Quotations for Motivation #56 --- Goals

Quotations on Goals (Set No. 3)

Sometimes journeys are marked by signs along the road to tell us how far we have gone. The olden way was to have stones, each mile marked off, and we called them milestones. I do not suppose many of us ever saw a milestone, but we know what it is. And, if we do not have milestones, there are trees that we know, there are corners, there are crossings, there are other things that divide the journey so that we know how far we have gone.

Now the experience we call life for every soul is like a journey, and that journey is marked by milestones, and last night in our sleep we passed one of those great milestones. Every birthday is a milestone, and each anniversary, but the New Year is a milestone for all the world, and something of the thoughts that we have here are shared by the friends at home, and by others far away, and by every thinking civilized human being of all our races that are living today.

Now there is one great difference between the milestones of a journey and the milestones of life. The milestones of a journey we always expect to pass again. It is not always true that we do pass them, but you expect to see again all the wayside signs that you passed in coming to town. At the end of the year, you will go back over that same road, the other way, and see all those trees, corners and crossings, back to your home.

But the milestones of human life we pass but once, and after that they live in the memory. We shall none of us ever experience again any hour of the dead, past year.

And there is another kind of post besides milestones. Sometimes the same post does the two things. But there are guideposts. I wonder how many of you boys and girls, young ladies and gentlemen, have ever crossed an untrodden field of snow. Did you ever climb the fence and go into a field and see it covered perfectly white and perfectly smooth, and you be the one to make tracks across the white surface? I have done that a great many times and that experience helped to make me a wiser boy.

There were two winters in my life when I walked three miles to school. I could have gone one mile to the city high school, but instead I walked three miles to a little country school because there was a teacher there. I remember those frosty mornings in Wisconsin. Sometimes the snow was high enough to walk over the fences. There were two fields that I always cross which I often found freshly strewn with untrodden snow. I would come over one field and go across it (the fields there are smooth, no mountains), and go through a little belt of woodland and there come out on a second field and go on to the Rock River. And when I had crossed the first field the first time I looked back and I was not pleased because I had made a crooked path. And when I had passed through the belt of woodland and looked out upon another field, I said, “I will make a straight path across this field.” And I started out to do so and when I came to the other side of that second field, down by the Rock River, and looked back, I had made another crooked path. The next time I made that little journey I had decided how I could make straight paths. I presume any boy here could tell me, but it is a good lesson and I will repeat it to you. I found that the way to make straight paths was to have something in one’s eye to walk towards, and I selected a little notch in the words and kept that before my eye. I walked, and looked back and saw a straight path. And then when I had passed through the belt of woodland and looked ahead across the second field to the Rock River I selected a tall sycamore and kept that in my eye. Looking at the guideposts kept me in a straight path.

Now everybody in going through life’s journey has milestones. We may pay little attention to them, but the are there, the birthdays and the anniversaries and the New Year’s Day. But nobody has guideposts unless he selects them. And they do him no good except as he is guided by them.

There are far guideposts and there are nearer guideposts. If I were going across a great valley I might see a mountain top and make that my guidepost, but if it was too much effort to keep my eye continually on the far high mountains, I could select some little tree or goal between me and the mountain, that is on a straight line between me and the mountain, and walk towards that nearer goal. The near goals should all be selected in line with the great goal.

Now does all this mean something? Have you some great goal, and will you this morning, when we pray, select some near goal that is in line with the great goal, and then resolve to keep that in your eye through all the hours, days and weeks of this year, and be able to look back, when you pass the next milestone, at a path not too crooked?

---William Goodell Frost, The Citizen, Berea, Ky., Jan. 9, 1913.

We must learn to forget each slight, each spite, each sneer, wherever we may meet it. And if we enjoy any success whatever in this world, these things are sure to come to pass. The only way to avoid this is to get sick, and become helpless and remain on the bed of affliction for years. Then, the pity of people will be aroused and only kind thought and kind deeds will come our way. But who wants to pay such a price for people’s pity? It is far better to condition ourselves to be able to forget every slight, spite or sneer that may come our way. If we know we are right we can go ahead. The football player who starts toward the goal line expects somebody to stop him if they can. He is expecting opposition; he is conditioned to meet opposition; and he never worries over the strength of the opposition. Why cannot we be like that in the great game of life? Yet I know many who are always standing in the corner and weeping because someone hurt their feelings, or put a block in their pathway up the ladder of success.

