3 TED Talks on Goal Setting and Achievement

It seems we’ve been doing things all wrong. When setting goals, we’ve been molded into focusing on the goal, gaining rewards for good behavior. No matter what the goal is we’re trying to attain, it seems to be a universal model we’ve adapted; focus, carrots, sticks. While this approach may work in a couple different scenarios, in the overall scheme of things, they don’t work at all. The whole point of setting a goal is to achieve results. The following TED Talks give insight to unique perspectives on just how to do so.

Denver Broncos running back, Reggie Rivers, gives unusual advice in his Ted Talk: If You Want To Achieve Your Goals, Don’t Focus On Them. Since childhood, it’s been engraved in our minds to set your goals and focus on them. According to Rivers, it wasn’t until he chose to focus on his behavior, instead of his goals, that he started to see results. This 18-minute talk is both charming and hilarious. Rivers will have you rethinking how you approach your goals.

Behavior is the key element in achieving our goals. If we want to see change, we must become the change we want to see. Author, motivational speaker and marketing consultant Simon Sinek, gives us insight on a very simple switch we can make that can achieve tremendous results. In his Ted Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action, Sinek shows us that by considering our “why” more importantly than the “what,” we will tap directly into the part of our brain that controls our behavior.

The focus now turns to achieving supreme performance in behavior. We’ve all seen the “carrot on a stick” approach. Sure, offering rewards for improved performance can seem like it would be optimal. Dan Pink, career analyst, illustrates perfectly why this method doesn’t work in his Ted Talk: The Puzzle of Motivation. In his talk, Pink tells about a study of people from MIT showing that the higher the incentive, the worse they performed. Pink says, “Reward narrows focus and restrict possibility.”


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