Against the Grain

May 22, 2006  

Here is an email I just received from a reader that I thought I would share with you…

Hi Steve,

I really enjoyed your book.

I just thought I would share my story in case it has the potential to help other people. Over the years, I’ve learned that if there’s one thing that will rob me of any enthusiasm and motivation for any endeavor, it’s coming up with a measurable goal to achieve a result. This self-knowledge hasn’t stopped me from hitting my head against this particular wall countless times. Don’t 95% of all self-help books suggest writing down goals? And I read a lot of books.

But eventually the time would come when I’d realize that I’m actually hindering attaining the goal by trying to adhere to the timetable too strictly, and I would end up ripping up the 3 by 5 card, the Word document or sticky note. Destroying the words that came to represent a vice to me. I always felt freer and more motivated after I “forgot” the goal, and sometimes later, a lot later, I’d realize I achieved it without even trying! And I had a better time doing it.

The Q&A section of your book gave me a valuable insight into why goals have never worked out for me quite like I wanted them to. Your section on personality types led me to look up a personality test I took years ago, and just as I thought, I’m not a Judger but a Perceiver. It’s quite pronounced actually. All these years, I’ve tried to fit myself into a box of what success was supposed to look like. I remember the Yale study distinctly (Note: In the book I point out that a frequently quoted study on goal setting at Yale was an urban ledgend). How many goals did I write down after reading that story for the umpteenth time!

Anyway, I’m very grateful for your book because among other things it reinforced what I already know, but what I continue to struggle with – goals really don’t work for me. So the next time I’m tempted to write down a goal, I will think twice about it, remembering that there are other more fulfilling ways to approach life. That I can kick this addiction once and for all!

Thank you,
Caroline

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