Two thousand years ago the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca remarked that for a ship without a harbour: “No wind ever blows from the right quarter.”
Yet, despite the importance of setting goals, the vast majority of people spend their lives aboard Seneca’s aimlessly drifting vessel. They are constantly blown to and fro by the vicissitudes of fate, without any clear course to steer and with no particular destination in mind. Instead of being able to work consistently and efficiently towards clearly defined objectives, the individual becomes a victim of chance and circumstance.
Researchers report that among the small minority – estimated at around just 3% of the population – who set themselves clear goals are to be found some of the most successful men and women in every field of human endeavour. They included top business and sporting personalities, successful entrepreneurs and highly respected academics, world- class journalists, writers, and artists, prize-winning scientists and top of the bill entertainers.
Without clear goals you will find too much of your time is wasted on low value, low priority tasks and not enough on high value, high priority ones. You risk falling into the “busyness” trap in which “being busy” is confused with “doing business.”
Setting yourself specific goals, by contrast, keeps you mentally focussed and your energy levels high.