Below is an article I wrote nearly a decade ago. Over the last many years since writing it, I have learned much more about why goal setting is not one-size-fits-all. (A great new book was just published on personalizing your goal setting for maximum effectiveness.) In the article, I mention an aptitude Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation calls "foresight" or, as Highlands Ability Battery labels it, "Time Frame Orientation".
Some people have short or immediate Time Frame Orientation, others have long-range Time Frame Orientation, and many have something in the middle. A person with each Orientation has his or her own way of best and most effectively setting goals.
What's all that mean?
From the Highlands Training Manual:
Time Frame Orientation is a measure of the ability to naturally consider the impact of present actions on future plans. It reflects an orientation towards planning, goal setting, and accomplishing tasks.
Your Time Frame Orientation indicates the most natural frame of reference for making plans, thinking about your future, or considering the impact of what you are doing now in your life. Time Frame Orientation tends to fall into three ranges:
Immediate—today up to one year
Intermediate—one to five years
Long-range—five to twenty years
As an example, I test long-range in both the Highlands and Johnson O'Connor assessments. That Orientation has some advantages, including the ability to stay focused on a distant goal. On the other hand, I may procrastinate because, well, there's always tomorrow!
In working with clients, I have found that it is extraordinarily helpful, if not necessary, for people to know their Orientation if they want to set goals they will reach.
Now that article . . .
Gratitude for Aptitudes
BE KIND TO PIGS
Many of you have probably heard the wise admonition: "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of your time and it really annoys the pig."
The pig just doesn't have that aptitude.
A human example: Don't try to teach some people to have short-term goals. You are wasting your time and really annoying them, or worse yet, making them feel inadequate about their own style of goal-reaching. More about that later.
One size does not fit all. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to take the Johnson O'Connor aptitude test. The testing was in one of several non-profit Human Engineering Laboratories around the United States. I learned of aptitudes I did and did NOT have. Aptitudes of which I had never known before.
Over the years, I have watched many people go to the Laboratory for testing. I was delighted as I saw what happened when people learn new things about themselves.
NOW I SEE: THIS IS ME
The people returned from the testing very happy to know more about their strengths and challenges. They learned why one career might be easier and more fulfilling than another. They were able to make better choices and see why it had hurt when they were trying to force themselves into professions that did not fit.
It is painful to be a square peg in a round hole.
Discovering our aptitudes through any method supports our mental health. Knowing our aptitudes is our right and our responsibility. If a person has a strong aptitude, they will often feel a restlessness or anxiety when not using it. We are given our gifts to use!
MAKE MUSIC YOUR OWN WAY
More about goal-setting: A person with a strong aptitude for foresight (as Johnson O'Connor calls this gift) usually does not achieve their goals by following those goal-setting plans we read about in so many books and articles.
A person with a very low aptitude for observation (again, the Johnson O'Connor term) is not bothered by lots of clutter. They don't notice it.
We each have our own gifts.
By understanding that we are all gifted in different areas, we can stop judging people who do things in a different way. In an orchestra, the trumpet player does not judge the piano player for not playing the trumpet. To do so would be silly.
Make sure you are not forcing any square pegs into round holes. To do so is teaching a pig to sing. Annoying or even hurtful. And don't let people annoy or hurt you. Let's each and every one of us find our gifts and present them to the world.
Isn't it grand that one size does not fit all?
AND TODAY . . .
Today value your own gifts. Do you have an aptitude that is crying to be used and that you are keeping dormant? Clues are always being given to you about your gifts. If you are quiet and listen, the gift's call will whisper (maybe shout) to you somewhere in your mind or heart.
Heed the call and see what goodness that gift will bring to you and others. It will be an extraordinary release.
Today celebrate the gifts of which you are already wholly aware, too. Make sure they get your full attention and gratitude.
And please celebrate the gifts of others. Don't judge if they have chosen a different instrument -- or if they can't sing. Each one of us has our own aptitudes. Rejoice for all who have claimed theirs.
On a related note: "No Singing Pigs: Maximize Firm Resources with Customized Business Development Plans".