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Specificity Improves Mental Clarity

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.’ Lily Tomlin

 Specificity, or the act of being specific, allows you to know exactly what you want. It might not help you with every decision, but it will help in some of the key decisions, if you can ask which choice will get you closer to your very specific outcome. When you are specific, you won’t become a wondering generality, as Zig Ziglar would nicely put it.

So, how do you set goals and achieve them. I’ve learnt in life that achieving goals is important, but the person you become in achieving those goals is even more important. I need to state upfront that you won’t achieve every goal you set out to achieve but the experiences you’ll have will set you apart and get you at a higher level of consciousness. I would like to share with you the method that I use to achieve any goal which I choose. I’ve also adopted it in my coaching and consulting interventions. I’ll give you a high level approach here just to get you started.

  1. Identify the GOAL you want to achieve. Let’s say: a good public speaker.
  2. Identify Strategies, Methods, Process. STRATEGY is a WHAT you need to do to achieve your goal. Read books on public speaking and practice it. METHOD is a HOW you will do it – Get a mentor/coach, join a Toastmasters club near you, etc. PROCESS is a system you’ll use in executing your HOWS. This is how you schedule your activities in a day.
  3. Write down the BEHAVIOR required for you to execute and achieve the above, this is about the disciplines you need to have. Self-awareness is very key here. Understand your habit loop. Your habits drive your behaviour.
  4. What BELIEFS must you hold true for you to have the behaviour required. This is so important to know because your behaviour is driven by your beliefs. You may want to achieve a hundred but if you only believe that you are only capable of achieving fifty, then you will be out of sync with your goal. This is where doubt comes in and sabotage your goals. You firstly need to believe that you are worthy and capable of achieving your goal, it’s a journey not an event.
  5. What is your BIG WHY/S? This is reason/s you want to achieve your goal. I always liken the WHY to fire and heat. Small fire produces small heat and big consistent fire produces big heat. So, the size or strength of your WHY determines your resilience and persistence, that ‘I’ll do whatever it takes’attitude.

When the above are in order, there’s ALIGNMENT or COHERENCE. This means your GOAL, BEHAVIOUR, BELIEFS are all in agreement and that’s what leads to goal achievement. You need to challenge yourself by setting goals that will make you feel uncomfortable, your potential lies outside of your comfort zone. It’s true that most people don’t fail in life because they aim to high and miss, but that they aim too low and hit. Setting and achieving lousy goals doesn’t bring out the best in you, it doesn’t push you to the next level of your potential.

We are raised and socialized to believe and act in certain ways. We operate within the constraints of the dominant society and the things that they’ve created for us and it’s a serious challenge to see yourself beyond that and to work to get outside of that even after the things have changed because that has become so much part of you. You unconsciously operate within the parameters of what has been put in place. For you to get out requires a conscious deliberate determination to firstly think outside of what life has thrown at you.

When we are specific about our goals, we become very clear of the journey ahead and the focus gets to be channelled where it matters most. When you watch lions attacking a group buffaloes or zebras, they don’t just chase after the pack, they identify just one in a pack and stick with it until the end and more often than not, they catch it. Being specific helps you effectively focus your energies on the most important things. Be stubborn about your goals but be flexible about your methods. Yes, specificity will help you become that somebody you’ve always wanted to become.

Veli Ndaba is a Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of three books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on , or +27 83 304 9773