If you want to achieve your goals, don’t focus on them: Reggie Rivers at TEDxCrestmoorParkED


Translator: Alina Siluyanova
Reviewer: Denise RQ If you want to achieve your goals
don’t focus on them. That goes against everything
we have ever said about goals, right? Everything everyone
ever talked about goals, is you pick out what it is you want to do,
you set your goals, you write them down, you stay focused on them,
you check your list over and over again, you come back to it,
and that’s how you achieve your goals. What I have learned
over the course of my life, and watching other people,
and studying other things, is that that’s not the way
to achieve goals. We all talk about setting goals, but we don’t talk that much
about how do you actually achieve goals. So, I started learning this lesson
with my first girlfriend in life. Her name was Lasandra Johnson. You guys, who has never seen Lasandra,
you have to take my word for it; she was the most beautiful 6th grader
God has ever created. (Laughter) And for the record,
I was in the 6th grade too. (Laughter) I used to look at this girl
and think every day, “I would love for LaSandra
to be my girlfriend.” But I was young, and I was afraid,
so I didn’t go to say anything to her. But one day I was standing
on the playground during recess, I don’t know where
the courage came from, but I decided today is the day,
I wasn’t going to wait another day. I turned to my buddy,
John Statura, and I said, “John, go ask Lasandra to go with me.” (Laughter) So he goes walking over to her,
and he poses the question, her little group of friends giggles,
she says something back. He comes walking back to me, he says, “Reggie, Lasandra said,
if you want her to be your girlfriend, you got to ask her yourself.” (Laughter) But I am in 6th grade, I sent my best man.
What does she want? (Laughter) But there was no way
I was going to ask her myself, so I continued to think about her
for the rest of that school year. Summer brake came,
and I thought about Lasandra Johnson every day of the summer brake. The next year was 7th grade,
and at my school, you had a different class every hour,
and lockers between classes. For the first hour I had Woodshop.
Lasandra had Home Economics. At my school, you’re allowed
to change one class as long as the class
you are moving out of met at the same time
as the class you’re moving in to. So, I walked into
the principal’s office and said, “I’d like to change
from Woodshop to Home Economics.” (Laughter) I walk into a Home Ec room,
there are 22-23 girls in this classroom, one boy named Jurgen Kuhn and now, me. I asked the girl named
Tara Virgamini to move over so I could sit next to Lasandra Johnson, and that day I asked her
to go with me, myself. (Laughter) Thank you. (Applause) Thank you. She said, “No.” (Laughter) That was my first lesson
on the prerogative of women that would be many more, but, making a long story short, Lasandra did end up
becoming my girlfriend for two weeks and three days
later in that school year (Laughter) but I tell this story because that’s
the first time in my life that I can say that I purposely focused
on the part that was in my control and ignored the part
that was outside of my control; that was the first time in my life that I purposely focused
on my behaviors rather than my goal. We set goals for ourselves, but our goals are things
that are outside of our control. Whatever it is you want
to achieve in your life. If you are a student
and you want to get an A in a class, that’s outside of your control, you don’t get to write A’s
on all of your papers, you have a teacher
who is going to grade these papers, give you assignments, somebody else is setting the curriculum,
somebody else is grading you, you don’t control what your grade is. If you want to be
the world’s best salesman, you don’t get to make
all the sales yourself, you don’t get to do
both sides of the transaction, you have to recruit
customers into your life. Goals require you to have
the participation of other people, therefore, they are
outside of your control. So, if you spend too much time
focusing on your goals, you’ll never achieve them. Behaviors, by contrast,
are things that you alone can do, it doesn’t take a parent,
a teacher, a coach, a friend, a neighbor, a spouse, a child;
it doesn’t require anyone else, you alone can do behaviors, and behaviors are
the things that you focus on in order to achieve your goals. And looking at the situation
with Lasandra Johnson and I: when I was focused on my goal, which was to have this girl
to be my girlfriend, I couldn’t speak to her
if I was walking past her in the hallway. In my head all the time it was, “Lasandra is cute,
I want her to be my girlfriend. Lasandra is cute,
I want her to be my girlfriend.” We’re walking past her in the hallway,
I’d turn the other way. (Laughter) I wouldn’t even say “Hello” to her, because I was terrified,
all I could think about was my goal. When she told my friend John, “If Reggie wants me to be his girlfriend,
he got to ask me himself,” I heard, “Yes”. (Laughter) So, I stopped thinking about the goal, the goal had already been achieved, I came back to focusing on my behaviors. Once I started focusing on my behaviors, I figured out what class
she had at first hour, I learned the rules at our school
about changing classes, I went to the principal’s office
talking to adults, “Hey, listen, I got to change classes,
I got a girl to catch.” (Laughter) I walked into
the Home Ec room, full of girls. I was afraid to talk to one girl,
now there is a room full of girls, and I was like, “Ladies, I am here.” (Laughter) I asked Tara to move over
