If I Knew Then Advice on careers, finance, and life from Harvard Business School's Class of 1963

Artie Buerk on Happiness & Success

Several years ago, a graduating class from a large, well-known business school was asked whether they had written goals, unwritten goals, or no goals. It turned out that 3 percent of the class had written goals, 13 percent had goals they had not written down, and 84 percent had no goals.

At the 10th reunion, the class was asked again about their goals and accomplishments. The results showed that the 3 percent who had written goals did 10 times as well as the others, and the 13 percent who had unwritten goals did twice as well as the other 84 percent.

The ability to set goals is very valuable in achieving success. Goals should be balanced in all areas of life — family, social, spiritual, business, health, wealth, education, etc.  The major rules of goal-setting are:

  1. Goals should be in writing.
  2. Goals should be measurable — if they can’t be measured, they’re not goals.
  3. Goals should be dated so you have a time frame to measure accomplishment.

People who have a clear picture of themselves and have set well-rounded goals tend to be much more successful than people who are vague in what they hope to accomplish in the future.

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