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Choose a Dream

My young nephew aged five, was over visiting during the Christmas holidays and as he was being tucked into bed before going to sleep, he very quickly shut his eyes and I asked him “What are you doing?” and he said “I am choosing a dream”  he thought for a few moments and then said “I am right now, I have chosen a dream” and then promptly proceeded to fall asleep.

Dreams and goals are something that we as adults can become cynical about, especially as life flows past with its relentless activity, tasks and mundane-ness as we sucumb to the daily grind. We don’t take the time out to do what is important but not urgent, such as making time to plan, set goals, become clear in your priorities and determine what is really important to you and your life.

The Importance of Setting Goals

Here is some food for thought regarding the importance of setting goals from interviews of Harvard MBA graduates.

“So, Why Do 3% of Harvard MBAs Make Ten Times as Much as the Other 97% Combined ?

The answer is a simple question: “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” In 1979, interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and found that :

  • 84% had no specific goals at all
  • 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
  • 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them

In 1989, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class.  You can guess the results:

  • The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.
  • Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together”.

(Source:  from the book What They Don’t Teach You in the Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormack).

Happiness is Not Just about Money

Happiness is not all about money and economic and financial growth (see a study that looks beyond financial growth as the only measure of success and ultimately happiness). This new digital world has provided us with an amazing range of activities that are not just about financial success but about happiness and enjoyment at a very basic and self actualized level.

  • Top footballers on a few hundred thousand a week can come home and find the most enjoyment is to play Grand Theft Auto (that only cost them $40) on their playstation
  • People go home and blog about their passions and interests and their blog posts are read by hundreds of thousands

7 Core Categories for Goal Setting

So what are the seven core categories you should be setting goals for that are important for you and bring you joy.

  1. Financial: such as total income or earnings, savings or debt elimination goals (maybe wanting to earn $250,000 a year)
  2. Career and Business: New projects , partnerships or relationships
  3. Fun Time: Vacations, Trips or special events or even taking time off  (6 months working followed by 6 months travelling)
  4. Health and Fitness: Losing weight, getting fit and good nutrition (this could be running 10km’s or even a marathon)
  5. Relationships: This can cover family, personal or business such as mentors
  6. Personal: Anything you personally want to have, be , or do and can include educational and spiritual goals (or even a a sports car)
  7. Contribution: This covers the areas of charitable, community or mentoring goals (could include donating your time at a local soup kitchen)

So take some time to plan, set goals and importantly dream.

What dreams and  goals are are you choosing?

Jeffbullas's Blog


  • susn

    I agree with all of this, but I have a problem with the following:

    Top footballers on a few hundred thousand a week can come home and find the most enjoyment is to play Grand Theft Auto (that only cost them $40) on their playstation.

    You lead up to that with the idea that money isn’t necessary for happiness, and my hope would be that some things that matter, like time with kids or whatever, would follow. Instead – this sorry statement. That ANYONE finds their greatest happiness comes from playing a game that glorifies theft, rape and murder – of civilians and cops, no less…shows us what a low we have reached as a species. Ugh…makes me like the NFL even less.

    I realize this wasn’t the point of the article, but including such a pathetic statistic seems a poor choice to me…although I guess you are just telling it like it is…

  • Hi, Jeff,
    I loved that example of your nephew! Kids have such a simplistic view of things in general. If only we adults can hold on to that.
    And though I’ve seen the Havard survey before but I never get tired of reading it each year as the year ends and the new one begins. Goals and writing them down are so important in achieving them. Not that I’m a pro at it.
    I’m still learning and trying to figure out how to achieve all my goals each and every year. I think part of achieving them for some of us is that we don’t put down all the steps to get there. At least that is my theory. We shall see if I am right at the end of this year.
    Have a great year! I’ll check back as I would love to read what else you have written.

  • Right on, Jeff! Last year we stopped visioning at my firm while we made lemons out of lemonade. Next month, with our fab coach, Grace Andrews, we will vision again….it’s five years from now, imagine you are waking up…what is going on… This way our visions start with no censorship or editing. Return to mojo!

  • I’m glad you tweeted this link tonight, Jeff. Even well into the new year, it’s good to take a moment to evaluate our goals for the year, assess progress, and make adjustments if needed. Or, if we didn’t get around to setting goals for this year, it’s not too late. Better to do it now than not at all; if you don’t know your target, it’s hard to hit it, right?

    Oh, and I also really love the story of your nephew. What a precious moment! What a precious thought! I hope his dream came true!


  • John Lawrence

    I have a dream for 2010/2011. I am music therapist but I have always been fascinated by computers and more recently, social networking and e-learning. I would love to show my fellow therapists the advantages of utilizing the internet and various applications but most people tend to be stuck in the “dark ages” (The last conference of a major music therapy association did not even utilize wireless internet and finally had projectors available for presenters).

    My dream is this – I am currently in the planning stages of the first, inaugural Online Conference for Music Therapy. I would love to see this conference be a success, with lots of international and student participation.

    I am challenged by the lack of assistance in the planning process, as yet – no major association endorsement, and financial resources.

    I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions

    John Lawrence
    Edmonton, AB
    Ph: (780) 288-1390
    E-mail: jlmt@telus.net
    Twitter: JLisaMT

    • Wow! John your online music therapy is a really fascinating and yet useful idea! I wish you the best and keen on seeing you fly high! Best of luck!

  • Saw the post originally about a year ago > but extremely relevant and topical stuff, particularly as regards disciplining out the core categories of goals setting. Nice Jeff.

  • My father was always reminding me to set goals and to focus on “what” you want and not the “how” I’m going to get there.  Like a ship at sea, you many not be able to see your destination, but you steer for it until it comes into view.

  • I started this process a few years ago and have found it to be true. At the end of every year I set my goals for the next year and then do not re-visit them at all until the next year. I have found that more often than not I had achieved more than 70% of those goals, and, the ones I missed seems to be completed at most a year or two later. The process really works and I will make adjustments to monitor them more closely so that I can achieve more goals more often. Thanks for the post

  • Great post and so true…

  • Sushil Krishna

    lovely post..! Love go through this one..!!
    Quite inspiring ..!

    Thanks Jeff..!

  • Lee Atherton

    I agree with all you’ve said. If we have no place we’re headed, how can we ever get there? Having that clear destination makes it possible to create a roadmap and not spend time just wandering.

  • Good work Jeff!

    Speaking from experience (Sales & Marketing Manager) I’d say that one of the main reasons that people don’t set / write down / commit to their goals is fear of failure – if they subsequently don’t achieve them.

    Many people would rather go through life accepting what is given to them rather than shaping their own future. Each to their own, of course.

    Take action!

    Thanks for sharing,