How To Lose A Lot For A Long Time

In Confidence
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Some people have advocated the idea of systems over goals, since a system can be adhered to and followed consistently — while a goal can be only either reached or not-reached.

We don’t need to choose between the two. I want to talk goals.

Having really big goals comes with a tough built-in problem: you’ll spend a whole lot of time having not achieved your goal. You’re in a position of failure, basically.

Having really big goals comes with a tough built-in problem: you’ll spend a whole lot of time having not achieved your goal. You’re in a position of failure, basically. Click To Tweet

I’m talking months and possibly years of goal non-achievement. That’s quite disconcerting for many people. Who wants to spend all that time working, yet still not be able to say they’ve succeeded?

Not many people. I understand why.

When you have high ambitions, most of your time will be spent having not made it.

When you have high ambitions, most of your time will be spent having not made it. Click To Tweet

Not where you want to be. Having more work to do.

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All while other people — systems people, or those with less-ambitious aims — accumulate small win after small win, day after day.

This is why big goals have a low completion rate — actually, what they have is a low attempt-and-stick-to-it rate.

Most people would rather have a win — any win, regardless of its value — than to not have a win.

Which is why most people invest much of their resources — time, energy, attention — into gaining small victories.

Most people would rather have a win — any win, regardless of its value — than to not have a win. Which is why most people invest much of their resources — time, energy, attention — into gaining small victories. Click To Tweet

Small victories add up!

True. But…

Problem 1: while small victories do add up, what are they adding up to?

Problem 2: competition for small victories is often fierce, time-consuming and not worth their payoff in the end (see Problem 1).

Problem 3: you don’t realize #s 1 & 2 until/unless you’ve accumulated a ton of small victories and finally take a step back to look hard at what you’ve invested to get there— is this all I get?

Big goals, however have their own set of problems.

  1. You have no wins to report or to take solace in.
  2. You have no idea when or if you’ll ever get the BIG win you’re after.
  3. The small losses you take in the process of chasing the big goal? They add up too — on your track record, in your mind, in the eyes of spectators. You don’t look so good to a population of small-goals people.

When you have big goals, and you’re sticking to them, you will spend most of your time (technically) losing.

Your goal is such that you’re taking small loss after small loss, day after day, for weeks, months and maybe even years, before you (maybe) win.

That win more than makes up for all the losses.

It’s just that you don’t know when (or if) that win will occur.

How many like that idea?

Usually everybody, believe it or not.

How many people are voluntarily signing up for this idea, though?

Usually, no one.

For Your Game

  1. How much competition is there for what you’re doing, and how many people do you have to beat to win? The more numerous competitors, usually, the lesser the payoff.
  2. What’s one thing you’re working on that, if only this one thing works, the ROI from it eclipses all the other stuff put together? Are you working on anything of this magnitude? Why not?
  3. How many small victories — sales of your product, clients onboarded, new followers following — would you need in aggregate to be able to stop playing that game forever? Harsh reality for most: they’d need to keep getting those wins in perpetuity, meaning they can never exit the game. Literally working yourself to death.

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#WorkOnYourGame

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