Tag Archives: goals

Is it hubris to want to be the best you can be, to scale the heights of accomplishment to reach its pinnacle? Our most audacious goals are driven by our most fervent desires. Embrace your aspirations in order to make them reality. Achievement results from work realizing AMBITION.

Summer break is already about halfway over, and for a lot of high school students, that means the pressure is already back on. You’ve got summer reading to do, math practice to finish, tutoring sessions and extracurriculars to sign up for before they’re full. It’s all overwhelming enough without knowing that colleges are getting pickier every year. If you’re aiming for a top school, you’ve probably gotten the impression that you need a schedule full of AP classes, a 4.2 GPA and flawless SAT and ACT scores to stand a snowball’s chance, and in some ways, you’d be right. Ivy League universities and other schools of that caliber can afford to expect perfection, and some students thrive when they’re striving for that perfection. That’s all well and good–our society needs its academic juggernauts. But not everybody is built for that kind of rigor, and if you’re not, it can be…

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All true preparation begins with the end in mind. Define your desired objective or outcome. Place your future self there, then look backwards and consider all the hard work, the training, the coaching, and the sacrifice necessary to achieve that victory. Before preparation even begins, commit to your GOAL.

For those of us who work with students to achieve their best grades and highest test scores, conversations about intelligence come up as often as discussions of athleticism in a major league broadcasting booth. Certain attributes very clearly connect to success in a specific task without actually being either necessary or sufficient, and intelligence definitely falls into that category. Part of the problem comes with mistaking intelligence with smarts. The term ‘smart’ seems to be a catch-all for a diverse mix of skills, strategies, and cognitive attributes the elude consensus. I like the spin Seth Godin–a genius in his own right–has on what smart really means these days: Smart is no longer memorization. It’s not worth much. Smart is no longer access to information. Everyone has that. Smart is: • Situational awareness • Filtering information • Troubleshooting • Clarity of goals • Good taste • Empathy and compassion for others…

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In February 2021, NASA landed its FIFTH rover on Mars in a mind-boggling and flawless demonstration of precision, planning, and execution. That human beings could, amidst all of the current chaos and madness of life on Earth, keep their eyes on an exceedingly distant prize to accomplish such a remarkable feat should be encouraging–even inspiring–to anyone pursuing tough goals. 1. Grades and scores are not the goals. I’ve worked with enough dedicated students to know the allure of a concrete numerical marker of ability. No sooner does a test taker break 1300 on the SAT than he or she begins targeting 1400. Academic achievement may be expressed quantitatively, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. What matters much more is the knowledge that is behind those grades or scores, as well as how a student was transformed along the way. When I see a high ACT score, I see…

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Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, one of the cornerstones of any business library, introduced a concept for stretch goals that has eclipsed the work itself in terms of enduring fame. In the book, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras discussed the BHAG–Big Hairy Audacious Goal–as a a powerful way to stimulate progress: “A BHAG is clear and compelling, needing little explanation; people get it right away. Think of the NASA moon mission of the 1960s. The best BHAGs require both building for the long term AND exuding a relentless sense of urgency: What do we need to do today, with monomaniacal focus, and tomorrow, and the next day, to defy the probabilities and ultimately achieve our BHAG?” The authors focused on big, hairy, audacious goals for titans of industry and unicorn entrepreneurs, but not all moon shots need be driven by a profit motive. Anyone can set a…

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