A speeding boat whirred in the Arabian Sea in full tilt. The horizon showed off four or five desolate islands right at the edge of my view from the balcony at a nice cozy resort in Tarkarli, Konkan Beach, Western India.
I wanted to see what happened to the speeding boat. Did it stop or did it continue at the same speed? These questions become important when you are on a holiday doing nothing.
After about half an hour, the boat reappeared in my field of view. The person on the wonderful blue and white yacht did not drop an anchor or moor his boat to anything.
I waited the whole time to see what was going to happen to the boat. Will it hit the beach or one of those dreaded submerged rocks?
The boat drifted and bobbed with the gentle waves for the entire half an hour.
At this point, my mind drifted and thought about how I was exactly like that boat. I was adrift without any goals set for the year. I started to wallow in self-pity.
Do I drift like that boat or do I do something about this year that was coming up?
Wow! In 7982 years from now, computer engineers will have the fright of their life and will fleece unwilling customers $10,000 per line of code to change four digit years to five digit years. I am sure, they will dub the problem as the Y10K problem.
Oh! Wonderful times ahead
Ok, back to my floating year ahead. What do I do?
I started to think about the previous year, 2016, where I had set a minimum number of goals for myself. I aced in some, but fell back in the rest.
My friend had called me earlier and showed me the brighter side.
“Bala, you succeeded in some. That’s amazing! Most of us even forget about the goals we set at the start of the year.”
Now, I do know that he was being nice to me. Still, since I had nothing to do at the beach, all I could do was to think about random rubbish like setting goals.
So, that’s when I decided to hit the comfy hanging chair in the balcony of our room at the resort.
A twenty kg problem presented itself.
My son had decided to occupy the exact same chair at the exact same time that I decided to plop. I was too lazy to give him the you-know-when-I-was-your-age-I-used-to-give-up-my-seat-to-my-elders talk. The other reason was that he’d WhatsApp my mom to find out if it were true. Yikes!
The other chair had put madam to sleep in the wonderful, bright and sunny afternoon.
Sheesh! Where does a man go to sleep?
I had had a heavy lunch, so I didn’t want to lie down to sleep. These blasted resort people had to make such yummy food. I looked around to see if I could find anything to sit on for snoozing.
Nope, nothing, but the floor had a black device in the corner.
I picked up my plastic book and sifted through the contents.
Kiddy books, next page.
Kiddy books, next page.
Kitty books, next page.
Travel books, next page.
Italian and French books, next page.
Blast! This is MY virtual library too! Where are my books?
Idea - I clicked the “Last page” of the library button. Still no sign of the books that I had downloaded.
There they were. All my books in the virtual attic of my virtual library.
I pulled out e-book after e-book and my sight fell on the e-book - Martin Kaye’s book on “Goal Setting”. I had downloaded this from https://www.amazon.in/Setting-Workbook-Included-Step-Step-ebook/dp/B01BWO2JQU?ie=UTF8
Yay!! A nerd dream come true. A goal setting book when I thought my life was about to become a rudderless boat.
I started to read the book with gusto, since there were no people around me who were awake enough to ask me to order tea, or order me to take them down to the kiddy park.
Now, I fully understand that glorious Bagpiper ad meant - “You, me and Bagpiper”.
Here, I was. Plastic book in hand, me and an intensely nerdy topic in hand.
I slowly sifted through page after page about positive psychology. Martin Kaye, the author, did a good job in detailing how the entire field of psychology had revolved around problem solving. He gave an amazing metaphor of climbing the mountain.
You have to love to climb and have a peak to climb. If you don’t love to climb and your happiness comes from reaching the peak. Then, your happiness may be short-lived. If you love to climb, but don’t have a peak in mind, then you may be going around in circles without really going anywhere (this scenario is akin to the rudderless boat mentioned at the start of this post and myriad other corporate meetings). Lastly, if you love to climb and you have a peak in front of you, you are all set, my friend!
Right-ho! I am with you, Martin! I was thoroughly convinced that this book was on the right track. I was all set to learn about goals and motivation, when I hit a stumbling block.
The book went something like this:
“People who write down their goals are happier than people who type out their goals. You need the goal (the peak) and a list of strengths (the love of climbing). This goal thing doesn’t work for people who sit on the floor facing the balcony of a beach resort and passively read a book about goals and motivation.”
“Hey Martin, are you around here somewhere? in Konkan beach?” I looked around while thought to myself.
OK, he didn’t exactly say those words, but the import was that.
Next logical step was to write stuff down.
So, I had to lift myself up and look for writing materials. Whoever brings pens to beach resorts? Well, I did.
But, notebooks, nope. None in the resort room either. They wanted you to go to the beach or be in that rudderless boat and not spend time writing your goals for the year inside the room.
What was I going to do?
What did that TRIZ problem solving guy tell me? Use resources around you.
So, I started to look around to see if I could find anything that I could use. Nope, nothing, but old hotel bills.
Useless, what should I do now?
Hey! Wait a minute, yes, I will use the empty space on the back of those hotel bills.
Where do I start and what do I do after that?
Here, this is what I did. The following method is a combination of what the book said and some of my own thoughts because of what was mentioned in the book:
- Strengths - Write your strengths down.example - you may be good at public speaking or organizing or coding or gardening. Whatever…
- Audiences - Write the audiences you work with or you want to work with example - your boss, your spouse, your team, your clients.
- Strengths vs. Audiences - Make a table of strengths vs audiences
Strength/Audience Client 1 Client 2 My Team My Boss My Spouse Me Public Speaking Organizing Coding Gardening
- Think - Make a pair of strength and audience and think of how you can help the audience with your strength.
Spend some time thinking about this combo. Example - How can my public speaking strength be useful for my team? How can that strength benefit them?
Strength/Audience Client 1 Client 2 My Team My Boss My Spouse Me Public Speaking X Organizing Coding Gardening Strength/Audience Client 1 Client 2 My Team My Boss My Spouse Me Public Speaking (1) (2) (3) (5) (4) Organizing (7) (8) Coding (6) (6) (6) (9) (13) Gardening (11)
(1), (2) and (3) Hold public speaking courses for Client 1, Client 2 and My Team once a quarter, so that they can learn from my strength of public speaking.
(5) Use my public speaking strengths to help my spouse be assertive at her work place.
(4) I will join Toast Master’s club to learn from others in the field.
and so on and so forth. Finish outlining all the goals.
I used the 5 steps above to set goals for myself for 2017.
By that time, my son left his seat at the hanging chair and headed downstairs to play in the park. Madam had left the balcony to order tea for us. How nice of her?
The dude with the yacht had a nice solid anchor down.
What are you waiting for? Go ahead and set your goals for 2017.
Next time, I will tell you about how I plan to put them into action.