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"Just begin and the mind grows heated; continue and the task will be completed!" Goethe
ARTICLE FOR THE WEEK
Sunday December 21st 2014
Achieve Your Goal In Three Steps By Focusing On Actions Rather Than Results
This article explores three powerful lessons about goal achievement from the worlds of mountain climbing and Formula One racing. Achieve your goal by selecting a goal you care about, by focusing on actions rather than results and by taking one step or lap at a time.
The world-famous explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, reached the summit of Mount Everest shortly before 1 a.m. on 21 May 2009, despite having previously declared “No more mountains!”
In the early hours of Thursday morning, 21st May, Sir Ranulph’s voice came from the top of the world: “We came to the summit as dawn broke.”
Sir Ranulph had done what he said he would and had climbed to the top of the world. Later, he described how he felt: “It’s quite a funny feeling because you can’t walk any further to the moon!”
He is the first British pensioner to ever reach the summit of Mt Everest. He had a heart attack on his first attempt, was exhausted on his second and succeeded on his third! What an amazing man!
What motivated him to achieve such a tough goal in his sixties and not long after a heart attack?
Several members of Sir Ranulph’s family had died from cancer in quick succession and he had seen the splendid work of Marie Curie cancer nurses at close hand. He had also realised that 1 in 4 people die of cancer.
He badly wanted to raise money for the Marie Curie foundation. One nurse costs £18 for an hour of care for a dying cancer patient. Sir Ranulph knew how great the need was for these capable nurses.
He also likes to have the motivation of at least one tough challenge in his life. His next challenge will be something to do with the cold!
He explained to reporters another major secret of his success. He had a simple plan to keep him going.
“I am just going to be endlessly repeating ‘Plod Forever’. Don’t expect to get there. Don’t think there is going to be a top to this mountain. Just ‘plod forever’. Imagine it is a mountain with no top. You just keep going and then you can’t be let down. You start getting some false hopes. Don’t! You’ve got to say ‘Plod Forever’. And that’s it. Don’t let other thoughts come in.”
The mind can only handle one thought at a time properly just as a dog holds only one bone in its mouth at a time. Keep the thought you want in your mind by constant and unbroken repetition.
Don’t allow thoughts of failure or even success anywhere near the centre of your mind. Just ‘plod forever’. Take the next step and keep going.
A phrase like ‘Plod Forever’ can help whether you are walking or performing some seemingly endless task. Even a single key word is effective.
When I was at school in the Isle of Man, I found that repeating the one word ‘Faster’ non stop helped me on long cross country runs. Repeating the word did not make me fast but it probably succeeded in making me ‘faster’. This would not have been difficult!
The word ‘plod’ expresses an acceptance of the fact that your task will involve a boring, slow walk or climb to achieve the goal. The word ‘forever’ suggests that this task will seem to take ‘forever’. Anyone who repeats this phrase has committed themselves in advance to achieving a tough goal which will seem at times to be endless, slow and utterly boring.
At base camp on Everest, Andrew North, a BBC reporter had asked Sir Ranulph “How’s it going?”
“Slow but sure,” replied the explorer who had conquered both the North and the South Poles and run six marathons in a row. “Yeah? Good!“ replied Andrew.
Later Andrew North tried climbing with Sir Ranulph for a short while near the second base camp:
“Even at a slow plod, I still manage to find myself behind Ranulph Fiennes. After a hundred yards I am utterly exhausted! “
Meanwhile, in Monaco, Jenson Button was training for the Monaco Grand Prix. He had a similar plan to that of Sir Ranulph. Don’t think about winning the championship (the Everest of Formula One) Just concentrate on getting round the race track again and again. Before the race, he said:
“I have to take it race by race and practice by practice”
He believed that if you start thinking about winning the championship, you will play safe and no longer give 100%. Of course, at times, it is wise to accept second place rather than lose more points by giving 100% and crashing.
Coulthard, a former winner at Monaco, agreed with Jenson. Take the race corner by corner and lap by lap. As I write this article with 49 laps out of 78 still to go, Jenson Button is still leading!
Drivers have to ‘keep going, keep going’, in the words of one commentator, for two long hours. Their focus has to be intense. One lapse of concentration and they could crash into a barrier or another driver.
Of course, one major difference between Sir Ranulph and Jenson is speed. As we have already seen, when Sir Ranulph was asked how he was doing, he replied ‘Slow but sure’.
Jenson’s main aim is to go ‘Fast but sure’ Jenson is still leading followed by his ambitious partner, Rubens Barrichello, who does not want to play second fiddle to Jenson. However, with only nine more laps to go. Jenson leads; Rubens follows! Another one, two finish will result for the Brawn team if things stay this way.
In the end, Jenson took the chequered flag with Rubens second. His team boss, Ross Brawn commented:”1st and 2nd. It’s just stunning! He’s exceeding everything I thought possible.”
Three great lessons emerge from the Everest climb and the Monaco race. Focus your mind on the next step whether this involves a slow plod or a fast lap. Secondly, don’t allow doubts, distractions or concerns about results to cloud your thoughts. . Accept the fact that you might have to plod or drive on for hours and hours without seeing an end result. Don’t worry about the end result. Just keep going. Thirdly, select a goal you really care about.
Both men had picked a goal they cared about. As we have seen, Sir Ranulph wanted to raise money to pay for cancer nurses.
Jenson Button’s motivation was also intense. He has suffered a long apprenticeship with Formula One teams that could only produce cars which were inferior to those of the top teams, Ferrari and McClaren. Years of battling the inadequacy of his cars must have built up a huge desire to have a decent car that would allow him to express his first rate driving skills.
Now he has such a car with Brawn GP. He is making up for all those lost years when all the glory went to drivers who had better cars. The humiliation of years of failure is pushing him on towards the pinnacle of success in Formula One.
To sum up: Make sure that you choose a goal you really care about. And then concentrate only on the steps to that goal. Take one step or lap after another. Don’t be distracted by your potential results. You may well achieve a great outcome like Sir Ranulph and Jensen but, even if you don’t, you will have had the powerful experience of sticking to your planned course of action.
Not many people can do this even when it relates to a simple goal like taking a short walk or cycle ride every day. Keep pumping the pump and eventually you may well see drops and then torrents of water. If not, the workout will have made you stronger in both body and mind!
Feel free to reprint this article in its entirety in your ezine or on your site but please include the resource box above
John Watson is an award winning teacher and 5th degree blackbelt martial arts instructor. He has written several ebooks on motivation and success topics. One of these, already mentioned, can be found at http://www.motivationtoday.com/36_laws.php
You can also find motivational ebooks by authors like Stuart Goldsmith. Check out http://www.motivationtoday.com/the_midas_method.php
f you haven't yet read The Midas Method, don't wait a minute longer to do so:http://www.motivationtoday.com/the_midas_method.php
The Midas Method of Stuart Goldsmith has been a best selling self help book for years. The Seven Secrets of The Millionaires is less well known but is a great follow up to the Midas Method. It has great motivational power. Less politely, it will give you a great kick up the butt. The price has been lowered to $9.97. Take a look at Seven Secrets Of The Millionaires
John Watson's ebook 'The 36 Laws' could help you to 'reach the end of the road' and achieve your dreams and goals. It is full of practical and memorable advice that takes you from the start to the finish of any goal imaginable. Take a look at: http://www.motivationtoday.com/36_laws.php
Click on the e-cover imageof the 36 Laws to find out more.