One of the most important principles in military strategy is to have an objective. Those who study military history and strategies understand having a clear and attainable objective is the first principle for military planners.
This principle translates to business, sports and to life in general. These are principles that can serve us through a lifetime or through parts of it—such as education, careers, child-rearing and personal health.
In 1971 I set an objective of quitting cigarette smoking. I chose this for health reasons as well as out of economic concerns— it was costing me too much money to smoke and I had better uses for money. I determined that I could accomplish this goal and I set aside my final pack of cigarettes. When I was in high school, I read “War and Peace,” by Leo Tolstoy. I carried a paperback copy of the book for weeks and read every time I had a chance. I read the book cover to cover, and I also turned in all my schoolwork during that time.
These were comparatively minor goals, but things I wanted to do. I could not have done them if I had not set a goal and determined I would achieve it.
Too many times in life we stumble along and do our jobs or make it day-to-day getting by—my parents used to accuse me of just getting by in school, when they knew I was capable of more.
I have had my share of successes and failures, but many of my successes were the result of planning and goal-setting. (Some of them have been pure blind luck.) Many of my failures have been the result of poor planning or setting unrealistic goals.
Our five sons went through many of the learning processes I did, and eventually learned the value of goal-setting. Sometimes it came easily and sometimes it was harder.
One value of sports is learning about setting and achieving goals. I wasn’t an athlete, but I did take part in student activities— including my junior and senior class plays. As in sports these were team efforts that required working together to achieve success.
Years have passed since then, but the lesson remains—having a direction and objective sets our direction and guides us through life.
The sooner we learn that the more successful we can be.
WARREN DOMKE is a columnist for the Pleasanton Express.