Think about writing a story. There's the easy way and there's the hard way of writing a story. The hard way is having no idea how you want it to end. You just write, write, and write hoping that you would have a good ending. However, doing this would just make the writing process longer than it should be -- and you may never finish the book.
Then, there's the easy way, which is having a solid idea as how you want the story to end. When you have an ending in mind, then you'd create your story in such a way that would take you to that ending. Writing a story this way would make the writing process shorter, and you just might finish that book!
Or let's take teaching a lesson for example. If you have no idea what you want your students to learn, then you'd teach them anything you could think of. But this, of course, would mean that you wouldn't be able to assess whether or not your students learned anything because you had no ending in mind. As a homeschool parent, I have an end point in mind for my kids when it comes to math. By the end of the year, I want them to be able to do this, that, or the other with math. However, if I have no ending in mind, then I would just teach them random things about math -- and by the year's end, my kids would have learned nothing!
When you have an ending in mind, you would make your decisions to take you to that end point. But without an ending in mind, then all of your decisions would simply be random.
So, let's take this example...something many of us could relate to. A co-worker picks a fight with you. Maybe he or she accused you of doing something wrong and tells the boss. Now, you could handle this the easy way or the hard way.
Easy way: have an end point in mind. How would you like to see this issue resolved.
Hard way: have no end point in mind and react however way you'd like...and risk getting disciplined.
On the job, I witnessed a situation that could have turned physical. The situation started with a simple, yet tensed disagreement between two people. The argument was short-lived and both parties could have walked away with a simple let's-agree-to-disagree solution. But then a third party needlessly got involved and the first two parties jumped back into the tussle.
Now, ONE of the first two parties could have ended it well, but because he had to justify himself, he angered the third party to the point where she wanted to physically attack him. Instead of backing off, he said, "I dare you!" At that moment, a fourth party jumped in to prevent any disaster from happening.
Did any of the three parties have an ending in mind? No, they all just did what they felt, not considering any possible consequences of continuing this argument.
You see, when you ask "Where would I'd like to be," you'd make decisions that will get you there. But if you don't ask that question, then any decision you'd make would seem like a good decision.
While I haven't been a big fan of goal-setting, I have started to appreciate this concept more and more because having a goal is your END POINT. This is where you want to be, and if you know where you want to be, then you'd adjust everything in your life so you could get there.
- Want a road trip to last no more than two hours? You'd adjust your travel route.
- Want to be debt free in five years? You'd adjust your financial habits.
- Want to be slimmer in 12 months? You'd adjust your fitness and nutritional regimen.
- Want to be done with your book in six months? You'd adjust how you spend your time.
Simply wanting to do something is not important. How you want to END is where your focus should be on.
- Instead of "I want to clean my house," think of, "I want my floors swept, my clothes folded, my kitchen clean, and the garbage taken out by 5 pm!"
- Instead of "I want to be healthier," think of, "I want my meals to regularly consist of 80 percent whole foods within four months."
- Instead of "I want to learn Spanish," think of, "I want to be able to have a full conversation in Spanish within 10 months."
Whatever decisions you make right now is simply random unless these decisions are taking you to a specific place. If your decisions aren't guiding you to a recognizable destination, then your decisions might take you to a place you don't want to go!
- Before you lose your cool, think where the END POINT is.
- Before you spend another dollar, think where the END POINT is.
- Before you say something questionable, think where the END POINT is.
- Before you pursue some interest (be it a person or a thing), think where the END POINT is.
It's really easy to get started on anything. The hard part is seeing where you might end up. This is especially true if money is your main motivator. All you see is the green, but you don't see what's behind all that green.
Before you jump, ask yourself where you want to land. Closing your eyes and leaping off a cliff hoping for the best will get you killed. Jumping out of an airplane with a parachute over a pasture of grass is another story...one which would lead to success.