---Chelsea H. “C.H.” Kelley, Williamson Daily News, Williamson, W. Va., March 9, 1948.

Two types of goals: work goals and personal goals. The former determines the quantity of work we do, and our personal goals determine the quality of this work. Both are essential and prerequisite for success. Too many times we set work goals and eliminate those that are personable, or to the contrary we establish personal attributes to attain and fail to consider good work habits. By application of both of these goals in proper proportion we will be able to obtain our primary goal.

In order to acquire this primary goal we have to set goals of secondary importance. The accomplishment of all secondary goals will result in the accomplishment of our primary goal. Too many times, however, we let secondary aims overshadow our primary goal completely.

‑‑‑Robert G. Aagard, Script and Scroll, Fort Wayne, Ind., October 1958.

Expectation is the lighthouse that signals us away from the rocks of stagnation and inaction. … Expectation rules us—drives us—leads us. And so we grow, instead of shrivel. Expectation keeps us all from being drones. We expect to do better today than yesterday—tomorrow than today.

---George Matthew Adams, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee, Wis., Dec. 21, 1918.

One of the truisms of modern social science is the statement, "If we define things as real, they are real in their consequences." In part, reality is a creation of mind and spirit. Faith, whatever its object, does produce consequences. These consequences may not always be the intended ones; nevertheless, they stem from our definitions about what is real.

Thus, we form the future by our definitions of it. As an architect's sketches determine the shape of his building, so our goals shape our achievements. But the nature of their impact, and the extent of it, depend on several factors, including our realistic expectation, how specific and attainable the objective, the energy one can commit, and the priority of a given goal among one's other objectives.

Our expectations differ from our hopes. We would like our hopes to be realized, but we are convinced that our expectations will come to pass. The difference is between hoping that something will happen and knowing it will.

If our objectives are to have their greatest impact, they must be defined clearly enough that at any point, we can measure our progress. It is much less effective for us to promise ourselves, "Tomorrow I will be a better person," leaving "better" safely undefined, than to decide, "Tomorrow I will spend at least five hours . . . ." The critical difference is that, in the latter example, one knows if he has achieved the objective; in the former, the nebulous definition of "better" permits rationalization. It is the difference between the carpenter who says, "Today I was a better carpenter," and the one who can report, "Today I finished a cabinet."

It is also important that our goals be attainable. We need to see ourselves as capable, successful people. If we constantly experience failure in reaching our goals, the image, "I am one who fails," may become part of the self‑concept, with long‑range negative consequences. Sometimes the objective must be adjusted downward, so that we can tell ourselves, "I am one who succeeds," at least part of the time.

The energy one is willing to commit to a given goal is an important part of the final self‑evaluation, even when our goal is not attained. Sometimes we can live with partial achievement if we know in our hearts we have "fought a good fight" and yet been frustrated beyond our control, or perhaps by an unrealistic goal. Far more destructive to the self‑concept‑‑and thus more apt to spawn failure‑‑is the knowledge deep within oneself that his efforts have been halfhearted, and consequently that he himself is responsible for the objective not reached.

Finally, there is the matter of priorities, of competition among many goals, and of long‑range versus short‑range objectives. A successful architect of a

building or a life must pay attention to the total master plan as well as to the details of day‑to‑day construction. Dreaming about the magnificence of the final structure at the expense of careful attention to the daily, practical matters is a sure road to non‑achievement.

‑‑‑Howard M. Bahr, Pathfinder, Mercer Island, Wash., January 1972.

The shifting of goals can become merely a habit of excuse making if we always do the thing we like most. It is not advisable to shift purposes too often. But we must meet every day's need and decide the wisest course to take, not straying too far from the ultimate aim.

‑‑‑Claire Stewart Boyer, Utah Farmer, Salt Lake City, Utah, July 18‑25, 1925.

It is important that we make sure that the goal toward which we labor is a worthy one. The speed with which we travel is less important than the fixed purpose, the sustained effort which will enable us to achieve it. Making sure one is right in his understandings and then massing all his energy to carry through to the end–these are important considerations. The man who so wisely said, “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead,” might have added this, to wit, “Be sure you’re wrong before you quit.” While life lasts one must look upon each new achievement as a challenge and a beginning. Mile posts marking the way were not intended as camping grounds.

