Friday, 5 February 2010

Present Perfect

We all recognise the power of goal setting - creating plans, articulating a personal and professional vision and manifesting our thoughts into reality by the power of 'thinking in ink'.

That said, not many of us take the time to set goals and then those of us that do often set ourselves up for failure by writing those goals in the wrong tense.

By that I mean how many times have you seen people's goals written with the words 'I will do this...'? Two things wrong with this.

1. 'I will' creates pressure - what one might call a 'modal operator of necessity' - 'I will do this' is almost creating a stress-based response to the goal - using short-term, stress-based motivation to accomplish the goal.

This is very appropriate behaviour when you are likely to get hit by a bus...immediate response...but not the best motivation for a longer term requirement like making annual sales targets.

2. The second thing that is wrong is that we are using the future tense.

The brain is composed of two levels of awareness - the conscious (what we critique and make sense of the world with) and the unconscious (that bit that does everything else - breathing, emotions, feelings, immune systems etc - and where our real motivation resides).

The conscious recognises the future tense (I will) - the unconscious does not. It operates only in the present tense (imagine the heart thinking 'you know I'm feeling a bit tired...I'll have a heart beat again next week....'). Not very effective eh?

Neither is using the future tense in goal-setting. 'I will' only speaks to the logic but 'I want to' or 'I can' speaks to the passion.

Plan in the 'present perfect' and watch your dreams become reality.

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