Everyone has a different idea about success. Many times our expectations are determined by the way we were raised and our interaction with our peers. These expectations can cause us to set artificially low goals.
I know a man whose goal is to get his GED so he can get a job and make payments on a car. I just met a girl who has a goal to finish a 9-month cosmetology program so she can work at SuperCuts in front of Wal-Mart.
When looking at your goals, make sure you understand the expectations you carry that influence the magnitude of those goals. If no one in your family went to college, you will probably set your expectations for your education lower than someone whose parents both had graduate degrees.
When I was in second grade, a higher level student was polling everyone at the school to see if they planned to go to college. When she asked me I said, “you mean it is optional?” Granted, that is the point of view of a second grader, but as I grew up, I never really entertained any thought of not going to college because it just wasn’t part of the mindset I was raised with.
Here are some things to ask yourself when you make a decision to help make sure you aren’t setting your goals too low:
- Why did I make this choice? Did you pick a particular option because of how you were raised or because of your parents’ experience? It isn’t bad to do something that everyone else in your family has done, but spend a few minutes making sure that you aren’t doing things only because of peer pressure.
- Are there other options I didn’t consider? Make sure you aren’t blind to other alternatives. Just because you don’t know anyone who has done something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be an option for you.
- Are there options that you feel are beyond you? Don’t assume you can’t do something because other people are smarter, better looking, etc. Just because something might be harder for you than for someone else doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try for it.
Be careful to set your goals based on what YOU really want and not based on the average of your peers.
Dave @ 30 Days At A Time says
I think the opposite direction of pressure can be ugly too. My father has a PhD and I always assumed I would follow that route as well. However, now that I’m at the point where I should be starting my PhD program, I’m not sure that’s really the direction I want to go. I think you summed it up nicely. “Be careful to set your goals based on what YOU really want.”
Yeah, I’ll do that.
Marko @ CalmGrowth says
People in the crowd (mob) do things differently than when they are alone. Behaves differently, and decide differently.
Often they are blind to other alternatives, except for general opinion.
Circumstances are similar in school, family, etc. People do not choose based on what they believe is best, but go where everyone else go, they follow the mob.
But what separates those who lead and those who follow is the power to take the risk and do differently from others, do as you want.
J. Lynne says
I think most of my big life decisions were made through parental pressure and, yes, I regret allowing that to happen — or even that it often continues. However, until you have been there – or here — I don’t think it’s fair to pass judgement. It’s a lot of stress living up to high standards you didn’t set for yourself.