Anthony, thanks for this thoughtful piece. I focused on one item:

It’s 10x more difficult to achieve goals that, deep down, you know are the wrong goals.”

IMO that’s the crux. How do you pick your goals? What do you value? In other words, who are you?

Over my career and now in my 15th year of retirement (from work, not life) the people that I study and have quoted in almost every blog I’ve writen all agree: Your values are who you are.

Your goals are what you do. They have nothing to do with who you are UNLESS you’ve spent the time discovering your inherent internal core values first.

Then you will know who you are. Then you can set goals that align with each internal value. Values always should precede goals. ALWAYS.

If you focus on goal-based systems and life hacks, the odds of success are not very good. Unless you know your 10–20 internal core values, you can’t intelligently pick your goals. The odds are high that some and perhaps many of your goals will be bad ones. Goals that are not consistent with what you truly value. Frustration will ensue.

More study of ways and techniques for success will not help. In fact, they will likely make the situation worst.

The interesting thing about this dilemma is that finding your core values first makes your following decisions so much easier.

How do I know that? I was an average guy. 26 years ago I read and studied lots of books on this subject. I was particularly impressed with the teaching of Stephen Covey and his partner Hyrum Smith.

They taught thousands of folks worldwide about the importance of finding one’s core values. They made a promise: if you discover your governing or core values first and then make every decision every day for the rest of your life based upon being consistent with those core values, you will live a fulfilled life with peace of mind.

I took that on faith. Within five years I had built a company that had over $10 million in sales. In another six years, I retired. Now I could focus on what I really wanted: to only engage in activities and make decisions that were consistent with my core values and also to make certain that I did not associate with toxic people. The result: their promise was fulfilled in my life.

Why don’t we hear about this anymore? What happened to this kind of thinking? Well, those two gentlemen retired and, to some extent, their teaching died along with them.

But not totally. I’ll be writing blogs that will fully explain how to discover your internal core values and, equally important, how to use them. I’ll also be publishing a book on this subject later.

If you read the following quotes, you’ll see that quite a few successful people are aware of what I’ve stated above and value it highly.

What are core values? Deeply rooted fundamental beliefs. Guides that dictate your behavior and actions. The foundations of what is driving your decisions. Ingrained principles that help you declare who you are and what you stand for.

Why discover your core values? Because the first step in deploying your authentic self is this: you have to know who you are. It doesn’t matter if you are wanting to know them for your life, career, business, relationships — the context doesn’t matter because you are the common denominator for all of it. Dawn Barclay, Personal Coach

When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” Roy E. Disney, longtime senior executive of The Walt Disney Company

“When the soul is without a definite aim she gets lost; for, as they say, if you are everywhere you are nowhere.” Montaigne

Happiness proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” Ayn Rand

“It comes from within…It comes from inside-out congruence, from living a life of integrity in which our daily habits reflect our deepest values. Peace of mind comes from when your life is in harmony with true principles and values and in no other way.” Stephen Covey

The secret to achieving inner peace lies in understanding our inner core values — those things in our lives that are most important to us — and then seeing that they are reflected in the daily events of our lives.” Hyrum Smith

Your Governing Values are the Foundation of Personal Achievement.” Hyrum Smith

“Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values. Knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person — hardworking and competent but otherwise mediocre — into an outstanding performer.” Peter Drucker

“Cultivate a deep understanding of yourself — not only what your strengths and weaknesses are but also how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and where you can make the greatest contribution. Because only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true excellence.” Peter Drucker

You become a person by knowing what your values are…” Peter Drucker

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” Peter Drucker

Align your direction with your innate nature. There are broadly two ways to live well. You can be achievement-oriented, or you can be presence-oriented. While we’re all flexible and incorporate a mix of both, different people are programmed for different things. You should know your place on the spectrum before choosing your goals.” Ray Dalio, author of Principles

“Fulfillment is more important than achievement. Values takes care of all issues about how to spend your time.” Tony Robbins

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” — Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher and writer

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” Rumi

I had chosen to use my work as a reflection of my values.” Sidney Poitier

Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values.” Joshua L. Liebman, American Rabbi and author

“I never wanted to be on any billionaires list. I never define myself by net worth. I always try to define myself by my values.” Howard Schultz, past CEO of Starbucks and former owner of the Seattle SuperSonics. Net Worth $3 billion.

“One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. A lot of the time our ideas about what it would mean to live successfully are not our own…We should focus in on our ideas and make sure that we own them, that we’re truly the authors of our own ambitions. Because it’s bad enough not getting what you want, but it’s even worse to have an idea of what it is you want and find out at the end of the journey that it isn’t, in fact, what you wanted all along.” Alain de Botton

Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one’s values.” Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute (founded as the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management), awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work with the Girl Scouts of the USA. She turned 100 in November 2015.

A false path in life is generally something we are attracted to for the wrong reasons — money, fame, attention, and so on. […] Because the field we choose does not correspond with our deepest inclinations, we rarely find the fulfillment that we crave. Our work suffers for this, and the attention we may have gotten in the beginning starts to fade — a painful process.” Robert Greene, Mastery

Nothing creates more stress than when our actions and behaviors aren’t congruent with our values.” Darren Hardy, best-selling author, keynote speaker, advisor, former publisher of SUCCESS magazine

“Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values” Dalai Lama

“When your behavior conflicts with your values, the result is a mental conflict. Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, and it is a source of pain and stress in your life. Your goals will become a reality faster and with less stress if they align with your values.” Success Magazine Oct 2016

When you adopt the standards and the values of someone else … you surrender your own integrity,” Eleanor Roosevelt

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

Written by

Entrepreneur, Mentor, Philanthropist, publishing book on core values Jan 12, 2021: A FOOL’S ERRAND - Why Your Goals Are Falling Short and What You Can About It

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