This Column Will Change Your Life

July 14, 2007  

Well, at least that is the claim of journalist Oliver Burkeman.  And maybe he is right.  In today’s Guardian (a British newspaper), he wrote:

“One of the most stress-inducing books I’ve ever read is called GOALS!, by the management expert Brian Tracy. It’s not about football. It’s about achieving your GOALS! in life – and those capital letters, along with the exclamation mark, may convey some sense of this book’s strange capacity for tying my stomach into a knot, then tightening it.”

Later in the article, he says this book “reduces you – all right, me – to a gibbering, indecisive wreck, unable to define my GOALS! in the first place, and sulking resentfully about the shouty man who keeps telling me I’ve got to pursue them relentlessly or else resign myself to becoming a person of no merit whatsoever.”

What interested me most (ok, I’m slightly biased) was his final paragraph:

“Life, Brian Tracy is fond of saying, is like a buffet, not a table-service restaurant: you have to buckle down and work hard now, so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labour in the future. But this is surely exactly wrong – a recipe for storing up all your happiness for a brief few minutes on your deathbed, when you can look back smugly at your achievements. Contrast that with the insight of Stephen Shapiro, whose book Goal-Free Living makes the case that you can have some kind of direction to your life without obsessing about the specific destination. ‘Opportunity knocks often, but sometimes softly,’ he says. ‘While blindly pursuing our goals, we often miss unexpected and wonderful possibilities.’ That sounds a lot more smart to me.”

To read the entire article, click here.

If you liked the article, be sure to write him and let him know.  I did.

P.S. GOALS! is probably one of the best selling goal-setting books in history.

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