Why would you set an (almost) impossible goal?
Here are two reasons why . . .
One positive and one negative.
You’ll have an excuse for your failure.
You’ll do more than you thought possible.
The event where FAILURE is almost certain!
The handful of runners who are selected for the Barkley Marathons know the odds are against them. Out of more than 1000 starts, only 15 runners have ever managed to finish under the cutoff time. The documentary about this event calls it The Race that Eats Its Young. It’s a grueling race, designed to be almost impossible.
Why would you ever take on such a challenge?
- Some people have an inner drive to test their limits . . . to see what they’re made of.
- Others of us are drawn to the idea of testing our limits. But we’re more likely to watch from the sidelines.
- Still others think the whole idea of putting yourself through this pain and struggle is just crazy.
Moving up to Number 1.
I’ve spent most of my life in the number two spot on this list. I love to see and read about people who push their limits, take on a big adventure and survive. But I was always too afraid to take the risks myself. I took on “safe” challenges. I wanted the feeling of doing something amazing without facing the danger.
You can make excuses or you can grow.
The thing about “impossible” goals is that you can use them for an excuse or to help you grow. I used impossible goals as an excuse for most of my life.
I used to be a loser!
If you’ve never heard my story, I used to believe that I shouldn’t win. It was a limiting belief I learned as a child. I’ll give more details about my story in a future blog and video. But for now, trust me . . . I was a loser.
I expected failure . . . and I was afraid of success.
So I would set an almost impossible goal. That way I satisfied both my conscious and my subconscious mind.
My conscious mind was satisfied because I felt like I was working on a “big goal.” I could even convince myself that I was trying really, really hard. At least I was attempting to improve myself.
My subconscious mind was satisfied because it knew I wouldn’t succeed.
So I was able to hold onto my limiting beliefs that I wasn’t a winner and, at the same time, satisfy my conscious desire for self-improvement.
Going for the impossible.
Reaching a goal that you set is great! You feel good. You pat yourself on the back. You celebrate. And you should celebrate your wins. And I’ve learned how to do this. My old limiting beliefs are gone.
But going after impossible goals will push you past your limits. You see, your limits are mostly in your mind. And, as long as you only do what you know is possible, you’ll never know what you can really do.
Why SMART goals may not always be smart.
You may have heard about setting SMART goals. Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive.
SMART goals are good in some ways. They keep you safe. They keep you focused. They keep you feeling successful.
But SMART goals won’t make you outstanding. When you have to push harder than you think you can and still have a good chance of failure, you grow in amazing ways.
But this growth only happens if you have the right mindset.
Last weekend I ran in a 50 kilometer Trail race in Arkansas.
I did not realize there was an 8-hour cut off time when I signed up. My best time for 50 kilometers is 9 hours. I knew I had almost no chance to run one hour faster.
I ran hard. But I knew I wasn’t going to make the cutoff.
Do you think people around you are doing the best they can?
My wife asked me this question recently. She heard Brené Brown say that most people are doing the best they can with the life . . . trying to live the best way they know how.
I understand the sentiment. But I think only a handful of us truly live at our absolute best. We always keep a safety margin. The Navy Seals say that when you think you’re at your limits you’re actually only 40% of the way there.
I’m looking for a full-throttle kind of life. I’m not going to be satisfied any more with watching other people have adventures and test their limits. I’m in the game.
This means that I am going to be doing things that scare me. I’m okay with that. I am working to make fear my friend.
And I am looking for people who want to join me to be better than they ever imagined they could be.
If you’re up for a challenge, join my email group. I’ll share my best tools and tips with you.