Step #3 Get Ideas from Others
Let me share the genesis of my goal setting journey. I think it was about ten years ago that I read a story about a guy named John Goddard.
In 1940, when John Goddard was fifteen-years-old, he sat down on a rainy afternoon with a blank piece of paper. He wrote “My Life List” at the top of the page and proceeded to write down 127 goals.
Here are a few of the goals he has already achieved:
- Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro Learn Jujitsu
- Explore the Amazon River
- Land on and take off from an aircraft carrier Run a mile in five minutes
- Go on a church missions trip
- Retrace the travels of Marco Polo and Alexander the Great Visit the Pope
- Study primitive culture in Borneo
- Learn French, Spanish, and Arabic (See I would count that as three goals) Photograph Victoria Falls in Rhodesia (He got chased by a warthog, but got the pictures)
- Milk a poisonous snake (He was bitten by a diamond back during one of his photo shoots)
- Skin dive to 40 feet and hold breath 2 ½ minutes underwater Play the flute and violin
- Light a match with a 22 rifle Build a telescope
- Read the Bible from cover to cover Circumnavigate the globe (He’s done it four times)
Here are a few of the elusive goals he’s still going after:
- Visit the moon (He set that goal in 1940 before anyone had even escaped the earth’s atmosphere)
- Read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica Appear in a Tarzan movie
- Study dragon lizards on Komodo Island (His boat broke down twenty miles from the island)
- Visit every country of the world (He has thirty left to go) Climb Mt. Everest
Let me make a simple observation: if John Goddard hadn’t set those goals he would have never achieved those goals.
I doubt he would have done half of what he did if he hadn’t set a goal in the first place. Goals create what psychologists refer to as “structural tension” in your brain. The brain wants to close the gap between your current reality and your goal. The brain is a goal-seeking organism. And if you don’t set godly goals, I think you’ll pursue goals of lesser importance.
So I was inspired by John Goddard and more recently Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals. I love both of their life goal lists. And I’ve gotten some ideas from them.
One of the ways to get into goal-setting mode is by looking at other people’s goals.
Don’t go and just copy them. But they will inspire you. They will help your synapses fire in new ways.
Right now I’m taking my son, Parker, through a one-year discipleship process that involves three challenges. And one of the things we’re doing is coming up with his first list of life goals. I gave him a couple life goal lists, including my own, as a catalyst. It’s ok for us to share some of the same goals.
If you want to look at any of the lists I’ve mentioned, you can simply Google them and you’ll find them.