Horizons, Gaps, and Goals

I’m halfway into Dan Sullivan’s Learning How to Avoid the Gap.  It’s been fantastic for me.

As you may recall from earlier posts, I’ve been struggling with the common notions of goal setting.  No matter how hard I try, it seems I’m destined to achieve no more than 60% of any goal I set, leading me to wonder if 60% should therefore be my target from the get-go.

Sullivan digests the goal setting issues I’ve been hitting my head against with far greater insight and simplicity.  First off, he illustrates the issues with the concept of horizons.  Horizon’s don’t actually exist.  They aren’t an actual place.  You can’t go visit or get to the horizon.  A horizon line is helpful concept, a “thinking tool that enables us to come to grips with physical space.”

Ideals are our “horizon.”  We don’t get there; we can’t get there; but like a horizon, ideals become a thinking tool that supplies us with direction and inspiration.  It is helpful the have a big vision or concept of “perfect,” as long as we don’t measure ourselves against it.

Sullivan goes on to speak actual1 vs. actual2.  Actual1 is where you were.  Actual2 is where you are now.  Goal setting is used the get you from actual1 to actual2.  Goal setting gets you closer to the ideal.  Goal setting however, cannot be used to get you to the ideal.

Sullivan ties all the loose ends by encouraging Type B personalities, and discouraging Type A.  Type A people are miserable because they measure where they are at (actual2) against their ideal.  Type B people find happiness because they measure where they are at (actual1) against where they were (actual1). 

The key therefore to successful goal setting, at least goal setting that doesn’t leave your emotions in a bundle (my primary concern at the present time), is to shoot for and celebrate forward progress over final destination.


2 responses to “Horizons, Gaps, and Goals

  1. Great reminder, Brian. I think that I all too often fall into the Type A category. I see my lack of “reaching the horizon” as failure, and therefore I give up on setting goals altogether to avoid the let down. However, my lack of goal-setting leaves me stagnant. I need to remember that goals are good, it’s my expectations that should change!

  2. Forward we go Berta. Forward we go!

    I think I could be happy setting small goals.

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