so I could sit next to Lasandra, and she did! I had a little swagger to me
because I heard, “Yes.” And when I heard yes,
I stopped focusing on the goal and I started focusing on my behavior, and I got myself
into a position to achieve my goal. She said no at that time,
but later she said yes. Years later, when I looked back
and thought about that, I thought, “That’s really the model for what
happens in life, it’s a metaphor.” If you think about what we all go through,
say, weight loss. We all were on a diet
at one point or another – I am on one now, involuntarily,
my wife has put me on one – but we all were on a diet
at one point or another. And how does a diet start?
It starts with a goal. You say, “I want to lose
10 pounds by the end of the year.” OK, that’s great, you have a goal. If you stay focused on that goal,
you will never lose 10 pounds. Because what the next thing we do? We go from our goal to the scale. We say, “OK, I am going
to step on the scale. Scale, please tell me
if I’ve lost any of these 10 pounds. Oh, I haven’t lost any.
I’ve gained a pound. OK.” (Laughter) And we keep coming back to the scale, and you go through a week
where you eat well, you’re exercising, you’re drinking a lot of water,
you’re doing all the right things, and you get on the scale, and you’ve
gained weight; you quit the diet. If you focus on your goal,
you won’t achieve it. Instead, you have to focus
on your behaviors, your behaviors
are what is in your control: you control the food
that you put in your mouth, you control the liquids
that you put in your mouth, you control how much exercise you do, you control how you feel
about the weight that you are, you control how you feel about
the amount of food that you’re eating, you can either feel
deprived and miserable, “Oh my God!
It’s the worst day in the world. I’m eating less than I used to eat.
I’m starving all the time. I feel miserable. I can’t believe
I’ve almost died. It’s awful!” Or you can say, “I’m proud of myself. I’m eating less than I used to eat,
I have this instead of that, I feel good. I know that if I keep this up,
when I get on the scale, the scale is going
to tell me something good. If it doesn’t tell me
something good right now, I know if I keep this up,
I’m going to get where I’m going.” Right now, we treat the scales
as if it is an oracle sent down from God to tell us about ourselves. (Laughter) When you are on a diet,
it is like, “Oh, mighty Oracle, please tell me what I should think
about myself today!” – “You’re fat!”
– “Ooh!” (Laughter) The Oracle has spoken. If you focus too much on your goal,
if you focus on what it is you weigh, then you’re never going
to achieve your goal. You have to focus on your behaviors. Think about our kids. We have goals for our kids:
we want our kids to be responsible, we want them to be mature,
we want them to work hard in school, to work hard at their extra curricula,
to hang out with the right people, we want them to be engaged. We want all these
wonderful things for our kids, and because we want these things for them, because we’re focused
on those goals for them, we spent most of our time
as parents being agitated, “Why are you doing that?
Told you not to do that. Get over here. Do your homework.
What? You’re only on one page in? I told you to get your homework done!” And we spend all our time
fussing, and fussing, and fussing because these kids won’t do
what we have in mind for them in terms of our goals;
we’re focused on our goal. If you’re focused on your goal,
you’ll never achieve it. You have to focus on your behaviors. Behaviors are things
that are in your control solely. So, you can’t control what your kids do. You can control
your reaction to your kids, you control rewards,
you control consequences, you control your consistency, you control whether you deliver
on the things you said you’re going to do, you control what you respond to
your kids at a level 10 or a level 3, you control what you control. And when you focus
on the part that is in your control, which is your behaviors,
you tend to achieve your goals. So, how does this work? The way that I do it in my life: when I set a goal for myself, I make a goal, and I say,
“I want to lose 10 pounds.” So, then, I immediately look and say,
“Behaviors are very short-term. I only believe that I can control
my behaviors for 7 days, that’s it.” So, when I sat a goal, I say, “What can I do today that is going
to help me to get closer to that goal? What can I do tomorrow that is going
to help me to get closer to that goal? And what can I do this week that is going
to get me closer to that goal?” Today, tomorrow, and this week. I write things down
in those three categories and plan out how I’m going to go
after the goals that I have in my life. And that keeps me focused
on my behaviors, and I know that if I focus
on my behaviors day after day, I keep myself motivated day after day, I feel good about what I’ve done
because I say, “I did this, I did that,” I’m not worried about the goal,
I’m not worried about how much I weigh, I’m not worried how many sales I’ve made,
I’m not worried about anything – that is outside of my control – I’m focused 100% on the part
that is in my control. If you want to achieve your goals,
don’t focus on them. If you want to achieve your goals,
you have to focus on the behaviors that are the building blocks
that get you to your goals. Thank you very much. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “If you want to achieve your goals, don’t focus on them: Reggie Rivers at TEDxCrestmoorParkED

  1. if u want to score a goal… just focus on playing a good football..

