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Stop Writing Down Your Goals

In the words of Pablo Picasso:

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

Kind of makes you wonder: was this Picasso person really an artist? Because honestly, he sounds like a nerd. Artists are supposed to be free, unrestrained. A plan? Go sharpen your pencil Picasso while the rest of us get creative.

I'm not saying you shouldn't have goals; I'm saying you shouldn't write them down. And while that goes against every goal setting article you've ever read, stop being sheep and hear me out. Here are my top 5 reasons for never writing down goals.

  1. God. They say the physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. That's like saying, if you can't see God, he doesn't exist. Or, hey kids, don't believe in Santa Claus just because you can't see him on Christmas Eve. In that case, Santa doesn't actually exist. And maybe God doesn't either. But millions of people are motivated by a God they can't see. That God doesn't need to be tangible to make people good or drive them to extreme fanaticism. You know how much revenue the Gods in the US alone generate? Over a trillion a year. So much success, and yet, God is nowhere to be found. So if God can do it unseen and quite possibly unreal, so can your goals.

  2. Lack of Clarity. When you get lost, do you ask for directions? No. Because we all have GPS now and seeking concise direction from a stranger makes you look weak. Additionally, that stranger could be a killer and you just demonstrated you 're an easy mark. Writing goals down has a similar dangerous potential outcome. Writing down your goals forces you to select something specific and also, I'm pretty sure, makes it legally binding. Do you want to be bound to specific goals that could smother spontaneity? Goals should be flexible. Free flowing. Imaginary. Don't ruin it with clarity.

  3. Productivity. I don't know about you, but if I'm writing down my goals all the time, I'm not doing something else. And that something else could be anything. Like sex. Or watching something on TV while the goals in your head percolate, develop, and ease into your subconscious for later action. Much later. Because it's not just writing your goals down. Oh no. After you write the goal down, you have to ask yourself, is the goal attainable? If the goal were attainable, it wouldn't be a goal, would it? Goals are fantasy. Remember that. These are things you wish you could attain, but never will. But because goals are just out of reach, you will attain something fairly average by fantasizing about them and foolishly following your dream. Next, you're supposed to make an action plan and keep it time bound. I could be at Yogurtland right now, but instead, I'm coming up with a step-by-step action plan to achieve the unachievable in under 10 seconds. You know what's achievable? Yogurtland. And I don't need an action plan to get there. I'm so much more productive when I'm not doing self-imposed homework.

  4. Privacy. Once you write something down, whether on paper or on a computer, it could be seen by others. Do you really want someone knowing what your private fantasies are? Not me. Never mine. And it's like writing down a password. Once you put it on paper, it's no longer a password because anyone who happens upon it can use it now. What's the point of a goal if everyone knows what it is? Once you invite others into what should be safely locked away in your head, they could use it against you. These so-called friends and family you have near you could thwart your efforts and demolish your dreams. But if they don't know what you want, they can never hurt you with it. Or help you with it. Better safe than sorry.

  5. Fate. Let's face it: shit happens. Regardless of any action on our part. Good shit happens too. Also randomly. I remember one time I got the "Check Engine" light in my car. My instinct was to ignore it. Because most things fix themselves over time. Another theory I have, but I won't go into that right now. Point is, I went against my instinct and brought my car into the shop. The problem? My gas cap was a little loose. So my instinct was correct. If I had done nothing, the next time I got gas, I would have secured the cap, and the "Check Engine" light would have gone off. Time would have indeed fixed the problem. Stuff happens, regardless of action. Stuff also doesn't happen. It's so much more devastating when you don't reach your goals if they're written on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge than simply meandering around in your head. Fate is unstoppable albeit disputable. Don't tempt fate. It'll just fate you up.

Think outside the box, but not outside your head.

This took 4 minutes to read. Now instead of writing your goals and action plans out for the next hour, I just gave you a free trip to Yogurtland.

You're welcome.

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