Have you ever noticed that most books use the same evidence to justify the benefits of goal setting?For example, one of the most often quoted studies (performed at Yale in 1953) supposedly proved beyond a doubt that goal setting is the secret to success. Apparently, this particular study showed that only 3% of surveyed graduates set goals. As the story goes, some 20 years later they discovered in a follow-up survey that those same 3% had a higher net worth than the rest of the graduation class in total.It’s a compelling story, but…It’s total fiction. No such data exist. In 2008, a Yale research associate reported that, after a flurry of articles citing the study in publications as diverse as Dental Economics and Success magazine, she was prompted to undertake an exhaustive search of Yale alumni archives and concluded:
We are quite confident that the study did not take place. We suspect it is a myth.
And all those self-help gurus who had written books based on this study?None of them were able to produce evidence for it when challenged by a well-known debunker organization, One famous expert in the field of human potential, who’s based his career on the power of goal setting in the sales environment, went so far as to say: Well, if it is not true, it damn well should be. Right.Is it any wonder people get frustrated with self-help gurus?In my experience, after many years of studying and teaching the alternative technique of ‘Intention Setting’, it seems to me that there are 3 levels of emotion that attract success:DesireDesiring something creates a powerful energy that can magnetically attract better things into your life. Desire, however, is often vague. You may desire a better life or a different job without being sure what that would look like specifically. For example, I often hear people state that they want more money or a nicer house. Because of the lack of specifications, you might not get exactly what you deserve (and capable of), but you’ll get a better set of experiences. When those arrive, you feel a sense of relief that life is finally looking up.BeliefThe more you understand something, the more you start to believe in it. Many goal-setting techniques recommend baby-step goals with the thought that, as you achieve each one, you build confidence in yourself and your goals, which leads to greater belief. As belief grows, you get excited and your stomach twitters with anticipation. Belief brings wonderful new experiences into your life, and when they arrive you feel like celebrating. (Most goal-setting techniques aim for this level.)KnowingKnowing is an exponentially higher emotional energy level that comes when you are so familiar with all the specifications, feelings, and senses of the object of desire that it no longer feels in front of you in either space or time. Excitement is replaced by awe and you naturally step into the flow of achievement. The removal of doubt comes about when you have absolute clarity in the detail of what it is you want, which requires a number of techniques that you’ll never find in a book about goal setting.Traditional goal-setting techniques can be effective at raising your level of emotion from desire to belief and definitely improve your quality of life in some way. However, it’s a hit-and-miss experience and won’t be sufficient for achieving the American dream. For that, you’ll need to raise your level of emotion to a sense of knowing, a much higher state of mentality.Once you have your mentality to this level, traditional goal setting techniques are naturally replaced by the more powerful method of setting intentions. Here’s the difference in a nutshell…A goal is something you don’t have that you desire to get, with the understanding that the desired object or experience is separate from you. Traditional goal-setting techniques show you how to creep toward the object in baby-step goals, each step meant to build your confidence until desire turns into belief.
An Intention, on the other hand, is desire for something, but with all doubt about its attainment removed.
Baby steps aren’t needed because there’s no uncertainty about getting what you desire. Instead of creeping toward it, you can simply condense time and bring it from the future into the present.Sounds magical, doesn’t it?That’s because it is.The main difference, then, between intentions and goals is direction of effort: With goals, you push energy toward the object… with intentions, you pull or attract the object to you.This may seem like a subtle shift in mentality, but it’s a critical one if you want to move from hitting a few goals to achieving any and all dreams you have. Small changes in how you use your imagination makes huge differences in outcome. So, as you shift your conceptual understanding from journeying toward a desired object in the future to attracting it to you in the here and now, you naturally slip into an understanding of the real law of attraction. You shift from a warrior mentality of chasing and conquering what you want into a wizard’s mentality of effortlessly creating anything you desire. Raising mentality to a sense of knowing is the secret ingredient between feeling better about the life you have… and having a better life.Sincerely,Trevor