Aristotle tells us that to flourish as human beings we need targets.  We need goals.

This week we’re reviewing some of the key lessons from Brian Johnson’s Optimize Mastery course. Today’s lesson is: Happy people have projects.  That’s step one.  

In choosing goals we want to aim for something just beyond our comfort zone.  If it’s too easy, that’s boring.  If it’s way too challenging, we lose interest. Essentially, we’re looking for a “Goldilocks” challenge: not too overwhelming, and certainly not too easy.

Next, we need to focus on what we control – i.e. the process, not the outcome.  Most of the time in life, we don’t control the end result.  People who don’t realize this reality are often frustrated and disappointed.  A better strategy is focus on those things we do control: our effort, our energy, our focus. 

The big idea today is WOOP – another of Brian’s mnemonics.  WOOP stands for:

  • W: wish
  • O: outcome
  • O: obstacles
  • P: plan

Wish is the vision, the desired outcome.  Where we want to go.  

Outcome refers to the benefits we will experience: “why” the wish is important or good.    

The second “O” is where things get interesting.  It stands for obstacles – anticipating what could go wrong.  The second O is where we take our goal and rub it up against reality.

I’m a goal-setter.  I’ve been setting goals and making plans for years.  But, I typically do not consciously spend time up front thinking about the challenges I’m likely to face.  That’s new for me.  The research shows that when we anticipate and plan for the obstacles we get better results.  I’m adding that to my playbook. 

Then, we work our plan (the “P” in WOOP).

Good stuff.

Final lesson for today: don’t skip the celebration. Why?  Mindset.  Again.  Turns out there’s real power in pausing and saying: “That’s me.  That’s what I do.  I win!”  Success begets success.  

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