You are well intended.
You are smart.
You are not a loser.
You are stressed to the max.
Everything you wanted to accomplish in the first half of 2009 has either failed or you haven’t put in motion.
You aren’t alone…
Competing Objectives and The Power of Weakness
There is your conscious mind: explicit, logical, emotional, rational; and there is your “implicit mind.” The nonconscious, non-thinking, highly reactive part of your mind…the part that actually drives your car while you (conscious) talk to the person sitting in the other seat.
The reactive part of your mind is that part which is, in large part, pre-programmed to do things well that you already do over and over again….and it comes installed for you, totally ready to survive…. and has been for two million years. Or, if you wish, God programmed you that way at creation. Either way the result is the same. Your genes are plugged into survival.
Your genes don’t tell you to store nuts like a squirrel. Your genes don’t CAUSE you to DO much of anything except survive, have sex (reproduce), find food and flee from danger or eliminate the danger.
From these four factors come 16 core desires that shape your behavior within every context…and every context shapes your behavior.
And, of course, part of that “implicit mind” was also shaped, particularly when you were young.
There are very few contexts or environments that exist that encourage longevity, happiness, success, achievement, long-term security, or anything else that benefits your family and those you love…or your self.
(Failed goals gonna be a common story…)
The fact is that aside from the four “goals” or “drivers” you are programmed with at birth…
The Power of Four Instinctual Drives
I want you to THINK about HOW you FEEL when you are eating food you lust after, like chocolate.
I want you to THINK about how you FEEL when you experience the deep pleasure of sex.
I want you to think about how you feel when you escape or overcome danger.
I want you to think about what compares to those things.
No one has ever run this by you, but here is the reality of life…
There are only a few things that are really like those four instinctual drives, and we call them “addictions.”
Things that provide so much pleasure in the moment that they are equalled only by acting on the four drives in overall PQ (pleasure quotient).
If you were defeating enemies, having sex and then chocolate all day, you probably wouldn’t want cocaine or an opiate to relax with later.
The artificial addictions…all replace that which you don’t get by the necessary “addictions” of life and survival.
I’ll come back to this shortly.
Goals are Not “Comfort”-able
You set a “goal” and then moments or days or weeks later, you have the opportunity to sleep, rest, meditate, bliss out, putter, play, you name it…it makes no difference…ANYTHING is better in the moment than WORKING TOWARD a goal.
By its nature, a goal is typically something that is NOT in the status quo.
Goals are not comfortable, they induce stress and require change. Ants and squirrels spend their lives building a life and giving them survival advantages in harsh environments.
The vast majority of people (to be referred to from here on as “people”) don’t do so beyond bare minimums. The aren’t comfortable with the unfamiliar and they aren’t familiar with discomfort….and ANYTHING feels better than being outside of a comfort zone.
Fighting with the wife…much easier than moving toward a goal. Going to the horrifying office…much easier than moving toward a goal. Being being an ongoing victim of violence…much easier than moving toward a goal.
For people, just about anything is more comfortable and feels more familiar than moving toward a goal, and people will do that which feels comfortable and familiar.
People will fight with the wife, get beat up by the spouse, be an ongoing victim of violence, because it is familiar and comfortable to the brain so long as ultimate survival is not threatened and…survival appears to be enhanced.
People only do what is absolutely necessary for raw survival.
People Don’t Change – Everybody Lies
Dr. House (M.D.), the character on the TV show, says that,
“People don’t change.”
I have a t-shirt that says “Everybody Lies,” and that, of course, refers to everyone except you and me…
Now, many would say that those are cynical points of view.
Let’s look at that for a minute….
“People don’t change.” True or False?
Fact: People don’t change and barely “shift” or “move.”
People marry a girl from down the street or someone with the same last initial (or the next letter in the alphabet) because she sat next to the guy in school or had the locker next to him.
We don’t move much…for anything.
People are unremarkably….lazy.
Lazy feels comfortable. It feels familiar and it feels like tranquility, the opposite of flight/fight.
And that is why Achievers are remarkably different.
Achievers INTENTIONALLY shape themselves or have been shaped by their environment to be a species that thrives on change.
Only Achievers set goals AND have the will and power to overcome their inherent laziness, weaknesses and personal flaws to do anything in life.
Perhaps 10% of people are “fortunate” enough to be able to change…to thrive on change…to need change. And of course “fortune” had nothing to do with not being a “normal person.”
“Everybody lies.” True or False?
Fact: Yes, everybody lies. Deception is necessary for survival and typically for reproduction and definitely for flight and fight. People are pretty good at deception, though 20% or so excel at it. Some for good, some for evil. That …we talk about in a few weeks.
So, for the most part, Dr. House (MD) is correct. People don’t change.
You can predict people’s behavior much easier than you can the weather.
Guy stunk at sales last month…he’ll likely stink this month.
People will do tomorrow what they did today.
Major corporations spend BILLIONS on market research on what products and services will catch on. The research is wrong well in excess of 95% of the time. I show you at Influence: Boot Camp how to know if your product or service will fail. This article is about goals.
