A few months ago, I wrote about the two driving forces in every decision we make. Each decision you make is based on your attempt to avoid pain or pursue pleasure. In many areas of our lives, pain seems more intense and therefore, most of us base our decisions trying to avoid pain. Take someone who is out of shape for example. Are they out of shape because they do not possess the knowledge to get in shape? No, we know what it takes to be in shape, but we also know it’s hard, it takes work and commitment. For some, the idea of not eating what they want and working out is more painful than the pleasure of being in shape. Being in financial shape is not different. We know that we need to budget our personal finances and we need to earn more than we spend to be in good financial health, but some people associate too much pain with not spending, so they spend. Each person has their own associations with pain and pleasure. In the article I wrote a few months ago, I focused on the benefits of pain and how it is necessary to reach your goals and how we should not avoid it. Success does not come easy and pain is part of that journey.
Knowing that pain is positive helps us when we are going to make a decision that could cause pain, but that knowledge alone might not be enough. What can make a big difference is our ability to focus on the pursuit of pleasure over the avoidance of pain. The idea is to make the thought of the pleasure more powerful than the thought of the pain. This is done in two ways:
Obviously, we know goals are important in business. In fact, some will argue you will not be successful without them. What is not so easy to understand is why goals are so important. By having and focusing on goals, you are focusing on what you want, which is the pleasure we get from the decisions we make. When you are newer to business I would suggest focusing on a SMART goal, but my SMART goal might be a little different than what you have been taught.
Specific: The more specific your goal is the better. Your picture of what you want should be very clear.
Measurable: A goal like getting into shape is not only not specific but it cannot be measured. How will you know when you reach it? Great goals are easy to measure and know when they are accomplished.
Action Focused: This is the one that changes a little from what others are teaching. When you are getting started, created goals that are based on actions will help you. This is because they are easy to accomplish, and you can create some momentum. Small success leads to great things. For example, you might want to make a goal that you will make 5 offers each day or each week instead of doing one deal a month. Although you might want to do a deal a month, the focus should be on the actionable items that will get you there.
Reasonable: This is one that is challenging for a lot of us. We hear that if you shoot for the stars and miss, at least you will land on the moon. Although I do believe that we need to think big, I also understand that we need to believe our goals are attainable or we will not hit them. Our mind is so incredibly powerful that if it does not believe you can hit the goal… you can’t. My advice is to make short term goals that stretch you, but that you believe are possible. As you start hitting your goals you will be expanding your mind and can create bigger and bigger goals. There is also nothing wrong with dreaming or setting lofty longer-term goals. That too can be very positive in your development.
Time Based: As mentioned above I like the idea of short term goals. My preference is a year or less on the actual goals that you are going to focus on. Monthly goals work well. There should also be rewards for hitting these short terms goals. In no case should your goal not come with a definitive date to accomplish.
I have written several articles and posts about this, so I will not spend too much time here, but it is important to mention that it is my strong opinion that your why is the one fail safe way to have success in anything you do. As long as your why is big enough, you cannot fail. Period.
The second way to shift your focus to the pleasure is your big why. Your why is very different than a goal, as it might not meet any of the SMART criteria. It is huge, much bigger than you, and is often something that is hard for you to even realize you are capable of accomplishing. Your goals will be based on this, but it is not something that you are tracking in most cases. It is often times much bigger than you, like leaving a legacy or helping or starting a charity. It is my why that keeps me going when things get hard and it is my why that helps me make decisions that I know will cause some temporary pain. It helps you bust through fear.
By focusing on your dreams and your goals you will be able to look past temporary pain, so you can create lifelong pleasure. Combine this strategy with the knowledge that pain is positive and you will be unstoppable!
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