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Our thoughts about goals, and the options available to help us accomplish them, are what determine our chances of success.


The size or complexity of a goal isn’t what decides the odds of you achieving it. And though some goals may be beyond your current level of skill, knowledge or confidence, these aren’t what cause you to succeed or not.

What causes you to achieve your goals in just about anything in life is your ability to lay hold of the not yet. It’s in focusing on the not yet, that you develop a mindset that helps you to see everything you do as an opportunity for growth.

Carol Dweck, in her Ted Talk, speaks about the power that comes from believing that we can improve.

In focusing on the not yet, we see that our current reality doesn’t have to be our future one, and that with faith, and a recognition of our ability to choose something different, we’re capable of shaping a new reality.

For example, if you were asked to play a piece of music on the guitar without having any previous experience, the current reality would be that your level of skill would be insufficient to fulfill the task.

However, assuming you’ve no physical or mental dispositions preventing you from playing the guitar, with time, resources sufficient to your needs, and some focused, strategic effort, you could shift your level of competency.

In fact, Josh Kaufman in his book, The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything FAST!, suggests that its possible, with just 20 hours of “focused deliberate practice”, to acquire a new skill and perform it to a good level of proficiency.

The point here is that in proactively changing your level of skill and competency, it’d be possible to move towards creating a reality that differs to your existing one.

Be open to the possibilities

Your ability to achieve and experience success in any effort starts in your mind, and is dependent on how open you are to considering the possibilities. What you think, and what you’re prepared to see, matters!

“We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.” Dale Carnegie

Just think, when you look at a goal and see only the obstacles preventing you from accomplishing it, you’ll fail to give thought to the options that could help you achieve what you’d otherwise count as being impossible.

But when you give proper thought to the number of choices that could support you in your efforts to reach a goal, you’ll grow in hope. And guess what? Your chances of succeeding will increase!

Take for instance the example of learning to play a piece of music on the guitar. Let’s say we’ve listed as the possible options that would help you in reaching your goal, all of the following:

  • Take guitar lessons
  • Read a book on guitar playing
  • Follow instructions from a guitar manual
  • Ask someone who plays to teach you
  • Watch Justin Guitar video tutorials
  • Commit to daily practice
  • Listen to the piece repeatedly

Even if some of these routes were unavailable to you, what we see, with a little exploration of the options that could support you in the accomplishment of your goal, is that your chances of success seem more likely.

In fact, the probability of you successfully accomplishing your goal to play the piece of music on the guitar, will increase in line with the number of possibilities you’re open to.

Your success depends on more than just the possibilities

But though drawing up a list of options that could help you reach your goal is necessary and good, to effectively move you forward towards changing your current reality, there’s more needed.

I’d suggest that for you to reach your goal, in addition to having looked at the possibilities, you’d also need to be intentional about these three things.

  1. Choosing the best options,
  2. Setting clear goals for their implementation, and
  3. Execution.

Choosing the best options is key to keeping you aligned with what you want to achieve, setting clear goals will ensure you stay on the correct path towards your destination, and execution will keep you moving forward towards completion.

Along with believing that achievement is possible, when these three factors are in place, the probability of you actually experiencing success in reaching your goal, will multiply.

Ultimately, your ability to achieve depends on your mindset; you’re beliefs, expectations, and the stories you tell yourself each day. So to realise success in just about anything in life, choose to think that anything is possible.

Over to you

What goals are you reaching for at the moment, and how open are you to the possibilities?

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