—Hugh B. Brown, Millennial Star, London, England, Oct. 19, 1939.

Before beginning to build a home you would get a set of blueprints to guide you, and you wouldn't start on a trip without knowing where you were going and how you intended to get there.

But only about two people out of every thousand know precisely that they desire from life and have workable plans for attaining their goals. These are the men and women who are leaders in every walk of life –the big successes who have made life pay off on their own terms.

And the strangest thing about these people is that they have no more personality, no more education, and no more opportunities than others who never made the grade.

If you know exactly what you want and have absolute faith in your ability to get it, you can achieve success.

If you are not sure what you want from life, start now--this very hour--and decide definitely what you want, how much of it you want, and when you desire to have it in your possession.

First, write out a clear statement of what you desire most--the one thing or circumstance which, after you attain it, would justify your calling yourself a success.

Second, write out a clear outline of the plan by which you intend to attain this objective and clearly state in your plan what you intend to give in return.

Third, set a definite time limit within which you intend to acquire the object of your definite major purpose.

Fourth, memorize what you have written and repeat many times daily as a prayer. End the prayer by expressing gratitude for having received that for which your plan calls.

Follow these instructions to the letter and you may be amazed how soon your entire life will change for the better. This formula will lead you into an alliance with an invisible partner who will remove obstacles from your path and attract to you favorable opportunities of which you may never have dreamed. Keep this procedure to yourself lest you become disturbed by the skeptics near you who may not understand the profound law you are following.

Remember–nothing ever "just happens!" Someone has to make things happen, including individual successes. Success in every calling is the result of definite action, carefully planned and persistently carried out by the person who conditions his mind for success and believe he will attain it. ...

Definiteness of purpose makes the word "impossible" obsolete. It is the starting point of all successful achievements. It is available to you and everyone, without money and without price. All you need is the personal initiative to embrace it and use it.

Unless you know what you want from life and are determined to get it, you will be forced to accept the mere crumbs left by others who know where they are going and had a plan for getting there.

To be sure of success, saturate your mind completely with your goal. Think and plan about that which you desire. Keep your mind off that which you do not want. You have here the practical formula which all successful people follow.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, April 30, 1956.


You can read the future, anybody's future, by asking them a simple question: "What is your major definite purpose in life--and what plans have you made to attain it?"

Ninety-eight out of 100 will answer, "I haven't any particular aim except to make a living . . . and become successful if I can."

In that answer you will discover the drifter who never gets anything out of life but the crumbs left by the man with a definite purpose and a detailed plan for attaining it.

To achieve success, you must decide now exactly what your goal is and then lay out the steps by which you intend to reach it. ...

There is something about the person who moves with purpose and plan that attracts opportunities.

He can life give you anything if you do not know what you want yourself? How can others help you achieve success if you yourself haven't decided how you plan to achieve it?

Only with definiteness of purpose will you be able to overcome the defeats and adversities that are sure to stand in your way. ...

Leo Maranz said, "If you have a strong belief in yourself, in what you are doing, and what you want to do, no adversity is too difficult to overcome."

If you want to achieve success, make today the day on which you stop drifting. Decide upon a definite major goal. Write it down. Commit it to memory. Decide exactly how you plan to achieve it. Then begin putting the plan into execution immediately.

Your future is what you make it. Decide now what it shall be.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, July 25, 1956.


All achievements, all successes and all desires begin with a clear mental image of one's goal--a definite picture of what you desire from life. Unless you know where you want to go, how can you get there? This picture is translated into action through personal initiative.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Sept. 28, 1956. Many of the common day-to-day problems consist largely of obstacles of one sort or another that prevent you from reaching a desired goal.

The first step in solving such a problem is to decide exactly what goal you have in mind. A clear picture of what you want to achieve will help you overcome obstacles.

Decide upon a definite goal and work to achieve it. Visualize in your imagination [the achieving of your goal]. Put your idea into action.

Many persons are too ready to settle for less than perfection in their life's goal. Too often they give up and accept something which is entirely different from their original aim.

—Napoleon Hill, Houston Post, Houston, Texas, Oct. 1, 1956.