  2. Very impressive! Focus on your behavior instead of the goal you've set. it'll get you closer to your goal and keep you motivated.
    I'll definitely keep that in mind and put that into practice! Thx for the video:)

  3. You delivered it the best way, starting with the emotional part of the story as childish and it may sound everybody can relate to it somehow then personally I started to see the meaning of that in many levels and aspects of life. On a business side, we say to ourselves : Networking, Networking, Networking and all what is not networking is waste of time for the business, while you can just say Hi to people (the behavior) and try to be open then you will find yourself at least half way there through networking (the goal).

  4. yes I feel , This is the real truth. Goal is just a destination. Always the path matters to drive confidently till the end.

  5. So look at football not goalpost. Be are here to put football in goal post not vice versa. Messi is excellent because he keep eye on ball not goalpost.

  6. I love his voice. It's so calm.
    And maybe this is one of my most favorite TED talks ever <3

  7. This is real good man this 10 min gave me great ideas I spent all day watching Netflix thinking about all my goals I should work on if I focused on my lazy behaviour today and caught my self I woulda got more productive

  8. Your behavior is under your control so focus on it,but goals r not under your control so don't focus on it

  9. 100% disagree. Making and obtaining goals is how we succeed. Always focus on your goals.

  10. There is something wrong with this. I haven’t figured it out yet. But something seems wrong.

    How can you achieve a goal without knowing where you are going? Or keeping your eyes on the path?

    A clear vision keeps you focused. You can know what you need and what you don’t. And when new things come into your life you can know easier what you will embrace vs what does not serve your needs.

    Somehow to me it seems a clear vision and clear focus is essential for achieving your projects.

  11. Yo wait his middle school had recess!? They took that from us in fifth grade!!!

  12. It's like stoicism in philosophy. We are supposed to focus on what we can control and let anything that we can't control.

  13. This is already 6 years old I just watched it for the first time, very good information, too much energy on things we cant control, makes me frustrated, block them out and calmly work on what we can control. Thanks for posting!!

  14. 6:53 , 8:53

    Focus on the behaviors, instead of the goals.

    How should I 'be' as I'm taking action towards those goals..

  15. yes and when you have a challenge it's actually fun trying to figure out what are the steps needed to solve the challenge

  16. If you want to achieve your goals don't focus on them, rather focus on the behavior which will help you to achieve your goals ❤️

  17. You are taking like Sri Krishna and Swami Vivekananda.
    Thank you for your knowledge
    It helps me to understand and control me.
    Thank you again

  18. This trick also works in FPS games, really I'm a pro gamer now that's how I know.

  19. Thx q so much. It's like we trust ourselves that we can accomplish the goal, so we enjoy the process.

  20. Can't stress enough how good that speech was, i hope i can stick to good routines and develop a good personality for my entire life. 2020-x

  21. So basically, I understand here is "there is a woman behind every successful man"!!! 🙂

  22. Subtitles should be there so that it will help others like me to learn how to speak in English 😏

  23. This was great, thanks, I have been researching "personal professional goals examples" for a while now, and I think this has helped. Ever heard of – Farnicaas Switcher Capitalisation – (do a search on google ) ? Ive heard some extraordinary things about it and my cousin got excellent results with it.

  24. Good and amuses me is that now world is saying about controlling your focus on processs and not on goal.this is what bhagawat gita has said 5000 of years ago

  25. What if you have a goal of meeting more people. What kind of habits would you need to do? The habit of going up to strangers and scaring them every day?

  26. Focus on feeling better. Go for a walk, watch comedy that makes you laugh, listen to music you love, play with your dog, or if whatever you can think of to feel fantastic. Then act.

  27. TLDW: A grown man talks about how attractive a sixth-grader is for over ten minutes

  28. If you Want to achieve your goals, Don't focus on Them? I've Got Aspirations of Possibly Teaching the Army a New Ability With a Swiss Army Knife? But, it Seems as Though No One Wishes to Listen to me for a Start. As, it Seems as Though the majority of Society Would Rather Loose Several ribs a Piece, buy a Dress and grow a beard Before Gaining a Stoop to be able to drag Their Own Knuckles on the ground, to Prepare themselves for Going Back to Climbing Tree's With the Muslim World Who Never Will and Don't Wish to Possibly Advance? Only, it's the 21st century, and I Don't Intend on buying a Dress or growing a beard for a Start. Although, Who knows?

  29. hi everyone ,if anyone else wants to uncover how to reach your goals in life try Sarparder Subliminal Starter ( search on google ) ? Ive heard some decent things about it and my neighbor got great results with it.

  30. If you play win or lose you will no have freedom and creativity, just do what you want everytime and forget rules

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