Principles 2.1

"Have clear goals."


I don't know about you, but having clear goals has never been easy for me. There are just so many wonderful things to do and so many worthwhile things to accomplish. I've discussed with friends whether it would be fun to live for 500 years, and my perspective is that I'd want to live forever. Infinite lives filled with infinite adventures sounds amazing. This mindset makes it hard to set clear goals. While it's wonderful to desire the adventures of a million lifetimes, the reality is that we only get one, and choosing what to avoid is the only way to choose a priority. Warren Buffett has an exercise he uses to help people identify their priorities. He asks them to list their top 25 goals. Of the 25, he asks them to circle their top 5. These become the focus. The other 20 go on the "avoid at all cost" list, as pursuing secondary goals will take time and energy away from the top 5. As Dalio puts it, "Choosing a goal often means rejecting some things you want." But steering clear of secondary goals is only part of the process. Great goals are meaningful. They combine what you want with what you want to work for. They are also challenging and audacious. A great goal asks you to achieve something currently beyond your reach. Your goals will be hard to attain, and you will face setbacks. All you can do is continually assess your circumstances and make decisions on how to respond. As Dalio says, "your mission is to always make the best possible choices." Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

© 2020 by Nat Ballenberg