During the last few years I have had many talks about goals and goal management with different people. And, every time, I have received a variety of responses. One day a discussion might be very simple--just a few words would be enough to understand each other. Another day, and with a different group, it might be very difficult--the talk might be long and painful, and end with us still unable to get through a few basic principles. Usually, I get a mixed audience in which a few people show support, the majority passively listen, and a few act aggressively and criticize every little thing.
Before, in those situations, I tried to look for a problem inside myself: Why I was not prepared? What did I do or say wrong? But a few days ago I found some interesting information on how different types of people relate towards goals. I can’t say how accurate the data is, but overall it matches my own experience quite well.
In the information I found, the author divided all of humanity into four categories by their way of thinking:
- Victims (about 30% of the population) - People who consider themselves victims of a situation or a system. They passively sit and wait for somebody to come and save them, or wait until the next disaster strikes.
- Survivors (half of the population - approximately 50%) – People whose life, by their own opinion, is at the mercy of their environment or market conditions. They live every single day without an action plan or goals. They are reactive. They wait until a problem arises or a change occurs. When it happens, they react with decisions that, when carried out, will put them back in their comfort zone.
- Dreamers (about 10% of the population) – Active people, who constantly generate ideas. While they may think of new ideas and solutions, they rarely act upon them and do not make the necessary steps to achieve them.
- Innovators (less than 10% the of population) – The smallest group of people, who are not only able to generate new ideas, but also actively turn them into reality. Such people set clear goals for themselves, develop action plans, and reach them with persistence and energy.
From these descriptions we can see how people from different categories may react to goals:
As victims do not believe in their strength and instead wait for someone to save them, they most likely will not see much of a reason to goals and therefore view them negatively. These people, I assume, create the most aggressive part of my audiences.
- Survivors, when presented with goals, might view them favorably. They may temporarily leave their comfort zones to achieve a few small improvements. On the other hand, they may also look at goals as a negative element and fear that they will cause them a loss of stability. Because of these two possibilities, they would most likely react neutrally when talked to about goals.
- Dreamers react positively to goals, but to them they are usually just another dream that they think will become a reality by itself somehow. Realistic analysis, clear action planning, and the work towards goals is not interesting or even desirable to them.
- Finally, only innovators will look at goals and goal management as a tool and as one of the most important life skills.