Do you want to be better? If you do, what is you plan to make that happen? Do you have a written business, enterprise, or breeding objective that can guide you forwards? Sounds like a bit of a wank, but the truth is, without some form of specific objectives, it is very rare that someone can achieve their real potential. So here is some of the science behind it –
How is that you can be walking through an airport, and there is noise everywhere, announcements ringing out every few seconds, and you don’t really hear any of them…. Until they say YOUR name. Then BANG, your brain swings into action. Or how come when you decide you want a particular new car, you start seeing them everywhere. You never saw them before. Where the hell did they come from?
The answer is simple. Your brain is constantly filtering out information that it doesn’t have listed as important. Think of it as a little man sitting inside your head reading emails for you. Some things he has been waiting for, others he can leave in the inbox and come back to later, and some goes straight to the junk folder so he doesn’t even have to worry about it. These “junk emails” inside your head are things like announcements that aren’t relevant to you, or cars that you have no interest in. If your brain received every single piece of information into your conscious mind, and didn’t filter it for you, you would go insane.
What you need to do, is make sure that the settings for filtering are correct. The only way to do that, is have very clear objectives, which allow you to focus your attention on specific factors that will help you achieve them.
Write them down
Hand writing your objectives or goals is considerably more effective than typing them. Sounds odd, but the number of neurological functions involved in writing them will help you commit the goal to your conscious mind. The act of simply writing the objective has already begun the process of focusing the attention of your brain upon factors that will help you achieve it.
I don’t see a lot of point in setting easy targets. We want targets that are possible, but not easy. Also remember that just because someone else hasn’t done it yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
Don’t tell anyone
There are two schools of thought when it comes to telling people about your goals or objectives. Some believe that if you tell people, you will feel more compelled to follow through. In my opinion, it all depends on what your goal is.
We suffer from severe cases of “tall poppy” and “negative nancy” syndromes in Australia. If your goal is to be the best, or push the boundaries of what has been done before, then don’t tell anyone. The first responses you will get from people will be “you’re dreaming”, “can’t be done”, “you’ve lost it”. People love to shit on other people’s ambitions. Don’t give them the opportunity. Simply set your targets, and quietly go about achieving them.
Make it specific
When you are writing down your objective(s) make sure that they are specific and measurable. Simply saying I want to cut more wool, or run more cows, or mark more lambs, does nothing to focus your brains attention. How many? What are you ACTUALLY wanting to achieve?
Break your objective down into manageable components, that you can tick off over time. Every time you tick something off your to-do-list, your brain gets a hit of Dopamine. Dopamine is what makes us feel good, happy, productive. We get the same hit of dopamine when someone likes something of ours on facebook, or follows you on twitter. You can follow me @achieveag.
Without a date attached to your objectives, you give your brain the opportunity to drift along. Humans work well with some form of deadline. Without them we are master procrastinators. Procrastination is possibly the greatest time thief of every business in the world. It is the reason that youtube, and social media exist. They give us an excuse to do something other than what we are supposed to be doing. Why the hell are there so many cat videos on youtube???? To keep procrastinators happy!
Simply drop components of your objective into your calendar to assign a deadline, and further focus your brains attention on achieving, and not drifting. As you complete a task, cross it off in the calendar, and get the hit of dopamine that your brain craves.
Do you really want to be better?
If you do, then do something about it. Start with writing down your objective(s). This isn’t some airy fairy bullshit. There is a heap of science that shows why this stuff actually works. Make your objectives SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.
Don’t just hope for better. Be better.
Nathan Scott is a consultant, and keynote speaker.