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Would I Lie To You?

Would I Lie To You?

In the days of Ancient Greece, when the armies of the Greeks were about to destroy Troy, there lived a girl called Cassandra.

She was a special girl. As well as being beautiful and a king’s daughter, she was a prophetess in Troy. Not surprisingly for those days, such a combination of beauty and talent attracted the attention of a top executive. In this case, it was the god Apollo.

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Apollo wanted to be her mentor. At least, he wanted her. Then as now, alpha males, especially the Greek gods, often have some earthy notions about beautiful young women. She resisted. And when he got too pressing, she told a pack of lies as a way out.

Apollo was the god of truth.

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Being typically vindictive when he didn’t get his own way (not unlike many top executives today) he cursed Cassandra. From then one, every prophecy she made would be completely true…but no one would believe her. She would have to foresee every disaster—including her own murder—and be helpless to prevent them.

That’s what happens when you resort to lying to get out of a tough situation. You forfeit your credibility. Once the lie is discovered (and they nearly always are), no one will believe you again.

Integrity seems a small thing, especially when times are tough and holding onto it seems to promise nothing but misery and failure. Like the god Apollo, the people who rule our working lives aren’t always fair or ethical. Cassandra didn’t deserve to be faced with the choice of telling the truth—and being trapped into unwanted sex with the top guy—or lying to escape. It wasn’t a fair choice. But that’s the way the world is sometimes.

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Hopefully none of you will ever have to face such a dreadful situation. but milder versions of the same dilemma are frequent. The figures were calculated wrongly. Do I own up—or say they’re correct and hope no one notices? A customer’s complaint is valid, but will cost money to put right and embarrass the business. Do we acknowledge the error—or stonewall and wait until the customer gives in?

It’s so tempting to tell a few minor lies and walk away from the problem. Maybe you’ll even be praised for saving the business a few dollars. And it will be so inconvenient to have to face the truth and sort it out.

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There’s always a price. Cassandra sacrificed her integrity to save her herself from sex she didn’t want. It wasn’t a choice she should have had to face. Apollo’s revenge was out of all proportion. That’s how it is with stories. They dramatize to make a point. Yet the basic conclusion remains worth thinking about; lying your way out of trouble often causes far greater harm. Integrity is worth more than you may think.

Adrian Savage is an Englishman and a retired business executive who lives in Tucson, Arizona. You can read his serious thoughts most days at Slow Leadership, the site for anyone who wants to bring back the taste, zest and satisfaction to leadership; and his crazier ones at The Coyote Within.

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them

How to Plan Your Life Goals and Actually Achieve Them

Where do you want to be 5 years from now, 10 years from now, or even this time next year? These places are your goal destinations and although you might know that you don’t want to be standing still in the same place as you are now, it’s not always easy to identify what your real goals are.

Many people think that setting a goal destination is having a dream that is there in the far distant future but will never be attained. This proves to be a self-fulfilling prophesy because of two things:

Firstly, that the goal isn’t specifically defined enough in the first place; and secondly, it remains a remote dream waiting for action which is never taken.

Defining your goal destination is something that you need to take some time to think carefully about. The following steps on how to plan your life goals should get you started on a journey to your destination.

1. Make a List of Your Goal Destinations

Goal destinations are the things that are important to you. Another word for them would be ambitions, but ambitions sound like something which outside of your grasp, whereas goal destinations are certainly achievable if you are willing to put in the effort working towards them.

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So what do you really want to do with your life? What are the main things that you would like to accomplish with your life? What is it that you would really regret not doing if you suddenly found you had a limited amount of time left on the earth?

Each of these things is a goal. Define each goal destination in one sentence.

If any of these goals is a stepping stone to another one of the goals, take it off this list as it isn’t a goal destination.

2. Think About the Time Frame to Have the Goal Accomplished

This is where the 5 year, 10 year, next year plan comes into it.

Learn the differences between a short term goal and a long term goal. Some goals will have a “shelf life” because of age, health, finance, etc, whereas others will be up to you as to when you would like to achieve them by.

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3. Write Down Your Goals Clearly

Write each goal destination at the top of a new piece of paper.

For each goal, write down what is it that you need and don’t have now that will allow you achieve that goal. This could be some kind of education, career change, finance, a new skill, etc. Any “stepping stone” goals you removed will fit into this exercise. If any of these smaller “goals” have sub-goals, go through the same process with these so that you have precise action points to work with.

4. Write Down What You Need to Do for Each Goal

Under each item listed, write down the things that you will need to do in order to complete each of the steps required to complete the goal. 

These items will become a check-list. They are a tangible way of checking how you are progressing towards reaching your goal destinations. A record of your success!

5. Write Down Your Timeframe With Specific and Realistic Dates

Using the time frames you created, on each goal destination sheet write down the year in which you will complete the goal by.

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For any goal which has no fixed completion date, think about when you would like to have accomplished it by and use that as your destination date.

Work within the time frames for each goal destination, make a note of realistic dates by which you will complete each of the small steps.

6. Schedule Your To-Dos

Now take an overview of all your goal destinations and make a schedule of what you need to do this week, this month, this year – in order to progress along the road towards your goal destinations.

Write these action points on a schedule, you have definite dates on which to do things.

7. Use Your Reticular Activating System to Get Your Goal

Learn in this Lifehack’s vlog how you can hack your brain with the Reticular Activation System (RAS) and reach your goal more efficiently:

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8. Review Your Progress

At the end of the year, review what you have done this year, mark things off the check-lists for each goal destination and write up the schedule with the action points you need for the next year.

Although it may take you several years to, for example, get the promotion you desire because you first need to get the MBA which means getting a job with more money to allow you to finance a part-time degree course, you will ultimately be successful in achieving your goal destination because you have planned out not only what you want, but how to get it, and have been pro-active towards achieving it.

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Featured photo credit: Debby Hudson via unsplash.com

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