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01/22/2008

Universal Truth For Attaining Greater Success In 2008

It is the entrepreneur�s dream to idle away lazy afternoons on the white sands of a tropical beach. Success certainly affords, among other things, an excuse to relax and enjoy the fruits of one�s labor. But as many dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneurs have discovered, there is only so much time you can spend fly fishing or lounging in a hammock before the urge to do something new begins gnawing deep down.

Soon enough, everything around you suggests a new or overlooked opportunity. Every cocktail napkin becomes a sketch-pad or whiteboard. Or that great idea, long stowed away, keeps you awake late at night.

Indeed, success also provides resources, credibility, experience and�most of all�the confidence to attempt things. The only thing harder for an entrepreneur to pass up than a good idea, is that same idea coupled with the knowledge that �I�m good at doing this sort of thing.�

Entrepreneurs, therefore, need no prodding or motivation to get up and try something new. They can�t help it...it just happens. What is not so automatic is the notion of attempting something ambitious, relative to your past accomplishments. If you�re attempting something that doesn�t make you feel at least a bit uncomfortable, then you probably aren�t growing.

While you may be successful at completing a less-than-ambitious project, it will be a hollow victory. Worst of all, you will fall far short of your own potential.

Assuming you wish to continue growing during this lifetime, in whatever capacity you choose�skills, experiences, wealth, sophistication, etc.�then you must continuously push yourself. Whether it�s soloing in an aircraft, learning a new language or speaking in public, you must occasionally do something that is unfamiliar, difficult, or even scary.

Serious Goal-Setting

If you've read similar articles, you probably need no explanation of the power of setting goals. What is not so well-known is that a few of your goals should deliberately be very difficult.

In numerous studies, research has demonstrated that effort and performance are directly proportional to the goal�s difficulty level, up to the point where the goal becomes no longer believable (at which point effort tends to cease altogether).

But here's the clincher: Performance is maximized even when the goal is not achieved!

How is this possible? If you look closely, most things that people attempt are not truly binary. That is, they�re neither measured as all-or-none nor as success versus failure, but instead are a matter of degree. While the goal may not be reached, performance was indisputably improved...and that is the key.

Research overwhelmingly suggests a new approach to goal-setting�set very difficult goals for yourself and then recognize and reward partial success. It�s better to earn 80% of a $1-million income goal, than to earn 100% of a $500,0000 goal. This can be hard to get used to for highly aggressive, goal-setters who writhe in pain at the thought of failing to meet a goal by its deadline. But fear not.

The research also shows that failure to reach one�s goal is still highly motivating to people, especially when the goal was missed by a narrow margin. Reaching 80% of your goal stimulates you to try that much harder next time, and reinforces your overall belief in the goal�s attainability.

True, there are bigger risks when attempting bigger things. But that�s what pushes us to work harder, so as to minimize risk. How? Fear creates stress and that stress forces the mind to adapt, coming up with ever better approaches and solutions for minimizing the risk. That is what raises us to the next level of performance.

(Reprinted with permission, www.mygoals.com)


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