How important is having something to aim at in life?

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My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

Action Summary

  1. Write out intention statements – what you want for others, not just what you want from them
  2. Write out an intention statement for yourself – what do you want for you?
  3. Intention statements help clarify what you ought to be aiming for … actions and results that will matter in your life.

The WHY:

Have you ever given much thought to the difference between dreams, wishes, goals, aims, and objectives? As you’ve already discovered, we as humans have an innate drive to acquire things and experiences. Humans are aspirational goal seeking beings, and if you don’t have clarity about what you want to acquire in your life, you will be missing out on tapping into a core part of your intrinsic motivation.

I heard someone say recently in one of my programs, “If I don’t have a goal, I can’t fail.

What a strange thing to say. While I get the idea that if you’re not striving for something in your life, you’ll have a lesser chance of being disappointed if you don’t achieve it; this is a statement lacking a sense of self-determination.

Researchers Richard Deci and Edward Ryan 1 have developed a new model that explains what elements form our intrinsic motivation. One of the elements is a sense of autonomy. This is the degree to which we believe we can take positive action on what happens to us in life. Without goals, we tend to be more fatalistic … we’re choosing to let whatever happens, happen.

What Deci’s and Ryan’s research shows is, people who are more self-determined tend to be more engaged in their personal and professional life, and enjoy a range of positive life benefits.

Taking some control to at least aim for something in your life just makes sense. It doesn’t really matter if you call it a dream, a wish, a goal, an aim or an objective or anything else. For now, let’s call it an aim, but let’s focus on an intentional aim – something you want to acquire or experience with an intention that in acquiring it, you will improve the lives of the other people you connect with in your life roles.

Remember, one of your life roles is to look after yourself, so having an aim or aims that are centred around an intention to improve your own life is a positive intention to have.

However, to bring more trust into your professional and personal life, pursuing intentional aims that are solely for your own ego will never be as rewarding as pursuing intentional aims that will have direct and indirect positive impacts on the other people you connect with in your life roles.

Let me finish with this quote from Walt Disney who said:

“Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating those who work with me and aiming their efforts at a certain goal.”

Walt Disney

My best to you for now and remember when you intentionally improve the life of others in your professional and personal relationships, you set up the power of reciprocity … what you give out, you get back.

  1. For more on Deci’s and Ryan’s research visit
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