Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Goal Achievement and Personal Development Lessons from Beachcombing

Lessons in goal achievement and personal development can be found everywhere even in a simple activity such as beachcombing. The period after stormy weather is a great time to walk along the beach and collect shells. However, it wasn't until after a couple of days had passed that I had the opportunity to visit one of my favourite beaches. When I first strolled along the sand I didn't see anything of interest.

Then, as I passed the area again, I saw a shell that I found particularly attractive. Moments later I saw another one and then another one. Suddenly they were everywhere. So why didn't I notice them before?

After I discovered the first shell my mind had a clear frame of reference and my Reticular Activating System (RAS) kicked into action. My mind's eye now knew precisely what to look for and was able to rapidly 'sift' through the natural 'debris' scattered along the beach and pick out the gems I was seeking.

In the same way, when you set a goal the more clearly you are able to picture your goal the easier and quicker you'll be able to manifest it. This is what makes vision boards and treasure maps so effective. If it's possible get a picture of yourself with your goal and place the picture in a prominent place so that you can refer to it often.

So write down your goals and create what Robert Allen describes as a vivid vision statement. Describe using as many of your senses as possible (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch) what you will experience once you have acquired your goal. When you do this your RAS can get to work drawing your attention to the opportunities, people, situations, etc. that will propel you towards your goal.

When I first arrived at the beach I thought to myself "I bet all the best shells are gone" especially when I saw other beachcombers. Yet, when I started to find shells I filled my hands again and again. I had forgotten about the infinite supply.

Every moment of every day that we are alive we are reminded that there is an abundant supply.

"Out of Abundance, he took Abundance, and still Abundance remained."
The Upanishads

Yet fear makes us forget this, closing our eyes to what is present and making us unnecessarily competitive. Companies working in similar areas can co-exist. Look at the number of real estate agents, restaurants, banks, insurance companies, etc. that there are. One just has to find a niche. Companies working in similar areas can even work together for their mutual benefit. It just takes a little creativity.

The other thing is that, though fundamentally, people need the same things, individual preferences means that people want different things – a concept that eluded Henry Ford who said of his Model T Ford,

"They can have any colour - so long as it's black."

In my simple illustration there may have been other people searching along the beach but they were attracted to and searching for different items. I watched a couple express their delight over finding a sea fan which I had given nothing more than a cursory glance.

Finally, storms cause much destruction and even death but at the same time they also give birth to new things. Treasures from the sea are scattered along the shore. The shoreline itself undergoes a dramatic transformation. We may call it erosion but it is a part of an ongoing process that helps to shape and even create land masses. In the same way, when we undertake a massive goal we too must undergo a similar transformation. We have to root out parts of ourselves that no longer serve us, sever relationships and create new ones. At times it will feel quite traumatic but at the end of it all, a new part of our inner beauty will be brought to the fore for all to see, marvel at and benefit from.

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