Is it Possible for People to Change?
The better question is can people who set goals, who are “normal” people of laziness, perhaps sloth, and definitely entitlement ever become… change into…people of achievement and actually MOVE toward their GOALS?
But…it takes a few things to make it happen.
It takes ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONTExTUAL CHANGE.
The Single Most Important Factor in Change
In other words, the environment, the context is the SINGLE MOST important factor in your behavior.
If you don’t change your environment and context, you will not change.
If you don’t change the most dynamic influences in your life, you will not change.
Those influences are often other people.
People will either push you to change. (We call them pushy people) or…
People will reinforce normal human behavior, to accept welfare, unemployment, to take from those who achieve and redistribute by threat of force and threat of imprisonment to those who do almost nothing to generate value or growth of culture and the environment.
That is predictable. Here’s the cycle…(no charge).
The Stages of Societies
Most societies at most stages of their history will be in an “Entitlement” stage about HALF of the life cycle of a culture.. There are other stages that lead to entitlement.
There is the “Discovery” or “Movement” stage where people find a new land or place or place to work. Usually because they are FORCED TO MOVE or CHANGE.
There is the “Settlement” stage where the people who just experienced months or years of dramatic change “settle in” and establish occupations to create value for the environment.
There is the “Doctrine of Inequality” stage where the 80% who don’t contribute to the value of the environment become angry and decide to punish the 20% who do contribute and redistribute wealth, which never works because the 90% of people who are comfort creatures absorb all wealth only to be entitled to more. (Note the overlap, I’ll come back there in two weeks as well.)
And then the society dies and is taken over by another society that is in the “Discovery” or “Movement” stage.
People’s Lives Mimic the Stages of Societies
The same is true for 80-90% of people’s lives on an individual level.
Some cultures require goals in the harshest of settings…often a requirement for achieving in the long-term.
In China, people save 20 cents per day toward their future. That’s about 10-20% of their income!
In America, people save ZERO cents per day (per year/decade) toward their future… for incomes that are 150 TIMES greater than the Chinese (on average).
Don’t misunderstand, people save perhaps 1% in their retirement funds…it will be gone because of “an emergency” or uncomfortable time in the near future.
There is no necessity in America to save (up until today) because there is no punishment of laziness in the context of the environment.
And, interestingly, in the last decade, our country has talked about one of the last pillars to fall in free societies in the 21st century…national health care.
If people don’t earn it, people can feel entitled to it and be given it.
In China, if people don’t save, people will starve. It is that simple.
Necessity IS the Mother of Invention….and Politics of Destruction.
A Mentor Can Help You Achieve Goals
In order to Achieve Goals You Probably NEED a Coach, a Mentor.
I can’t think of anyone who didn’t have a good personal advisor or coach that achieved in life.
Here’s what the pretend-a-guru will tell you about your goals:
“Work a little each day on your goals.”
Guaranteed recipe for failure.
That’s what got the person to needing 2009 to start in the first place.
They had already, “done a little each day.” In fact they’d probably done a “little” each day for 20 years.
People spend nine hours each day busting their butts at “a job” which gets them nothing but the status quo and a life that REQUIRES balance or insanity will kick in. A life where they must return to the hamster wheel next month or they will be on the street. (the individual level of the end of society)
It’s going to require something close to that to CHANGE and ACHIEVE something that MEANS something.
“OK Mr. Ant, just go do five minutes each day…”
“OK Mr. Squirrel, just go collect nuts for about 10 minutes each day…”
If you get a coach that tells you to do the same things you’ve been doing for the last 20 years, get a new coach.
You don’t need to be a billionaire nor do you need to save the world from it’s impending disasters.
You probably would be wise to prepare for an uncertain future because to do otherwise would be counter-wise…by definition: foolish.
So, what DO you do?
And a life with MEANING…where you are SIGNIFICANT to some group of people or at LEAST some person is not only a good idea it is requisite for achieving goals.
If there was anyone watching “up there,” I’d want her/him to look down and say, “Damn good job Kev, you screwed up pretty bad on Z but you got X and Y, good goin’.”
Either you are a person of significance or you are not.
There is nothing evil or bad about people who don’t act on their goals. That IS the predicted result for the vast majority of people.
It takes MUCH directed and focused action each day to bend the instincts of the nonconscious drivers in people’s lives. For most people, they simply will do anything to avoid the departure from tranquility of familiarity.
People consider it ridiculous to be uncomfortable…do everything they can to be the opposite. And that is natural, normal and to be expected.
The question, of course, is will you be “people” or will you achieve what YOU set out to Do, to Change, to live better not only for yourself but for those you love and for those you wish to create significance for?
In the coming weeks, the final chapters in understanding why goals failed last year and we might as well get to December 31 as quickly as possible so NEXT YEAR…can be different.
I’ve identified 12 of the life patterns which cause us to trip up – and make the same mistakes again and again. To discover which of the 12 patterns you have been the victim of and how to eliminate self-sabotage in your life (or those of your clients) you can pick up the program below.
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