Monday, April 6, 2020

Achieve Goals by Beginning With the End in Mind

There are some interesting comments in the post The Importance of Being Smart and here I’d like to discuss one of them. It’s a comment by Chew:
I have something to add to being smart. It’s about beginning with the end in mind.
The objective was to acquire 100,000 arrows, which is not the same as making 100,000 arrows. Most of us would have framed the challenge as “making 100,000 arrows” instead of “acquiring 100,000 arrows”.
No amount of smartness can outsmart the need to begin with the end in mind.

I love it. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in such a situation. When I need to achieve a goal, I often frame it as achieving the goal in a certain way. As a result, I exclude other ways to achieve it.

This, I’m afraid, is a common problem. When people need to get a task done, they tend to do it in the most obvious way or the way that most other people do. This is a bad idea because by definition following the crowd means being average.

That’s why it’s important to begin with the end in mind. Instead of taking the most obvious route, take a step back and get a complete picture of the goal. Then ask yourself: what are the possible ways to achieve the goal? Notice that the question is not whether or not there is other way because there are always other ways. The question helps you find new possibilities you might never think of before.

You can take the concept further by questioning the goal itself. Why? Because a goal is just a way to achieve an even bigger goal.

Just take acquiring arrows as an example. Acquiring arrows is a way to achieve the bigger goal of winning the battle. So you should ask yourself: is acquiring arrows necessary to win the battle? What are other ways to win the battle? Thinking that you need to acquire arrows without considering other options means that you don’t begin with the end in mind.

You can still move further because winning the battle is a way to win the war, but you get the idea.
Applying this principle in your life will give you interesting insights. Just look at something that you do and ask yourself the bigger goal you want to achieve through it. By keep questioning you will eventually find the ultimate goal of your life. You should then work backward and find the best way to accomplish your goals at each level.

Here is an example:
Q: Why do I need to do this job? 
A: To make money
Q: Why do I need to make money? 
A: To be able to buy what I want.
Q: Why do I need to buy what I want? 
A: To make me happy.
Let’s stop at this point. You should now work backward by asking this question:
What are the possible ways to make me happy?

From your answers you might realize that you don’t need to buy stuff to be happy. Instead, there are other possibilities. Let’s say that the best answer you find is giving. Then the next question is:
What are the possible ways for me to give?
This way you begin with the end and move backward to the point where you are now.
Beginning with the end in mind is important. Not only will it help you find more creative ways to achieve your goals, but it will also help you find the right goals in life.

Life Optimizer

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