Goal Setting The Hard Way - Or The Easy ...
by Silvia Hartmann
"The secret to productive goal setting is in establishing clearly
defined goals, writing them down and then focusing on them several times a day
with words, pictures and emotions as if we've already achieved them." -
For a long time, I have observed a very important metaphysical principle in
action - namely if you want something, you don't get it.
The more you want it and the more desperately you try to get it, the less it
becomes available; until you are at a point where nothing at all is coming your
way if the desperation continues.
This goes from finding mates for mating with, to finding customers to sell
things to, to having luck come your way at the race track or waiting desperately
for a taxi to turn up and a million more aspects besides - it is indeed, a law
of nature that the more needy you are, the less you get given.
And this is the tie in with the "motivational quote" by Denis Waitley above.
Please note that he says about goal setting that you should be doing these
things *as though you already had them*.
Let me repeat that, because it is really important - AS THOUGH YOU ALREADY HAD
This is of course the very antithesis of that state of needing and wanting and
wishing and praying - you could think of these sorts of states as a metaphorical
tugging and whining at the universal skirt for some attention.
Indeed, a simple example would be a person entering a bar to illustrate this
point. Let's presume they are desperate (and you know what THOSE sort of people
look like, sound like, behave like!) and they're cruising the place with that
desperate *extension towards* energy - trying to catch something (or in this
Well, we all know what kind of response such a person would naturally get from
everyone concerned - eoow! It is an instinctive pulling away. That same "smell
of desperation" also makes clients back off a vendor, business people back off
of a travelling salesman and interestingly, parents get very rejectful of their
It is an energetic principle in action.
Now, some other person enters our same metaphorical bar and they are not in a
state of need at all; they need no-one because, let's say, they've recently
entered a successful relationship and are just out and about for a drink. They
are happy, glowing attractively and completely relaxed - and as attractive in
turn to all and sundry as a nice bright light in the night would be to any
This is the same principle that rules a lot if not all such energy exchanges in
the Universal flow - you have it, you attract more of the same, feeding the
generator even more strongly and attracting even more in turn.
This of course, is bitterly resented by those who are running that system in
reverse - it's just not fair! They've already got so much love, luck, money,
success and they get *given* even more, and here's poor me with nothing! Could
that damn universe not be a bit more just and distribute it's wares a little
But the energy laws of the universe are indeed, completely just. Like a magnet,
like attracts like and draws more like towards it. Unlike will repell like of
course, in just the same way and the more *unlike* it becomes, the stronger it
repels - and here's our smell of desperation which precedes just by a little bit
of inexorable time passing the complete collapse into itself, whereby our lover
or marketer or salesman will slink off into the shadows and give up altogether
because its just not working.
Of course, there's nothing new about this.
Not only is this system common knowledge, but over the years, people have tried
and sometimes succeeded in *reversing* these systems.
One particular favourite idea was and is that of affirmations.
"I like myself", that super-famous Zig Ziglar affirmation from the 1950s, is in
effect an attempt to reverse the "unlike" system and turn it around, turn it
towards the positive where like will attract like.
If a person can like themselves a little more and so that one particular
shortfalling in the "liking" department has been taken care of, a little bit of
liking from others comes their way, re-enforcing and strengthening the "liking
generator" inside which will start to put out more of that energy, and it turn
attract still more so it's power goes up and up.
However, it is my supposition that without a clear understanding of the
*underlying energetic principles* of why and what they are doing, the "I like
myself" strategy is often doomed to failure.
Dennis Waitley said, if we remember, "that you have you behave with your goals
as though they were already accomplished".
This is of course completely correct structurally but let us back up here for a
moment and consider the many people who have just and for the first time,
engaged in "goal setting 101" perhaps with a first tape from the famous
Nightingale Conant company.
They may be quite poor but ambitious and determined, and they've written down
their goal - let's say it's a yacht they want for a round-the-world trip as a
symbol of having succeeded in making the requisite money to fund that endeavour.
So they write it down, plan out the stages even how to get there if they are
thorough, and found themselves a nice picture of a beautiful yacht sailing
through the deep blue waters of an exotic island setting (happy couple on board,
young and beautiful, clinking their champagne glasses together, smiling and hair
blowing in the breeze in bathing costumes optional).
So here they are, sitting in their dingy bedsit with the peeling wallpaper and
the cockroaches scuttling by, staring at the picture of the yacht.
What is the *energy* they are projecting, and what is the *state* they are in
when they look at that?
This IS THE DECIDING FACTOR to whether or not they are going to achieve this
whole deal that is metaphorised in the yacht picture.
