For those of you afraid to open this post at work, or to show the children have no fear. As a bartender and DJ I must confess to having uttered my fair share of four-letter words in my day. As an author and motivational speaker I try to find more intelligent and creative ways to express myself today. This post is not, however, about those kinds of four letter words. This post is about a four-letter word that used to frighten me far more growing up.

What is this scary and offensive word? GOAL. When I was growing up and I am sad to admit through a good portion of my early adulthood this word is something I not only shied away from, I ran in the opposite direction! Why? In school goals are things we were graded on. Your goal was to get an A on the test. If you scored a B- you did not meet the goal. Your goal might have been to complete your paper or project in three weeks. If you were a student like myself, the day before at three o’clock in the morning you were up driving your mother crazy as she drove you crazy with such inspiring phrases such as, “You had three weeks to complete this paper. Why didn’t you start earlier!” I actually recall trying to write a paper on ‘Bucky-balls’ or spherical fullerene molecules named after Buckminster Fuller. Working with my good friend Russ, and only after completing his paper and being wired on espresso in the wee hours of the morning I turned in a paper that opened with the question, “Bucky-balls chemistry’s next big thing or kinky sex toy?” This sounded great between Russ and I the night before. The chemistry teacher, however, did not enjoy our humor. I did not do well on that goal.

As you can see my history with the word ‘goal’ has not been the best. Introduce Earl Nightingale. Even a passing reader of this site has heard me mention his name countless times. Earl was a motivational speaker and author among countless other occupations. I encourage you to listen to his great work The Strangest Secret In it, Earl informs us the difference between successful and not successful people is that those who succeed have goals. Naturally, this made me want to assume the fetal position in the corner, but I listened on. He explained goals in a way that helped me not only not be afraid of them, but understand how they can serve us.

Here is what he said, and please understand I am paraphrasing. Imagine a ship about to start a voyage. There is a captain at the helm. He has a destination all mapped out and knows exactly where he is going. In the event he gets off course, he can make corrections and get back on course. The odds are 9999 times out of 10,000 he will get there. Now imagine a ship without a captain at the helm. It has no crew or destination. We just start the engines and let it go. If it makes it out of the harbor at all it will crash or end up on some deserted shore a derelict.

The ironic thing is most of us begin our day like the second ship. We just start our engines and away we go. Imagine if we began our day more like the second ship. With our end goal for the day, week or year mapped out in front of us. If things happened to get off course we can make adjustments and get back on course. With this analogy I could see the power and benefit of goals. I now look forward to coming up with goals and working to achieve them.

I encourage you to do the same. Write down a goal and look at it as you start your day. Notice how you are doing. If you find you have gotten off course, that is ok, just make the necessary corrections and you will be on your way again in no time. If you get completely lost, feel free to utter another four-letter word of your choosing, and start out again.


  1. I must be one of those strange people that never set goals. I think it’s because I always tried my best in anything I took on. Maybe it’s because I really don’t understand why you need a goal when you are accomplishing every thing you wanted. I’m in charge of my destiny and I’m proud of the person I am and what I have done. I read a poem once and I’d really like to find it. Basically it was about “enough”! It fit me to a T. I don’t want for more of anything, all I want is enough!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda,
      A lot of people need goals to keep them focused and motivated. Sometimes a deadline and measurable achievements keep us going forward.
      You, however, touch on what I advise most people to do that wish to improve their life in a dramatic way, that change is only 3 words long – RAISE YOUR STANDARDS. You wanting to do the best in everything you do is how all of us should be! I would love to hear your secrets for maintaining such standards that allow you to live life as it should be lived


  2. I think it’s because I came from both parents who were heavy into their unions and a dad that was a Navy man. There were no excuses in the world that they could accept, for everything being done to my best. If I pushed buttons as a teen, I got double back in grounding! I didn’t have my room neat one day, and came home to find everthing in my room on the front lawn. My grandmother said I was grounded every time she spoke with me. That was my dad’s mother, and grandma was the disciplinarian when dad was growing up. Grandad worked on the railroad and would be gone 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t know how he did it, but my gramps was the hardest working man I ever knew! Grandma ruled with an iron first, but she was my saving grace! My folks were not religious and it was my grandma that took me to church, she read to me out of the Bible, had me memorize the 23rd Psalm, the Lord’s Prayer, John 3:16, and got me my first Bible. I got my first job at Gimbles downtown, (I realize an age difference here, as I am almost 70.) I lived in Bay View and didn’t have a driver’s license yet, but just as going to school, I either, walked or took a bus, if I was lucky enough to have bus fare. After high school, it was expected that I would work and dad would take me to apply, but once I secured employment, still without a driver’s license, I was expected to take the bus. I could keep an allowance out of my pay, but the rest had to go into the bank. I worked for Ma Bell, now AT&T, third shift running the IBM 360 computer system printing consumer bills. Until I married in 1967, it was instilled in me to perform to the best of my ability! I knew what I wanted out of life, and I just did what I needed to accomplish everything. Now that I am near 70 and hit some bumps along the way, for the most part, I am still the same Linda. My health has caused me to be a little more dependent on some help, but I wouldn’t think of taking advantage of anyone! I’m happy with my life, sorry for the few turns I should have reconsidered, but I’ve taken responsibility for them and faced them head on.


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