Having clear goals, strategic orientation towards what accelerates them, and making uncertainty a friend while going about accomplishing them.
The triad of goal-setting 3.0 necessary for winning in 2021.
Let’s explore why and how.
Getting rid of distractions is a critical prerequisite for maximizing flow. And having clear goals at the start of the day, or rather the previous night has always been a force multiplier. And for good reason.
Flow science considers having clear goals (about what we’ll do over a period of time — a day, week, or longer) as a flow trigger, allowing us to preserve our focus & attention (and intention) in the present. And help us get into flow by lowering our cognitive load, and freeing up cognitive and emotional energy for the task/s at hand.
As Steven Kotler, the author of “The Rise of Superman” and “The Art of the Impossible” says, “When told to set clear goals, we immediately visualize our high, hard goals — seeing ourselves on the Olympic podium, the Academy Award stage, or the Fortune 500 list — and think that’s the point. That’s not the point. These high, hard goals are actually distractions that can pull attention away from the present moment. If creating more flow is the aim, then the emphasis falls on “clear” and not “goals.” Applying this idea in our daily life means breaking tasks into bite-size chunks, and setting goals accordingly.”
The message is clear — while goal-setting, we need to find the right stack of both high, hard goals accomplished over one to five years and clear goals accomplished one minute at a time.
This also blends nicely with a profound insight from psychology viz what we pay attention to, becomes our subjective reality.
If I think of a gold medal on the other side of the finish line before a sprint, I will feel differently than if I recall the number of times I haven’t won gold or the number of times a fellow competitor has always beaten me in the final seconds.
As Nobel laureate Danny Kahneman puts it, “nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.”
So instead of just changing our physical surroundings, as Angela Duckworth elaborates, we improve the odds of achieving our goals when we strategically orient our attention.
Swimming With Uncertainty:
Having the locus of control — an individual’s perception about the underlying main causes of events in his/her life, that one can influence the way one’s life turns out by virtue of his/her actions — is critical to training ourselves to get into flow. Yes, there will be uncertainty about the outcomes, but we have to have the confidence and self-belief that we are in control of the actions that we believe need to be taken to us closer to our goal.
And let’s get one thing clear — uncertainty is certain: it’s one of the few things we can count on being with us throughout our life (2021, 2022, etc — COVID or no-COVID). Our ability to accept and honor it beforehand nurtures peace of mind.
In the words of writer Eckhart Tolle, “If uncertainty is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity.” On the flip side, getting upset over things we can’t control, simply burns physical, mental, and emotional energy, that could have helped us with the achievement of our goals.
Making 2021 Our Year:
Let’s pay attention to our appropriate stack of goals, ‘look away’ from those elements that distract our attention or demotivate us, and let uncertainty be our friend. so we can improve the possibility of our 2021’s goals coming true, regardless of what the pandemic world throws at us.