes this 110-mile journey. You can see what she said on the last video at this link (Sorry, couldn’t embed it!)

Note: I thought I had embedded a video from ABC, but it turns out that the embedded code didn’t agree with WordPress. You can view the video that I tried to embed at the link above.

Macro Goals and Micro Quotas: How to Beat Procrastination

A few months ago, I saw a YouTube video from Tim Ferriss answering a question on a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). If you’re unfamiliar with AMA’s, they’ve become a rather common way for famous (and sometimes anonymous because of where they work or what they do for a living) people to answer questions from fans. Even Barack Obama did one.

Anyway, Ferriss did one of these a while back and for at least one of the questions, he did a video response. The question boiled down to procrastination. People look at Tim Ferriss and think that he mustn’t have to fight procrastination given that he’s just turned 36, but he’s published 3 best-sellers, is a polyglot, has travelled the world, and is an angel investor or advisor to Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Uber, etc. Apparently, these people would be wrong. Tim Ferriss has to battle with procrastination just the same as you or I. In the video below, he offers some really important tips for dealing with procrastination.

A couple things I want to highlight: he’s just like you or I, as I’m sure many people you’d think were “other-worldly.” As the saying goes, he puts his pants on one leg at a time.

The second is the idea of macro goals and micro quotas. He absolutely hits the nail on the head that many people are paralyzed with anxiety in the face of an extraordinary goal (write a bestseller, climb Mount Everest, play professional sports, etc.). The key to hitting these macro goals is to set micro quotas. Ferriss shares the anecdote from a friend of his who has ghost written 60 (!) books:

“Two crappy pages. That is my quota. Everyday, I have to write two crappy pages. That’s it. If I write two crappy work pages, that day is a win.”

You can make your dreams come true. You’ve just got to know the mechanism, first.

Your Goals may be SMART, but are they PURE and CLEAR, too?

If you’ve ever been to some sort of personal development seminar (or any seminar where action is called for), there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of SMART goals. That is, “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.” However, have you heard of the less often mentioned PURE and CLEAR acronyms that seem to go hand-in-hand? Maybe it’s part of the “advanced” seminar course [tongue-in-cheek].

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be at a Barnes & Noble. As I was walking through the store, there was a book about decision-making that drew my attention (I’ll have more about this book in future posts). As I thumbed through the book, there were many familiar models/theories (SWOT analysis, etc.) and one of those was SMART goals. However, as my eyes glanced over the section on SMART goals, I noticed that there were two other acronyms: PURE and CLEAR. Intriguing.

I bet your wondering what the acronyms PURE and CLEAR represent? At the time, I certainly was. Without further adieu:

PPositively Stated







EEnvironmentally Sound



Now, one could argue that some of these overlap (ethical and legal or environmentally sound and ethical), but there certainly seems to be value-added in these two additional acronyms. Though, I don’t know how much incremental value is added. If you’re someone who’s never heard of SMART goals, I would certainly stick to that model to start with. However, if you’ve heard of SMART goals (and have used this method!), then I would think about adding PURE and CLEAR to your method of goal-setting.

[Note: I couldn’t find a Wiki article on PURE and CLEAR, but I did find two resources that may prove to be useful. This first one appears to be a PPT slide in the form of a PDF with all the acronyms (including SMART). The second one appears to be a blog post from someone detailing what is meant by the acronyms for PURE and CLEAR.]

Which Type of [Soccer] Goal Do You Prefer: Individual Effort or One-Timers?

[Editor’s note: I didn’t realize that I was missing an ‘R’ in the title until after this post was already published. As a result, the permalink to this page does not include an ‘R’ in “one-timer,” but the title now does.]

First, I want to recognize that most of the world refers to “soccer” as football and I respect that. Since I’ve grown up in the West, I’m still used to calling it soccer. With that out of the way, I thought I would ask all of you which kind of “goal” you prefer: goals that required a great deal of individual effort or goals that were the result of one-timers.

Right now, FIFA is hosting a poll to help select the “favourite” goal of 2012. I put favourite in quotes not because of the spelling, but because I think it’s important to name the measure by which these goals are being voted. I re-read the paragraph a couple of times to make sure that it wasn’t referred to as the “best” goal or the most “athletic” goal or something else like that.

So, after watching the 10 goals, I noticed a bit of a divide. About half of the goals seemed to happen as a result of a great deal of individual effort. Similarly, about half of the goals seemed to happen as a result of a one-timer. The voting closes on November 29, 2012. There are a number of confounding variables here (the first of which would be the number of “fans” for a given team or a given player), but I think it’ll be fun to see which goals make the top 3. It’s not specifically stated when, but after the voting closes on the first poll, at some point, FIFA will re-post the three goals that earned the most votes. We could say that if there are two goals that are one-timers, fans prefer one-timers and if there are two goals that are “individual effort,” then fans prefer individual effort.

Again, this is not scientific, but I think it’ll be fun. Let me know in the comments — which kinds of goals do you think will have more votes?

It didn’t seem necessary (or right) to embed all 10 of the goals on this post. So, if you’re interested, head on over to the FIFA page to check them out.