Decide On Your Big Goals First And Stay Focused!

Editorial by Robert Kirwan   

   I recently read an interesting book which was written by Eileen Shapiro and Howard Stevenson. The name of the book was “Make Your Own Luck”. 

   The book was based on the fact that every action we take during the course of our life is a ‘bet’. In other words, the actions we take today and the decisions we make are based on the expectation or hope, but not the certainty, of achieving certain desired results in the future.
   Human beings we bet all of the time. We cannot avoid it. Everything we do in life is a bet. It is a bet that the time and resources we invest now through our actions will achieve some desired benefit as a result of those actions. Even the act of driving our car is a bet that the choices we make along the way will get us to our destination point. Sometimes we lose that bet if our car breaks down or we get involved in an accident. When we drive over the speed limit, we are betting that there won’t be a police officer around the corner. The list of daily bets is endless.
   What amazed me most about this book was the way the authors were able to explain how easy it is for us to gain control of our life simply by becoming more focussed on the “big goals” instead of all of the smaller ones.  We can dramatically improve our odds of achieving our desired results and therefore go from depending on dumb luck to actually taking more control over our own destinies.

   This message really hit home in one of the early chapters when the authors were relating an experience they had one day while conducting a job interview for the position of manager of one of their companies. A man named Dean Kamen was one of the candidates for the position and he was asked a number of questions during the course of the interview. One of the questions was, “Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island. If you could choose one person to be stranded with you, who would it be?”

   The authors expected Mr. Kamen to give one of the typical answers that people usually give to this question, such as, “your spouse, a great philosopher, an athlete, a famous religious figure, a sexy movie star, a story teller or a close friend or family member.” What would your answer be?

   Mr. Kamen surprised the authors with his answer. He thought for a moment and then said, “The world’s best boat builder.”

   Mr. Kamen realized that his ‘big goal” was to get off the island. He could have selected a companion who would make life much easier for himself while he was stranded on the island waiting to be saved. Instead, he selected a companion who would be able to help him get off the island and thus control his own destiny.
   Needless to say, Mr. Kamen got the job.
   The message for all of us is that as long as we keep our big goals in mind and take actions that will help us move towards those big goals, we will increase the odds of achieving our desired outcomes. Our chances of ‘winning’ most of the bets we make in this ‘game of life’ will be much greater if we think more like Mr. Kamen. If we want to ‘get off the island’ on which we are ‘stranded’ , then we should be thinking about finding a ‘boat builder’, not someone who will merely make us comfortable in our misery.  

   If life truly is a series of “bets”, then I want to increase my odds of winning every time I place a bet. By focusing on what I need to achieve the “big goals” in my life those odds will be improved and I will be in control of my own destiny.
   Have a good week!


The Private Practice of
Robert Kirwan, OCT., B.A. (Math), M.A. (Education)
Independent Education, Training & Career Development Consultant