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Decision Making and Goal Setting: Think Big

When I was seven years old, someone from my family asked me what my goal in life was. I felt the answer was easy, so I listed a horde of vocations including becoming the first woman wrestler. "A vocation or the area you want to work in is not what I am talking about," my relative said. "I am asking why you want to do what you want to do. It helps when we look for the reasons underneath our desires." Many years later, I realized that this relative was teaching me the true meaning of goal setting.

To this day, I ask the same question to young people I come in contact with and those whom I am in a position to influence. It is surprising how many do not know the answer. They do not know because most of us live by chance, accepting or complaining about what the events push on our path, rather than living by intelligent choice.

To know what you want in life and why you want it leads to success. In all cases, the answer to the question "why" is more important than the answer to the question "what." Once a person understands the "why" of what he wants, the next step of setting it as a goal is easy. Sometimes, when we find out the underlying reason why we want something, we may also find out that our reason is an artificial one. Then, we know this is the time to quit instead of working at something that would make us miserable at the end.

We all make a faulty decision at one time or another, but if we stop and think about our reasons, we can make corrections or let go the project altogether. For example: as an initial emotion, I felt true pride when one of my sons, during the time he was in the tenth grade, announced that he had decided to enter the US army after talking to a recruiting officer in school. Then, he continued excitedly, telling us he would be getting free college education. At that point, I asked him his real reasons. He could not answer. I told him, his father and I were in a position to provide him with a decent college education; however, if he wanted to be in the army because--above and foremost--he wanted to serve his country and that he would do anything and face any hardship to give the best service he could possibly give, then I would back him up one thousand percent and I would be very proud of his decision. Our son told us that the recruiting officer had not even mentioned the importance of service, but had focused upon the benefits the kids would be getting from the army. At that moment, I felt that this approach of recruitment was an inadequate one. Our children are honorable and intelligent enough to want to serve for the right reasons, whereas artificial motives can lead them and the army into failure.

There has to be deeper, more meaningful purposes for our decisions. When a teacher chooses teaching, he does not--must not--choose it because of the long summer vacation, but for the joy of teaching and shaping young minds for a better world. A physician should not become a physician because he will be considered the cream of the crop and he will make more money than fifty percent of the population. This truth-seeking goes for all professions, avocations, the mates and friends we choose, and whatever options we face in life.

After knowing the deeper reason behind our goals, the steps leading to achievement become much easier. Our potential turns into being our process and it prepares our goal for fruition by setting time limits for each step, afterwards leading us to action upon our decisions, to vigilance for opportunities, to willingness to make small adjustments along the way, and to persistence on our path.

Also, when we focus our energies on one goal whose importance is clear to us, we are better able to let go of anything that does not serve a positive purpose. Guilt, fear, the mind's chattering, the feelings of unworthiness, bad habits, the worry of what others may say are eliminated when we are aware of our true purpose.

Making an intelligent and well-thought-out decision leads to success, instead of jumping into action. A wise choice benefits everyone instead of a bad, fast choice, because true winners are directed from their insides, and those who are directed from their inner beings find their true calling and a life well lived.

About the author:

Joy Cagil is an author on a site for Creative Writing (http://www.Writing.Com/)Her training is in foreign languages and linguistics. In her background are varied subjects such as psychology, humanities, mental health, women's issues, and visual arts. Her portfolio can be found at


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