Whether or not they can achieve a state of completely and totally *being in the
yacht state* - no more needs, no more desperation, no hoping and no dreaming, a
completely congruent *being there and having already succeeded* is what is
required to make this particular form of reality creation work as the creator
This is a very different kind of magic from say, a poor boy cutting out a
picture of a big country house and using this to motivate themselves with
endless work and never-resting ambition, totally focussed on making the house a
reality and eventually achieving it.
Now this this poor boy's desire and ambition makes it happen by sheer hard work,
by total focus and by dedicating your life to *doing it yourself* - by yourself,
to the exclusion of other things, other possible lives.
You know such people, I'm sure.
You may even admire them. I do, for I lack such incredible focus and discipline
to make things happen THAT way, the HARD way.
Indeed, to get these two approaches to reality creation mixed up in your head is
one of the great traps in personal development and goal setting strategies.
See, the state of *already owning the yacht* if achieved completely, as is the
state of *I like myself*, are NOT MOTIVATIONAL IN THE CURRENT DEFINITION OF THE
Someone who is already owning the yacht and is now enjoying the fruits of his
labours by the way of states of mind of freedom, happiness, satisfaction,
relaxation and piece is NOT DRIVEN anymore to work all hours of the day with
grim determination to get away from poverty and restriction and unhappiness and
towards that better outcome.
Working from THESE states of *already existing happiness and satisfaction* is a
completely different world, with completely different rules and completely
different ways of getting things done.
Two poor kids, in their respective dank basements.
One is operating from, "I am in hell and I WILL get out of it - WHEN I have
achieved my dream."
The other is operating from, "I have already achieved my dream and now, I'm
going beyond it."
It is actually very difficult in words to describe the difference and how
incredible different these states of being are in the first place; I am hoping
that you can catch a sense of this as I am trying to explain as best I can.
It is even more incredible to consider just what effects these two very, very
different stances on goal setting (or different methods of working with goals)
have on a person's life, on their choices, on their outcomes at the end of the
Let us go back to the very basic "I like myself" as an example for a moment.
In the "hard way to achieving your goals", we have a presupposition that this
person can finally KNOW they are worthwhile and successful WHEN THEY HAVE
ACHIEVED THE GOAL and not before.
So you could say, the liking of self is postponed and conditional to the goal
You could call that conditional approval, if you were of such a mind.
In the energetic/magic version, the person *already likes themselves* because
they have managed to get into that state of liking themselves really and
actually, and regardless of whether they are still in the basement or not.
Now, and being likeable already with nothing much left to prove, chances are
that they will encounter opportunities that the other person could not possibly.
People might like them and help them, for example.
People who like them might think of them and offer them opportunities they had
not thought about before, or give them opportunities in preference to others
whom they do NOT like - a very natural human propensity.
They might get better jobs, contracts, have better connections.
But that is just one of those completely mechanical and easily acceptable and
explicable (in the hard sense!) events we may predict and which would give this
person already a *huge* competitive advantage.
Let's go back to energy and magic, and the fact that like attracts like quite
magnetically and indeed, quite mysteriously.
So this "likeable" person walks down the street and they are much more likely to
find a dollar bill. They are much more likely to be in the right place at the
right time for a great deal, or a golden opportunity, or just some truly bizarre
co-incidence that will benefit them tremendously.
And they'll laugh and accept it quite easily because it doesn't really matter -
their endeavours and businesses are *already* going NOT JUST TO PLAN BUT ARE
EXCEEDING THEIR WILDEST EXPECTATIONS.
In the meantime, our second goal setter, with the hard lists and step by step to
achieving your dream, is working 20 hours a day, every day, and as he looks
across to his ex-neighbour, who is having fun and seems to be floating through
life as though it was a special wind, just made for him to fly, it's not
difficult to understand that this person will get even more dour and twisted,
tries to plan even harder, work harder, bring up production even more, wring
even more profit out of every deal just to try and keep up.
Now, I'm sure as I've been talking to you here, you will have made your own
connections and compared what I said to your own personal experiences, and I'm
pretty sure you'll agree with me that I'm quite right about all of this.
Here and now, we need to get practical and take a step back, sit down on a rock
perhaps and start to consider what we can learn from this, and more importantly,
how we can learn to use this system to our advantage, for the good of all and
harm of none.
There are two distinctly different goal setting systems - one that requires
constant will power, determination, motivation, action and planning, and the
other that requires getting into the state of already having what it was you
wanted and then just letting life unfold as it should.
What we have in most schools of personal development is a mix up and a confusion
between the two.
Simply put, you have to choose either one or the other (for any given particular
goal) because they mutally exclusive.
I don't say that very often because so few things really are mutually exclusive;
but these two goal achieving strategies really are in every way.
One is based on the presupposition that you have to do it alone, with your own
effort and by yourself and postpones the reward to an unknowable future, making
it conditional on your work;
The other is based on the presupposition that you have to do nothing other than
to go with the flow and that the *desired states of being* of the goal are in
fact, the springboard towards the future rather than the end.
