The relentless thing about achieving a goal is that once you get there, you have to hang on to it. Otherwise, what’s the point? Can you say that you have achieved a goal, if you haven’t figured out how to keep it? Yet, the skills and talent it takes to reach the milestone of just achieving a goal, are different from the skills needed to keep what has been so hard to achieve. Just to be clear, I’m not talking about putting on your socks. That’s not a goal. Neither is keeping them on. Unless you’re two.

No, I am talking about worthy goals, goals that are difficult, goals that will fire every synapse of mind and heartbeat. Goals that benefit both self and the greater good. Yet, it seems to me, the harder the goal is, the more likely it is that it will be dropped (like the ball), or lost (the eye taken off the ball), or squandered. Oh yes, and the big one: the goal is often messed up, bungled, sabotaged. Why is this? Because, the goal is associated with an event, a snapshot in time. It is neither–a goal must be a continuum. A constant upgrade. Failed goals often involve a fight, a struggle that sometimes take a lifetime to achieve. The self-destructive perpetrator could be an individual, a professional or a political movement. How many stories are there about expeditions that climb to the summit of Mount Everest, only to make bad decisions that take lives on the way down? How many stories are there of professionals reaching the pinnacle of success, only to crash and burn in scandal and greed? How many freedom fighters have woken up one morning after the last bottle of champagne is gone, only to groan at the thought of governing a people who have never trusted them? Subsequently, the oppressed become the despots.

And what of those who succeed at both gaining and keeping the prize? They have seen their objective holistically. They are the visionaries. The act that starts the process of setting a goal is making the commitment to getting and keeping it, and implicit in the process of thinking it all through, taking everything into account, is integrity. A goal that is earned, is nurtured, and its value is shared.

To be successful, we must change our mindset. It’s not about getting and keeping; we must focus on earning, owning and sharing.

I write about this because, as a writer with a completed second novel, I am tempted to think that my goal is its release into the world. Yet I know, that is not the goal. The goal is to have as many people as possible read it. It’s not about selling the book, it’s about sharing my life-affirming view of our world. And so, while I nurture my platform, I ask that if you like my view of the world, and if you want to help me share my work then “like” my blogs, or reblog, or comment. Tell a friend. It all helps. And thanks.

So, who gets it right?

Tim Cook! With Apple’s release this last week, the Research Kit becomes the game changer in medical research. Of course I immediately signed up to the Stanford Medicine Cardiovascular Disease Research Kit. I have a healthy heart, but I was curious and wanted to find out how the Research Kit works. Its design and execution is superb because it’s easy. And it seemlessly uses data from my Fitbit. The surprising benefit for me was that I saw immediately that I was sleeping better. The genius of this open-source initiative is that by supplying data the participant benefits–without compromising his or her private information. The more people share their personal data, without identifying themselves, the healthier we’ll ALL be.

Watch the movie:


Should our privacy be a goal?

Whereas previously, we could assume that privacy was the default, now we have to fight to win it back. And when we get it back, we need to decide whether our privacy works for us, or is it to our detriment? I’m talking about an irrational adherence to keeping aspects of ourselves private, which, if shared would help to brand us as individuals coexisting in society. These are the private choices we all need to make.


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Bill Stamatis
8 years ago

Goals are good motivators to propel you on a journey, but it’s the journey that’s important. Writers often write numerous novels before their work reaches the public. Artists paint and sketch thousands of images before getting recognized. The quality of the journey–the people one meets, and the twists and turns one experiences–lends depth and brilliance and understanding to the final

Geoffrey Wells
Geoffrey Wells
Reply to  Bill Stamatis
8 years ago

Bill: Point taken; one has to stay authentic on the road to the destination. As Robert Frost said,
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
But Frost, walking alone with his thoughts on that road, didn’t have the thousands of distractions we have on-line today. Focusing on the goal filters out the noise.


The trouble with our age is that it is all signpost and no destination. -Louis Kronenberger

8 years ago

[…] Letter #6, where the city of Philadelphia is moving community-based services to the cloud, and in Letter #9, about Apple’s Research Kit. The value that data visualization and mapping brings to the […]

8 years ago

[…] (FYI, the underline is mine. I write about personal freedom and privacy in Letters #8, 9 and 12.) How we choose to act out in the space between the stimulus and the response informs our […]

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