Friday, October 28, 2011

Essay: Becoming Our Greatest Selves

For more articles, see my publications page.

This essay was originally published in Weeds Literary Journal in 2001. Please feel free to refer to and use these materials, just be sure to use the reference below when citing the publication:

Gardner, J. (2001) Becoming our greatest selves. Weeds Literary Journal, Snow College.

 Becoming Our Greatest Selves
Joel Gardner

 It has been said that if we put our minds to it, we can accomplish anything, but it seems that each of us has failed time and time again in accomplishing the thing upon which we have set our minds. How many times have we vowed to lose those extra pounds, make that grade in math class, or go to bed at a sane hour of the evening? Time after time we try, and time after time we fail. So many of us look at life as if we will never gain those things which we want most. But if we will follow the steps of establishing a vision of what is desired, outline steps for obtaining that vision, and follow the steps outlined, we can reach every aspiration that we have desires to reach.

The first step in setting goals is to create a vision of what is to be accomplished. The golfer hopes to one day reach the performance level of Tiger Woods. The artist has desires to create art such as that of Picasso. Wherever we focus our time, as student or sportsman, chef or charlatan, we must create a vision of what we truly want to accomplish, obtain, and become. However we choose to define ourselves and whatever vision we set for ourselves will inevitably come to pass.

There is a principle related to goal setting that must be explained before I continue onto the next steps: Wes Monroe, the accomplished entrepreneur, once said, "A goal unwritten is just a wish." Writing down exactly what is to be accomplished must be done to help keep our sights focused on what is desired.

After establishing and recording our vision, we must outline steps that will lead to the accomplishment of that vision. When preparing this set of steps, we need to ensure that they are SCRAM-based: Specific, Challenging, Realistic, Action-based, and Measurable. Our steps must act as a mathematical equation, the sum of which will end in the accomplishment of the goal. A golfer shooting to reach the level of a professional would not set as a step the perfecting of lawn-mowing techniques. Each step that he creates should increase his effectiveness as a golfer.

Once we have ensconced our vision and organized the steps leading toward it's accomplishment, all that is left is to follow the steps that we have prepared. It seems that this is the point of failure for nearly all of us. We need to keep continually in our minds the vision that we have set for ourselves, reading over the steps several times a day to keep track of the things which we accomplish. We could even ask our friends and family for support. As we follow our steps, we will become as the work of the artist, continually improving in richness and progressing in style.

If we create a vision, organize an equation of steps that lead toward that vision, and follow the equation, we will attain every aspiration that we have set for ourselves. We will overcome every obstacle that stands in our way and become whatever we desire. I hope that we will all realize our potential and strive to improve ourselves each day. In the words of self-improvement guru Kevin Trudeau, "God bless us, and may we never be the same again."

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