What can an old farmer teach you about goals?

Once, an old farmer was known around town for being exceptionally good at making sure the furrows in his field were absolutely straight.

One day, a young man asked the farmer to tell him his secret. The old farmer quietly explained that, while plowing each row, he picked some sort of object, like a tree, far off in the distance and only focused on it until he completed the row.

The young man hurried home to give it a try.

After a few hours, the old farmer came by to check on the young man’s progress, and saw that the young man’s field looked more like some sort of hieroglyphics than neat rows.

The old farmer asked “What happened to your field?” To which the young man angrily replied “I did just what you said but the darn cow I was focusing on kept moving!”

Much like the farmer’s in this story, the things we choose to focus on while we work, such as, our goals, will greatly influence the outcome. To be successful, it’s imperative to set good goals. If you set the right goals, they will help you stay on course. If you choose the wrong goals, you may find that they do more harm than good.

Good goals are fixed and clear. They are based on your own performance and don’t rely on other variables. They provide direction and a sense of empowerment.

Bad goals are not fixed or clear. For example, if your goal is to outperform a competitor, it can change based on their performance.

A goal that isn’t fixed doesn’t provide direction and can often lead to feeling as though your personal success is outside your control.