Despite huge progress in scientific knowledge no one is absolutely certain how the mind works internally. We can observe many of its structural facets but no one can be there to “truly” observe thought processes.
Having said that we can learn much from the accounts of people who have succeeded in achieving their goals as well as those who haven’t.
There is much to suggest that goals are neutral and that as human beings one of our primary reasons for existence is to achieve things and attain certain levels of operation. We know how it feels when we don’t achieve something so it seems reasonable to assume that goal orientation is a primary human value.
Our culture, society, and religious persuasions arguably set out our values. In most societies murder, theft and laziness are considered to be negative, undesirable outcomes. Supposing an argument was put forward that says we all spend far too much time in the pursuit of capitalist ideals and that long periods of relaxation should not just be the rewards of retirement but should be the aim of every intelligent human being. Do just enough to survive and invest energy in enjoyment. Suddenly, in this context our notion of laziness takes on a new frame. The point here is that if hard work is truly not your aim and not supported by your deepest value system then any attempts to make “become the Managing Director of Global PLC” one of your goals is likely to fail.
It might help to view the mind as a filing cabinet containing a folder titled “attitude to hard work”. Every thought that we have about hard work is stored in that folder, and treated by the mind as real. The desire to get up late, or imagining a long, relaxing holiday, start to become virtual realities stored in this folder as if in a sense they were real experiences. To then state a goal of enjoying hard work needs to be thought through and broken down.
This is the essence of the coaching approach. To achieve a goal you must break it down to ensure that under scrutiny it really is your goal and not merely your casual attraction to some of the benefits of achieving a goal.
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