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Above Average Goals Tribune Article

ABOVE AVERAGE GOALS

Where did September go and why is time flying by so quickly?  Distractions keep us from putting our whole heart into the gift of now.  I came across an article by Jenny Marchal titled, Warren Buffett Says Most People End up Being Average Because They Don’t Keep This List. It sheds light on the cracks in our armor where seconds, minutes, hours, days and years slip away.  For instance, life goals give us a sense of purpose and direction but distractions lead us off course time and time again leaving us short on quality results.  Marchal references a great story about a challenge Warren Buffett gave to his personal airplane pilot Mike Flint, to highlight Buffett’s 2-list strategy.

According to Marchal, the story goes: “Buffett asked Flint to carefully think about, and write down his 25 top career goals.  Once Flint spent time doing this he came back and presented them to Buffett.  Buffett then asked Flint to pick out the top 5 most important goals. So, at this point Flint now had two separate lists- the list of 5 goals and the list of 20 remaining goals. Like many of us, Flint concluded that he would focus primarily on his top 5 and work towards the other 20 as and when he could find the time.  However, Buffett stopped him and said that this is actually the path of becoming unsuccessful because really he should now throw away his list of 20 altogether—no matter how important many of them may be—and focus solely on the top 5.  Why?  Because that list of 20 is essentially a distraction.”

Buffet’s moral of the story is that average people don’t know they should AVOID seemingly important things in their lives.  The top 5 goals get shelved while they attempt to spread themselves thin between both lists.  Title the second list “avoid at all cost” and file it away. Concentrate on the first list and review your time management to verify your second list isn’t merging into your time table.  Marchal reminds us, “It’s human to get demotivated and distracted—two feelings that can be the death of our goals.  The bigger the list of goals we have, the more chance there is to give up and move on to the next one in the hope that this one will succeed.  Whatever your top 5 goals are, make a conscious effort to stick to these.  Keep motivated to achieve these goals.  Remember, your time investment is key to success.  Get the success you want: prioritize efficiently, focus intently and stick to it.”

Let’s put this 2-list strategy to the test on a larger scale. Looking back on Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria, our priorities came to a screeching halt as we united with one goal in mind: help all people, cities and countries that were devastated by Harvey’s and Maria’s wrath, followed by Mexico’s 7.1 earthquake and the wildfires out West.  Unity was the goal and should continue to stand on the world’s top 5 goals on Buffett’s first list.  It wasn’t that long ago.  Put yourself in the victims’ shoes (anywhere on the planet).  Do you honestly think that when they’re struggling with no food, where they’ll lay their head at night, grieving the loss of loved ones, let alone the uncertainty of their own mortality that it occurs to them to include in their first list to be angry about what political party is running the White House, whether someone is taking a knee at a football game or the latest controversial tweet?  In this life time, average is simply not good enough.

Originally published in the Bay City Tribune on Sunday, October 1, 2017.

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