Goals are vectors, not scalars

When you think about a goal, it’s a desire to have or be something in the future. This is also known as a pipe-dream if you don’t have a System in place for achieving the goal. This system turns the goal from being an unmet desire to being a motivator for action, which in mathematical terms means that it has size (a way to quantify if you’ve met the goal) and a direction (the point from which you are starting). If you focus only on the goal itself, then that is a scalar, a pipe dream

Lets take a simple example. I want to have £3,000 in savings by end of January 2022. It’s currently August and I have £500 in savings already. So that’s a starting point and a target point. One approach to solve the vector would be to create a £500 per month savings target.

System:
1. Save £500 from salary each and every month from now until January 2022
2. Don’t spend any savings

Repeat until the target is met. That’s A simple obvious example by design to get you thinking. A goal without a plan is better known as a pipe dream. A goal with a plan and concrete steps is no longer a goal, it’s a vector, a plan of action, a tool which makes you realise your dream.

The example above assumes disposable income to drop into savings is £500 per month, which I accept is unattainable for many, so this is when you need to get creative. The goal is still the same, but the £500 per month saved is not your vector, so what are you going to do about it?

Truth is, that’s up to you. If that were your goal, but let’s say you only have the ability to save £10 per month, what could you do? You could sell stuff you own, take on extra work, find a side gig or make one, rob a bank (not advice!), there are other systems that you could put in place is the point and without the system to achieve your goal, it’s a pipe dream.

Put down the pipe, tap out the backie and get to work, your dreams will thank you.

Coda: a monetary sum as a goal is my stupidly simple worked example, but it’s a terrible goal, what is that money for, is it a wedding dress for your daughter? A holiday? A new PC? That’s The goal, the system is the same, but dream big and don’t dream about bucks.

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Colm Gallagher

Colm Gallagher

Hey, I’m Colm, an anlayst from Scotland who’s interested in becoming more productive, so I’m using Medium as my way of writing down and refining my process ❤