Why do we always set our goals that not Bigger and SMARTer?
Goals and Goal Setting involves establishing specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-targeted (SMART).
But, let’s do a reality check on my past goal and your current goals.
Couple of external factor influenced this topic
- Chat with my friend
- Reading the book – Steve Jobs
I’m going to assume you have a clearly defined ambition and a future goal you want to achieve in your life. But, how big is your goal?
Here is my story about my past and future goals in my life.
- When I was in 10th Grade, my goal was to become a Doctor.
- When I was in 12th Grade, my goal was to become a Doctor.
- When I was in Engineering, still my goal was to quit Engineering and become a Doctor.
- After completing Engineering first year, I was getting used to the reality.
- 2nd year to 4th year my goal was to do Masters in USA.
- Complete Engineering with First Class and Distinction (above 75% without backlogs)
- First 2 Semesters was to graduate MS with 4.0 GPA
- 3rd sem to graduation, goal was to get internship and full-time job.
I received time job offer, before starting my last semester.
Most of my goals were focused on what I want to 2 years from now. Above, goals were just like any other student aspiring to study in USA.
When I started working full-time, my exposure towards life opened up. Started meeting people, who had much bigger goals.
I was thinking in terms of how to pay my mortgage and feed my family. They were thinking in terms of how to create business in a large scale and trying to push the boundaries.
So, my goals started getting bigger. But, this time, instead of 2 years, I have moved to 5 year target. Plus, goals are now well-defined and quantified.
Why Set the Lower Goals?
Now, you have read my story, let’s get into why I started writing this post.
As, I said before, 2 reasons influenced me to write this post.
- Chat with my friend (2 months back)
- Reading the book – Steve Jobs
Chat My Friend
I was chatting with my friend about his future plans, who is working for Software firm in India.
I realized, how different is our views and goal towards the future.
I asked him, why not set a higher goal?
His said, “I would like to have higher goals, but with exposure and environment, I have set a higher goal for me”.
I have set my goal which is much Bigger and Higher.
While reading this first chapter of the book Steve Jobs, I realized, his goals were much higher and bigger while he was in High School.
His parents knew he was Smart, Special and Intellectually gifted.
They gave him the opportunity to bring out the best in him. They encouraged his curious mind to explore.
While reading some comments at Graduates from India – Higher in quantity, but low in Quality
It is very clear that our goal setting is greatly influenced by our parents.
Now the Million Dollar questions.
How big is your goal?
Who influenced your goal setting process?
Is your goal is smaller and similar to my goal from school, college days?
Most of you, reading this post will be have goals, like getting to MS, Finding a good job and I consider them to smaller goals. Really?
So, while reading the book Steve Jobs, I realized, all these years, my goal was limited and small.
Coming to USA for Graduate School is not an simple task. Of thousands of students who graduate every year in India, only a handful get an opportunity to come to US for education.
But, after completing the education, I feel that my goal should have been much bigger. I shouldn’t have stopped at just “Completing MS in USA”.
My Cousin brother went to USA, after completing Engineering. So, they helped shape my goal, while I was in College.
I realized, my goals could have been much bigger, if my exposure towards life, society was bigger and better. I was surrounded by friends, who all had the goal of going to USA. that was the biggest goal.
But, today world is much different place. Access to information is at our finger tips. Exposure, that you and I have about external world, has improved drastically.
When world has changed a lot, why do you still want to have smaller goals.
If your target is to come to USA for Grad school, I have following questions for you.
What do you want to do after completing MS?
How do you see yourself, 5 years from now?
Will it be like “I will be in good position with good salary in a good firm” ?
I hope, its much higher than that.
Don’t limit your future goal to just getting a degree. Expand you thinking beyond what you are asked to do by you parents or relatives.
If your parents have reached say step 3 in an Economical Life Ladder, why are you trying to reach Step 4? Why not set your goals to reach Step 8?
If your dad is a Government employee or small time business man, it’s a big step-up for them to pay for your US education.
You might be the first person in the family to plan and study abroad.
But, why limit your goal to just Masters in US.
Don’t do the same mistake I did. Set your goals much higher and work towards that.
I haven’t listed any specific example of Bigger and Smarter goals.
Can you list what is your current goal, who influenced it and how you can make it bigger and smarter.