responsibilities. They're socially rewarded for their diligence or conscientiousness, butthey long for a sense of freedom ... even a mere few minutes would be a reprieve!Goal setting, as a tool, has its utility. We all need a compass. We all need a dreamthat excites the living daylights out of us, helping us spring out of bed in the morningwith vibrancy and enthusiasm. If you hit your snooze alarm seven times beforeforcing yourself to the chore of trudging into the bathroom, looking forward only to astiff cup of coffee, you clearly need some goals — positive, exciting ones enwrappedin a vision of the kind of lifestyle that makes you feel a sense of resonance with theworld.That's why I use the word
. It resonates more with who we are and thefundamentals of human motivation. Dreams are about, at their core, feeling andemotion, passion and revelation. Dreams are internal standards you want to live by— guides ... not rigid outcomes to artificially judge yourself against.In my work with top executives, surgeons, artists, and athletes, I see too manypeople held back by goal setting; people who use this tool to set laundry lists of exercises and meaningless accomplishment measures. They are unsatisfied with theircareers, out of balance between work and life.The reason? Goal setting has five significant downsides when it comes to happiness,exuberance, and a true sense of fulfillment:
Goals, by definition, are ideals — where you want to be and how you're going toarrive there. The disconnect is that the real world gets in the way. Plans andschedules are never absolute. Clients and colleagues change their minds. Weatherrolls in unexpectedly. Politics emanating from Washington shift after an election. Theeconomy rises and falls.If you ascribe to goal setting to set your course, it's easy to lock yourself into toonarrow a definition of success. Write your goals down and review them feverishlyevery single day, and you'll miss opportunities, I guarantee it. Think of the billion-dollar products on the market that came about because of mistakes, that weren'tplanned out or systematically engineered, or weren't intended for greatness: Post-itNotes, Silly Putty, the microwave oven, Newman's Own foods, Velcro, Teflon ... thelist is a mile long.There isn't one path to excellence. In fact, the most successful people in this worldtwist along pronouncedly convoluted paths. In doing so, they also learn that
are not synonyms
. For most, thinking that there is such athing as perfect is a sure way to impede growth.
is first on the list. They can stretch their minds to look at existing problems infresh and interesting ways, breakthrough ways; they can see through details,