June 29, 2009
Fifty years ago this month, I graduated from high school. As part of the graduation liturgy, the school held an awards ceremony for seniors.
I won a California state scholarship for college. Several students did. There were other awards. I don’t remember them.
I remember a remark by another student. “I wish I had won an award.” That was an honest statement.
The student was a goof-off. He had never shown any interest in academic things or athletic things. He had never distinguished himself at anything. He had drifted through high school. He had been in only one class with me. He had never said anything in class. He just sat there.
At the time, I thought to myself, “this guy never understood what it takes to achieve anything.” Today, half a century later, his statement to me is the only thing I remember about him.
That incident confirmed my determination to set plans and execute them. A year later, I set my lifetime goal: to find out what the Bible says about economics. I am still working on this project. I have written over 30 volumes on this topic. I have many more to write. This took planning.
Maybe he changed. Maybe he attained something significant. But unless he changed, it is unlikely that he achieved much. Habits set at an early age stick with us. We must actively seek to replace them with better habits.
Goal-setting is rare. Setting plans for attaining these goals is more rare. Sticking with them for a lifetime is exceedingly rare.
Start with lifetime goals. Then shorten the time limit. You attain lifetime goals by mid-term and short-term goal-setting, planning, and execution.