#329 Warren Buffett on Goal Setting

Three Steps to Clarity

In Born for This, Chris Guillebeau tells us that, according to legend, Warren Buffet once gave a struggling friend a three steps process for setting goals. Here’s the quick look.

1. Start by writing down 25 things you’d like to do in your life.
2. Circle the Top 5 goals.
3. Throw away the other 20 goals and focus on tasks that relate to the Top 5.

As Chris says: “The principle is that you can’t work hard on 25 important things at once. You might think that the other 20 are still important, just not as important as the top five. But no — Buffett’s advice is to run away from the non-circled items as fast as you can. By choosing only five life goals, you’ll be far more invested in achieving them.”

Today’s +1.

If you’re feeling so inspired, bust out a piece of paper. Write down 25 things you’d like to do in your life. Then take a moment to identify the 5 that REALLY matter. Then have the courage to cross out all the other stuff and/or see how they fit into a coherent pattern over an extended period of time.

When I do the exercise, I see the different things I want to do in my life falling into different buckets (and different time frames). Of course, I orient around The Big 3: Energy + Family + Service.

So, it’s fun to see stuff like “Feel energized everyday,” “Become a world-class Spartan athlete,” and “Live to 100” neatly fall under “Energy.”

While “Be married for 50+ years,” “Be BFFs with Emerson + Eleanor,” “Help Alexandra and Emerson and Eleanor actualize their potential” fall under “Family.”

Then stuff like “Create 10,000 +1s,” “Create 1,000+ PhilosophersNotes,” and “Help 1m+ people Optimize their lives so we can change the world together” fall under “Service.”

What happens when YOU do that exercise?

Here’s to getting clarity one little self-awareness exercise at a time!

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