If you mix them up or vacillate between one one day, and the other on another
day, neither will work satisfactorily because of their mutual exclusivity.
Either the states of being are in the future or they are here already; either
you have it, or you don't.
You can imagine of the chaos that ensues in a third goal setters life who tries
to do these things sequentially (as they cannot be done simultaneously because
of their polar nature).
Sometimes, they like themselves and things go well - but then they don't and
even all the hard work in the world doesn't seem to bring the schedule back on
track - because of course, if you are waiting to like yourself in the future as
a result of having achieved the goal, you need to do this *ceaselessly* and keep
this hard rowing against the natural stream of things up without a fail, without
a holiday and without *ever* losing your focus and the drivers - not even for a
I'd like to make a little side track at this point and talk about the "drivers"
necessary to keep such focus and determination for any length of time.
Contrary to public opinion, having been painfully poor is NOT enough to keep it
up. Many, many more people have been painfully poor than have ever been
motivated to make a change for themselves with this ceaseless intention and
Also, really, really wanting something to that aforementioned "burning desire"
state is also not enough to drive 24-7 thought and action that may well last for
an entire incarnation and WILL achieve the stated goals in the end.
It is only when both of those come together - the trauma/Guiding Star
conjunction - that an individual will be motivated to work in that way
and achieve whatever they want because it is only then that it becomes their
total priority in all ways.
Such individuals are statistically very rare, simply by the fact that these
driving traumas and epiphanic experiences in the same topic area are accidents
and lightning strikes that just don't come in the right order and sequence very
However, and that is the tragedy of goal setting, if you will, and what has
clouded the issue so profoundly over so many years, these people *become role
models* for generations of others who wish to achieve as they did - but never
can, because those strategies would only work for someone who indeed, was in the
lucky or unlucky position of having both towards and away from deep drivers
pointing in the same direction.
You can't make yourself get up with willpower every morning at 5am and run to
the office, working with total concentration on your business every single day
of the life, to the exclusion of hobbies, friends, family, events, distractions,
sickness, accidents and so on and so on like these special people do if you are
a "normal human being" who has a few traumas here, a few Guiding Stars there,
and a whole lot of hopes and dreams, many of them conflicting, all over the
It is absolutely impossible to keep it up if you don't have the same drivers as
that "successful person" you are trying to model behaviourally or even just
I have called this dynamic the "goal setting tragedy" because unless you know
what's happening or why these people do what they do, it *seems as though they
are better people than you*.
That is a huge tragedy indeed.
I know of very many people who will have seen the schedule of one of those
possessed by their goals and drivers, who have tried to do such a schedule in
real life, have found it completely incomprehensible to do something like that
this intensively for that long and decided that they "did not have what it takes
Wow. How does something like that loop back to our "I like myself" concept? What
does that do for the like attracts like situation?
Not only does trying to do the goal achievement strategies the hard way if you
don't have the drivers leads to failing inevitably, it *at the same time closes
off your chances of success doing it the other way as well.*
Obsessive business people who spend their lives with burning ambition and total
focus are NOT role models, they are indeed, damaged people.
Unless you are one of them, you will only hurt yourself even more by trying to
emulate their damaged and damaging strategies and if you want to succeed at all,
you really need to do this with the second systems option to goal achievement
For this to be spectacularly successful however, you will have to make an effort
to forget the lessons, the structures and the presuppositions of that other
system that demands the drivers you don't have to make it work.
Yes, indeed, I've just done it again.
I have taken a hundred years of gospel on goal setting and thrown it out of the
window. If you have the courage and desire, why don't you and I just sit down
now and get a whole new book, with new blank bright pages, and let's re-write
the "book on goal setting" together so that you and I will get what we want -
even if we're not obsessively driven towards success from every angle, even if
we have values beyond needing to prove ourselves with world domination in
business or by being hailed as a universal teacher or prophet by all, and even
if we are already sometimes happy even though we haven't got millions of people
or money at our feet.
Let's try the second way, the way of energy flow in the Universe. The way that
states that like attracts like and that if you already have something, you'll
just get more than you could ever need.
Let's start again with the basic affirmations, but this time, we will make it so
that when we say them, we use them to actually raise that energy and *enter that
state* completely congruently.
We will test our results in true scientific fashion.
Give it just one week.
If you don't like it, you can go back to the chaos you had before with my
compliments and apologies.
But if you should see some improvements - in how you feel about yourself, how
others are responding to you and how the world feels in general to you, a single
individual, then I would suggest you know you are on the right track and you
will have basically cracked the art of living happily in this your incarnation.
© Silvia Hartmann 2003