By: Martin Grunburg
Just over a year ago my youngest daughter Eva, decided to run for student council president (as an eight grader). Upon hearing her decision my first tendency was to shield/protect her from the pain of a potential loss. However, I managed to contain myself and any impulse to intervene (I said nothing).
I’m glad that I did— she won. What I found even more fascinating (than her victory) was that when she set out to write her speech she titled it, (get this) “The Best Speech Ever!”.
I just laughed… that’s funny I thought.
Eva’s always had a great sense of humor and a very mature, dry, quick wit (compliments of her mother) but I suspect there was a little more to the speech title than meets the eye. “The Best Speech Ever!”? Seriously? Who says that? Who writes such things? I mean that sounds a little or a lot audacious and perhaps even arrogant? Eva is none of those things. She’s rather humble, quiet and thoughtful young lady. I mean I’ve written a handful of speeches in my life and have never even once, considered titling any of them, “The best speech ever!”
“The Best Speech Ever!” Absurd right? Move over Abraham Lincoln, MLK and Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt
At this point, you may be wondering, “Well was it any good? Was it the best speech ever?” Not exactly. It a good speech that helped her win for sure but nobody is sending it to the Library of Congress. However, the more I pondered it (the title specifically) the more interesting it became.
What could I learn from our little eighth grader’s bid to win her Student Council Presidency?
And, here is the answer, drum roll please…
Why bother, if you don’t fully believe?
That’s right… Why bother going after that goal if you don’t believe it’s possible? I’m sure that sounds overtly simple, trite and cliche.
But really think about this seriously, “What is the point of expending any effort or energy if you don’t fully believe you can do it— that you’ll achieve your goal? Why are you even going to attempt it if “you’re not in it to win it” as the saying goes? What is the point!?
I know this seems like a real no-brainer, totally obvious yet that is precisely why it demands our attention. I’ve made a second career out of analyzing the obvious at this point so why let this one escape.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve just gone through the motions myself… putting in time, energy and attention toward some goal with the thought, “Look, we’ll give it a go and if it doesn’t work out, that’s alright— you never know, we’ll see what happens.” (think old Jewish rabbi voice with palms facing upwards shrugging shoulders. ; )
So, what’s wrong with proceeding with that mindset?
Well, that’s the voice of pragmatism — not belief. Pragmatists are great when it comes to looking backward, commenting, criticizing and critiquing. Identifying what, where and when things went wrong and how they could have gone better or different. And, our society loves to criticize and judge everything! Think about it, today’s most popular TV shows involve “judges” or critics.
Here’s the problem though when it comes to goal setting: GOAL SETTING IS ABOUT THE FUTURE!
People who create the future aren’t and have never been known as pragmatists. Nobody has ever called Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk pragmatists. Instead they were all labeled visionaries.
Vision is rooted in belief. Belief is essential to creativity. Goal achievement is creation!
This is a why one of the smartest (most knowledgeable) men in history, Einstein, proclaimed, “Imagination (vision) is more important than knowledge.”
The future comes one day at a time and the best way to predict the future is create it. While it’s essential to know which way the wind is blowing ; ) (more great cliches) here’s a singular truth: No great achiever, visionary or creator was known to be a pragmatist. He/She was a visionary first— a creator who believed in her ability and vision long before anyone else.
A few questions for you:
What’s your biggest goal at the moment?
On a scale of 1-10 what is your belief that you will achieve it?
Who determines if you are right or wrong?
Who knows for certain what the outcome will be?
Ask yourself, what’s the value of beginning toward your goal if you don’t believe it’s possible?
Always remember, “There has never been a statue erected to honor a critic”. Believe.
Until next week,