Goal Setting

How Your Ego Can Help You Get Your Goals

Do you find it hard to reach your goals?

Are you consistently giving up on your goals and then feeling a failure for doing so?aim-for-success

Well, it’s time to buck the trend and finally reach your goals.

I’ve just read a great description by psychology expert  Steven Aitchison of what goes on inside our minds when we are setting and seeking our goals.

You may have heard the terms, Id, Ego and Super Ego. These were terms coined by Sigmund Freud as part of his theory of the personality.

  • The Id is the part of you that craves pleasure and the basic desires in life. When it gets the basics it moves on to other pleasure seeking thrills.
  • The Super-Ego will give you all the reasons why it will or won’t work. It will look at the successes and failings of your past and correlate it with your current goals.
  • The Ego is the go between for the Id and the Super-Ego trying to satisfy both of them with reasoning and acts like the mother/father figure.

So your aim is to satisfy all 3 parts of the personality. How do you do this?

Here are 3 ways Steven suggests to reach your goals quicker:

  1. Play to your strengths: This allows less chance for doubts to creep into your mind.
  2. Smaller goals for larger gains: Make your goals something that will be easily achievable at first.
  3. Communicate your goals on different levels: When you set yourself a goal, make sure to communicate to your mind on different levels such as visualisation, writing it down and listening to interviews of people who have already achieved the goal.

All of this helps to entrain your brain into thinking about success and directly communicates with the Super-Ego to appease it and make it believe you can achieve your goals. In essence, you are giving yourself evidence that your goals can be achieved.

Read Steven’s full article on goal setting

Why Failure is the Most Important Factor in Success

It can be frustrating and costly when things don’t go the way you want them to.

Because, when you set out to do something, there’s no guarantee that the result you’ll get is the result that you want.

However, you will always get a result or outcome of some kind.

So, when you’re not getting the response that you want, the important thing to recognize is that you need to do something differently.

It’s amazing how often people keep doing the same thing, even when it doesn’t give them what they want.

But equally you’ll never know what you need to do differently until you try doing something.

If you want to be a top performer, you’ve got to take every opportunity to get feedback from others and adapt what you’re doing according to that feedback.

So one of the most important beliefs you can have is that ‘there is no such thing as failure’.

There is always something to learn from whatever outcome you get.  Many of the great achievements and discoveries in history have happened because the people behind them were willing to get it wrong many times before they finally got it right.

One of the best-known examples of this is the commitment Thomas Edison put into making the electric light bulb viable. He didn’t actually invent it but his work did make commercial production possible.

Of the months he spent trying ideas that didn’t work he said:

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Edison’s attitude was each of these attempts was a necessary step on the way to getting what he wanted. A lesser person would have given up but he believed in what he was doing and kept on responding to the feedback he was getting until he finally got his desired result.

That’s the kind of attitude you need in order to be successful in business.

Successful business people listen carefully to the response they are getting all the time and then alightbulbdapt what they are doing to ensure they get a different result.  It is not for nothing that they say ‘feedback is the breakfast of champions.’

You should never think, “I failed.” When you get a different result to what you wanted, you should think, “Great, I’ve learned something new! What can I do to make progress?”

The power of feedback
In business, another way to look at feedback is as a testing mechanism.  Even when you feel that a communication has been successful, you should consider whether another approach might have been even more successful.

In fact, if you are considering making any sort of major change or investment, it is essential to get this kind of feedback before you commit yourself to it too deeply.

Feedback only works, however, if you look for it.  In face-to-face communication, for example, that means you not only have to listen to what people say but you have to carefully watch their body language and facial expressions.

Arguably listening is the most overlooked skill in communication.  The old adage that we have two eyes, two ears and one mouth and that we should use them in that proportion has a great deal to commend it.  Yet so many people are inclined to speak first.

In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin comments:

“In conversation, knowledge is obtained rather by the use of the ears than of the tongue”

His success in a wide range of fields from electricity to publishing and politics suggests he knew a thing or two about knowledge.

Overall, the more willing you are to adapt what you are doing in response to feedback – the greater chance you have of success.

The key point is that when you accept there is no such thing as failure, it removes the excuse for procrastination and perfectionism, which hold many people back from action.

So, to move faster towards the success that you want, consider these two questions:

  • What one thing can you do in the next 24 hours to move you closer to the goal you want?
  • How will you know whether it was successful or if you need to do something different?

Getting What You Want: The One Thing You Need

In this modern age of instant gratification, it’s difficult to wait for something you want, isn’t it?

We’re used to moving at a fast pace and having our needs met immediately.

Moving through a process of growth and development seems to take forever.

We want to reach our goals now, not later. We want to be successful now, not later. We don’t care how we’ll feel later, we care about how we feel now!

So sometimes, on the road to success, the one thing we need a little more of is patience!

The important thing to understand about patience is that it’s all in your head. It’s only your perception of lack in this moment that keeps you feeling impatient!

‘Lack’ is an uncomfortable feeling, so you feel a sense of urgency to eliminate it. You want to hurry and satisfy your need so the feeling of lack will disappear.

But it’s not the lack that actually makes you feel uncomfortable – it’s the belief that you need ‘something’ to make you feel whole and complete and happy.

In this case, achieving your goals and becoming successful will make you feel happy, so you naturally want it to happen immediately.

Since it is virtually impossible to snap your fingers and change your circumstances just like that, allow me to offer some other suggestions for easing your sense of lack:

aim-for-successSet reasonable expectations

Your expectations can often get you in trouble by setting you up for disappointment. Even though you know it’s not likely that you’ll achieve your goals without investing some time and effort into the process, you still have a secret expectation that you’ll see results very quickly.

When it doesn’t happen, you feel let down and angry. Don’t do that to yourself!

Instead, lower your expectations a bit. Rather than expecting overnight miracles, expect to keep making steady progress.

Rather than expecting to transform yourself into a different person right away, expect to feel more and more confident each day.

If you pay more attention to the progress you’re making than the progress you’re not making, you’ll find yourself feeling much more positive and self-assured.

Celebrate small victories

If you focus ONLY on the big goal at the finish line, you will miss out on many moments of joy and satisfaction between now and then.

Make a point of celebrating the small victories you achieve on a daily basis.

Did you face a fear and take action anyway? Did you set aside time to work on your goals? Have you been working consistently on building a more positive outlook?

Feel good about it! Allow yourself to feel a sense of accomplishment about even the smallest forward strides.

Enjoy the process

Imagine taking a trip around tbig-smilehe world and keeping your eyes closed the entire time. What would you miss? What would be the point of taking a trip like that in the first place if you didn’t bother to take in the beauty around you?

Yet, that’s exactly what many of us do on the journey of life. We keep our eyes fixed on our destination and miss out on the journey itself.

Instead, make an effort to enjoy the process of growth. Enjoy the sensation of becoming the perso
n you were meant to be.

Enjoy every step you take and the final step of your journey will be that much sweeter.

Patience can serve you in many other ways too, but most importantly it can make your journey to success much more enjoyable.

It’s worth the effort, don’t you think?