Goal setting, as it’s traditionally taught, can improve our lives, but it does not get to the heart of success. After many years of studying and teaching goal-setting techniques, I have found that there are three levels of emotion that are necessary to attract success.
The First Level—Desire
Desiring something creates a powerful energy that can magnetically attract better things into our life. Desire, however, is often vague.
We may desire a better life or a different job without being sure what that would look like specifically. I often hear people state that they want more money or a nicer house. Because of our lack of specificity, we might not get exactly what we are capable of receiving and deserve.
But we’re likely to get a better set of experiences—and when those arrive, we feel a sense of relief that life is finally looking up.
The Second Level—Belief
The more we understand something, the more we start to believe in it. Many goal-setting techniques recommend baby-step goals, with the thought that as we achieve each one, we build confidence in ourselves and our goals, which leads to greater belief in the desired outcome.
As belief grows, we get excited and our stomach flutters with anticipation. Belief brings wonderful new experiences into our life, and when they appear, we feel like celebrating.
Most goal-setting techniques aim for—but unfortunately stop at—this level.
The Third Level—Knowing
This is an exponentially higher emotional energy level that comes when we are familiar with all the specifications, feelings, and senses of the object of desire. There is no excitement because there is no doubt about its attainment. The removal of doubt comes about when we have clarity in the detail of what it is we want.
A little of this level of emotion can be felt in the many things we take for granted in our lives. For instance, I am so familiar with making crème brûlée from a certain recipe that I have a complete sense of knowing it will always turn out great, so the compliments I get are expected. When those creations turn up in our life, we simply acknowledge them with a quiet sense of gratitude.
Goal Chasing versus Goal Attracting
Traditionally taught goal-setting techniques can be effective at raising our levels of emotion from desire to belief. That will definitely improve our quality of life in some way, but it is a hit-or-miss experience. I do not believe, however, that it is sufficient for achieving the American Dream. For that we need to raise our level of emotion to a sense of knowing, which is a higher state of mentality.
Once we have our mentalities at that level, traditional goal-setting techniques are naturally replaced by the more powerful method of setting intentions to attract success. A goal is something we do not have that we desire to get. Our understanding is that the desired object or experience is separate from us.
Conventional goal-setting techniques show us how to creep toward the object in baby-step goals, each step meant to build up our confidence until desire turns into belief.
An intention, on the other hand, is a goal but with all doubt about its attainment removed. Baby steps are not needed because there is no uncertainty about getting what we desire. Instead of creeping toward it, we can simply sit back and let it come running to us. The main difference, therefore, between intentions and goals is direction of effort. With goals, we push energy toward the object. With intentions, we pull or attract the object to us.
This may seem like a subtle shift in mentality, but it is a critical one if you want to move from hitting a few goals to achieving any and all goals you set. Small changes in how we think make huge differences in outcome.
So, as we shift our conceptual understanding from journeying toward a desired object to attracting it to us, we slip naturally into an understanding of the law of attraction. We shift from a warrior mentality of chasing and conquering what we want into a wizard’s mentality of effortlessly creating anything we desire. Raising mentality to a sense of knowing is the secret ingredient between feeling better about the lives we have and having a better life.
Trevor Blake is a successful serial entrepreneur who started his first company with a few thousand dollars and sold it for more than $100 million. Now he is passionate about showing others how to succeed at anything using a three-step strategy he developed that’s backed by his business experiences and the latest findings in neuroscience. He writes about this in his new book, Three Simple Steps: A Map to Success in Business and Life (BenBella, 2012).
Originally published 7/3/12 and updated by the Inspiyr team 6/20/13.