T29 – Day 5


Day 5-7 – Aims and Goals

Thinking about Aims and Goals is a metathinking activity – thinking about the thinking. Or blue hat thinking.

Warren Berger says,

“Questioning—deeply, imaginatively, “beautifully”—can help us identify and solve problems, come up with game-changing ideas, and pursue fresh opportunities.”

Question asking is an important aspect to help us consider the direction and ultimate goal. You can read more about question asking in the blog post Questions about Questions.
Blog posts about Aims and Goals:

What Kind of Thinking Situation Is This?
Thinking Strategies – It’s Time to Plan the Thinking
20 Minutes Idea boost
Distancing – A Thinking Strategy

Day 5

Decide what you are trying to achieve – visualise and break down the goal into smaller steps.

It can help your thinking enormously if you know exactly what you are trying to achieve.

Visualise what you want:
• Go somewhere quiet and private where you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and think of the goal, mood, new behaviour or skill, you want to acquire.
• Take several deep breaths and relax.
• Visualise the object or situation you desire in your mind as clearly and with as much detail as you can.
• Add emotion, feeling, and your senses to your vision.

Make a break down for each step you need to do to reach your goal. If necessary and helpful, use three levels: goals, sub goals, activities/to do now.

Some suggestions for topics you could use:
• moving or changing job
• fitness
• learning a language
• planning your career
• goals before a deliberate thinking session
• a meeting
• doing the shopping
• cleaning the house

A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants SMART usually stands for:
• S – Specific (or Significant).
• M – Measurable (or Meaningful).
• A – Attainable (or Action-Oriented).
• R – Relevant (or Rewarding).
• T – Time-bound (or Trackable).


Thinkibility Day 5



One Reply to “T29 – Day 5”

  1. Visualising Your Goal

    If you have read up on personal development, you will recognise aspects of the inner-mind approach to implementing a vision. That’s not surprising. Personal development is about defining and achieving goals – and implementing a vision is pretty much the same thing, but with a lot more creativity added.

    However, many self-help gurus suggest that you always keep the goal in mind. They insist that you visualise your goal regularly. Think about how wonderful you will feel once you have achieved it. Think about the benefits. They claim that this will motivate you towards achieving your goal.

    They are wrong.

    Law of Distraction

    Some gurus even cite the Law of Attraction, which roughly says that if you think about achieving your goal hard enough, you will attract success and your goal will come true. Somehow, the law implies, the Universe will make this happen. This, of course, is ridiculous. The Universe does not really care about your goals or what you do.

    Moreover, research* has shown that if you fantasise about achieving your goal, your mind will start to anticipate the pleasure and satisfaction of success. Indeed, your mind will feel so good about the fantasy, it will lose interest in the implementation. In experiments, people who fantasise about achieving their goals are less energised than those who do not. Worse, they are less likely to achieve their goals than those who do not fantasise.

    Moreover, having only positive thoughts about a fantasised future makes you less likely to see the potential pitfalls and obstacles you will likely face on the road to achieving your goal, which will leave you unprepared to follow the path from where you are to achieving your goal.

    Great Expectations

    On the other hand, expectation that you will achieve your goal increases the likelihood that you will succeed. Why is this? It is because expectation comes from experience. If you have had similar experiences with positive outcomes, you know what is required and can be more confident about achieving your goal. Thanks to experience, you are also more likely to be aware of – and better prepared for – the pitfalls, obstacles and challenges you will face along the way.


    Anna is a highly respected and qualified virologist specialising in Hepatitis B and C diagnostics. She has published a number of articles on the topic and shares ownership of a few patents. There are not many people in the world with her expertise and most of them know each other.

    She learns that a major pharmaceutical company is setting up a unit to develop a new Hepatitis B diagnostic tool and wish to hire a principal scientist to oversee the unit. Anna knows she has the qualification and sees this as a great opportunity and a great challenge. She spends a day researching her potential employer, updates her CV and writes a cover letter which she asks a couple of friends to critique for her. Once she is satisfied with her application documents, she emails them to the manager in charge of the project and calls the next day to ensure he has received the application. A week later, he calls her back, invites for for an interview. After several meetings, she is offered the job and an attractive compensation package. She accepts.

    Martin is a freelance designer who has previously been employed by design firms. His design work is very good and his clients are generally happy with his work. He learns that one of the big London design firms is looking for a senior creative director. It is his dream job: good pay, a lot of responsibility and many challenges. He would oversee a team, travel regularly and work with top clients. Of course, Martin does not have management experience, but he’s a good designer who gets on well with others. He’s sure he’d be a good manager. Martin is soon imagining himself in the job, travelling around the world, having a nice car, hobnobbing with top management at parties, meeting pretty young woman who admire him.

    He quickly writes a cover letter and emails it, together with his CV, to the design firm. He’s sure he’ll get the job because it feels right.

    In fact, he never hears from them. Pity, it was a cool fantasy.

    Do you see the difference? Owing to her background and the nature of the job offer, Anna can reasonably expect to be offered the job. Nevertheless, she realises that she needs to demonstrate her value to her employer. So, she devotes a serious effort to updating her CV and writing a compelling application.

    Martin, on the other hand, is busier fantasising about getting the job. Indeed, it starts to seem real to him. As a result, he loses his motivation. He hardly even bothers to fill out an application letter. But that doesn’t matter, he probably would not have got the job anyway as he is not sufficiently qualified.

    Dangerous Fantasies

    Unfortunately, big creative visions, by their nature, are more likely to be outside of your experience. Worse, if you are a creative thinker, you are probably particularly good at having fantasies! So, you need to avoid fantasising or even thinking much about the final goal.

    Each step, on the other hand, should be a simple action It is easy to visualise and you probably have relevant experience. This is why it is critical to focus on each step on the path to your goal rather than to think about the goal itself.

    Don’t Fantasise Do It

    Clearly, if you have a creative vision, you need to deconstruct it into manageable steps. Then focus on the steps rather than the goal. Visualise each step, what you have to do and how you will do it. Then do it and move on to the next step.

    It works.

    * Reference

    Gabriele Oettingen, Doris Mayer (2002) “The Motivating Function of Thinking About the Future: Expectations Versus Fantasies” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 83(5), 1198-1212

    Turning Your Cr

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