3/08/2012

In the movie, The Terminator, the android T-800 had a goal. He was sent back in time to terminate Sarah Connors, the mother of the future resistance leader. While he didn't succeed, we can learn a lot about goals from him.

I was an auto mechanic for a while. Actually, I have a degree in automotive maintenance. Usually, when I tell people the next words are, "You were a mechanic?!" It doesn't really fit. When people hear I'm a computer technician they say, "That makes sense." It fits.

What does that have to do with the Terminator? The reason I bring it up is I've been thinking about goals and realize the first key to achieving a goal is picking the right one. I lived my goal of being a mechanic, but it wasn't the right goal for me. So, it didn't meaningfully affect my life. My computer certifications do.

By being focused in a positive, visual way we can achieve great things. Let's see what we can learn from Arnold that can help us.

Secret #1: Stay Focused
The Terminator was focused. He didn't do anything else besides hunting down Sarah Connors. He didn't stop for a drink or an oil change. In a major city with millions of people he could have just started mowing people down. But, he stayed focused on one person.
What We Can Do 
Pick one goal to focus on and put all your energy into that direction. Stay focused in a positive way. Make sure it's specific and write it down in a clear, positive manner. When you complete that goal, move on to your next one.

Secret #2: Have A Powerful Motivation 
The Terminator was programmed to do one thing: kill Sarah Connors. His motivation was fulfilling his programming. That's why he was created. He wasn't a cooking robot sent to kill someone. But, he was a robot and we're people. Can we do the same thing?
What We Can Do
Decide why the goal is important to you. There has to be some reason it will benefit your life in the long run. If you're going to write a novel, then focus on having your story shared with others. Imagine your readers enjoying your story and how you will feel. After you figure out why the goal is important, stay focused on that.

Secret #3: Use Visualization
The Terminator had a heads up display that let him see his goal in front of his eyes all the time.
What We Can Do
It's helpful to be able to visualize the end goal to keep you motivated. If your goal is to run a marathon keep the flyer on your bathroom mirror. I knew someone that was saving for a house and kept a picture of the house she wanted taped to her computer screen at work. Maybe you can make the statement your cell phone background. Whatever you want to achieve, make it visual and somewhere you can see it often. I have a picture of the costumed hero on my phone. Whenever I lose focus or start doubting I look at the picture and imagine myself wearing it.

Secret #4: Don't Let Failure Stop You
The Terminator didn't let failure stop him. Even when he was nothing but an upper torso he kept going.
What We Can Do
You may hit setbacks on the way to your goal, but keep going. Keep focused on why the goal is important to you. If something happens that feels like a failure, try and re-frame it in a positive way and stay focused on your goal. Maybe you're trying to lose weight and you aren't losing pounds or even gaining. Instead of saying "It's not working. I'm a failure." Try saying, "I'm probably just gaining muscle. That means I'm getting stronger. I'll lose the weight soon enough if I just keep going." You can do it.

Secret #5: Don't Be Afraid to Change Your Method.
His first attempt to get Sarah was to go into the phone book and kill every "Sarah Connor" in the city. That worked at first, but had a flaw when Reese showed up to defend her. When that plan failed, he switched tactics. Chasing her relentlessly with larger vehicles. When she was in the police station, he drove a car through the wall.
What We Can Do
I know someone who was on track, and on schedule, to run a marathon. Then, she had a major injury. That was it. She had no back-up plan, so she couldn't train and didn't run the marathon. If you were Terminator-like, you could work with a personal trainer to modify you're training and get back on track after you heal. If you have a set-back, take a moment to think of the other way to get where you're going.

Secret #6: Use Small Timed Goals
The Terminator wasn't sent to kill Connors entire family. He was only sent to terminate one person. We don't know what time frame he was working from, but he didn't procrastinate. As soon as he got to the past he started working.
What We Can Do
While it's tempting to set a large vague goal of "I want to be rich" it's better to set specific goals of "I want to make 150k by the end of the year." Pick a single, simple goal to start with. Maybe even a part of a major goal and pursue it. You'll have much more success than if you try and pursue a bunch of goals or a large, complicated goal all at once. Also, make sure you set time frames. A goal without a date is a dream. We all have dreams, but few pursue goals.


Using these six tips you can achieve great things. We're not robots. But, if you stay focused on small, positive steps that improve your life you'll soon find yourself with a Terminator-like drive to achieve your goals.


What goals have you pursued? Do you have a goal you're working on now? How could you benefit from a Terminator-like view of your goals?
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3 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Now that is an excellent checklist! ReTweeting.

Neil Fernandes said...

Haha! Who knew we could learn so much from Terminator lol!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Who knew indeed Neil. The more I thought about it, the more I realized we can lot a lot from Ahnold.

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