“Use your creative imagination…. Know what you want… Thoughts are things…. Have a burning desire to possess it … then put your dreams into action. Have a burning desire for what you want… Be persistent…. Have the faith, the belief that you can achieve it and it will become a reality. There is nothing… which belief plus burning desire cannot make real. These qualities are free to everyone. What the mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich”

I’d like to talk to you about goal setting. Why do you think goal setting might be important?

Do you currently set goals for yourself or have you ever set goals for yourself?

Goals give us a clear direction of where we are heading and where we want to go. When you have a clear map of where you are going, it becomes pretty obvious when you go off course doesn’t it?

Your goals give you valuable information. They make you aware of when you are right on target or when you have deviated off course. From there all you need to do is take “immediate corrective action” stop, acknowledge that you are going in the opposite direction of your goal, turn around, take a step back in the direction you want and get back on course.

A colleague that I know does an exercise with school children and he has used this same exercise as an example with executives at organizations like IBM and Microsoft. He works with very large companies, Fortune 500 companies, teaching them how to set goals in order to get outstanding results. His name is Gary Ryan Blair and he is known as the “Goals Guy.”

The exercise uses something very simple – a jigsaw puzzle and it goes like this: The school kids are divided up into 3 groups. They are all given exactly the same jigsaw puzzle to work with, and the exact same set of instructions. He tells them that they will be tested on how quickly they can complete the jigsaw puzzle by working together. They can laugh and talk and have a great time. The only thing they can’t do is look at what the other 2 groups are doing.

Now we all know that when you are having fun it is much easier to learn isn’t it? When you are having a great time, hard work completely disappears doesn’t it? Learning’s easy when you are having fun. In fact the more important something is, the more fun it should be, shouldn’t it? Well, Gary added another little twist to this exercise because there is something REALLY IMPORTANT to learn.

So this is what he did: The first group not only got the puzzle, they also got the lid of the box that had a photo of the completed puzzle on it. So they got the right very clear picture of what they were going to be doing.

The second group got the puzzle and no lid. They had no picture. They had “no idea” what it looked like. Not a clue.

The third group got the puzzle and a lid with a completely different picture on it. The picture did not match the jigsaw they were working on. They got a clear picture of something that did not match what they were doing.

What do you think happened?

How important is it to have a clear vision of what you want?

Are you curious to find out? Here’s what happened. All 3 groups were raring to go and they got to work.

Group 1 completes the task in about 3 minutes flat. Done!

Group 2 by this stage is struggling somewhat, but is making progress and is about 60% complete.

Group 3 has made no progress whatsoever. They are totally confused and are stressed out and getting agitated.

When Group 1 was asked how did they do the task and complete it in such a short time, they replied by saying, “ We just looked at the picture in front of us and put it together.”

They simply followed the picture that was in front of them.

When Group 2 was asked how did they do the puzzle, they said, “ We just started by going from the corners because it was the best strategy we could come up with and then we slowly figured it out from there.”

Having no picture to follow was a much slower process. You can do it but it takes a really long time.

Group 3 having made no progress, had simply given up and were talking to each other about something else. Gary went up to them and said, “I’ve just noticed that the picture on the lid you have looks nothing like the completed puzzle of the other 2 groups. I’ll just go and get you the right lid.” With that the kids in Group 3 went on to complete the task really quickly.

So what have you learned from this example?

It’s really important to have a clear picture of what you want in your life isn’t it? Because when you have that vision, that’s crystal clear in your mind, just like that picture on the cover of the jigsaw box you can easily plan how you are going to get there.



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