Having a goal or ambition is one-tenth of the battle for success. Having a goal or ambition that is fitted to your ability either acquired or inherited is three-tenths of the battle. The other seven-tenths and the main running distance on the road to success is carefully directed perseverance, motivated by forceful attitudes.

A goal is only an ideal or idea in the mind. It is similar to the idea to plant five acres of peach trees. To bear fruit your idea must be acted upon. Many persons have wonderful ideas that they never act upon or too many ideas that they can't do favorably at the same time. If your goal is not worth giving it your full attention so that you will burn your bridges behind you and have to go ahead and make a success, then your goals must not be worthwhile. If you haven't confidence in it, heaven and earth should not allow you to keep from success, provided that the goal is workable and fitted to your capacities; and furthermore, provided that you act upon this goal and direct your actions carefully and persistently. Many a battle was almost won and then lost because of lack of persistence. Many a battle was also lost because of stubborn persistence that was not carefully worked out in advance. Attitudes of mind forge you ahead or behind.

Why do people who have succeeded fail? If they had a good workable plan which they directed carefully and persistently, why should they always remain a success? Perhaps they would remain a success, if they continued to use their formula for success during success as well as before. ...

This letting up of persistence to our former carefully directed goal takes form in many ways. The continued use of carefully directed persistence to the goal would have foreseen and perhaps prevented certain events that may cause failure.

—Charles Bennett, Specialty Salesman Magazine, Atlanta, Ga., October 1938.


Self-satisfaction is the foe of progress. It causes us to mistake a milestone for a goal. There is quite a difference between them. One is made to pass by and the other to reach, but we come to the milestone and settle down in satisfaction and miss the high goal.

—Arthur T. Allen, Christian Index, Atlanta, Ga., April 1, 1937.


I have learned by experience the necessity of keeping a far-off goal in mind. ... The chances are you will never reach all of the goals that you set before you, but at the same time working toward goals will make every day a new day. One's life must be planned like a great building. It cannot be finished in a day, but we must strive toward that far-off goal if we live constructively.

—Wallace Bassett, Baptist Standard, Dallas, Texas, April 8, 1948.


People who set goals realize their potential quicker. Then as you reach one goal, you revise them. If you set goals in one thing, you have to set them in everything.

Don't let your ego get in the way of accomplishing your goals. Everybody can't be a star. You've got to do what you are capable of doing.

—Billy Allgood, Leesville Daily Leader, Leesville, La., May 9, 1991.


Don't worry about your goal because by worrying you only cause fear and fear places shades on your eyes so you can't see your goal.

—David Carver, Affirmative, Billings, Mont., March 1971.


The attainment of any goal or realization of any worthy aim only opens as we determinedly push toward it. Mastering the training of the mind, hand and heart entails long concentration that only yields results as we push forward.

—John Edward Carver, Ogden Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, Nov. 3, 1947.


No life is complete without an ideal, a sort of guiding star which keeps one on the track toward a worthy goal.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., Oct. 18, 1948.


Your deep desire to attain a certain goal shapes and directs your thinking. It is the motivating influence that forces you to follow certain paths and to engage in certain activities. Be sure your goal in life is worthy of your efforts and satisfying. Let your desires be such that when you come to the shadows of the sunset, you will have no regrets.

—Phil Conley, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., April 3, 1949.


Here are two men. One has climbed steadily, with face upturned, until, according to plan, he has reached the mountain's summit. The other lies crippled at the foot of the mountain, where planless and confused, he has fallen. The first man did not fall up to the height; the second man did not climb down to the mountain's base. To climb up, the first man required intelligent foresight; to fall down, the second man needed only to stumble.

—Gaines S. Dobbins, The Sunday School Builder, Nashville, Tenn., August 1954.


Why set goals?

1. They help us decide where we want to go.

2. They help us plan to accomplish something.

3. They keep us going straight to our objective.

4. They give specific direction in all activities. Goal setting can be helpful at any time during the year when a need arises.

—Maurine Elder, Baptist and Reflector, Nashville, Tenn., Aug. 18, 1960.


More than all other qualities, the ability and willingness to set the standard, mark the course and lead the way distinguishes leadership.

1. Set the standard. Life may be lived on any number of levels. We may work in the crudest way, ignoring all principle, believe that the "end justifies the means," or we may project our paths along the high roads realizing that accomplishments and methods are inextricably interwoven. Only worthy methods achieve worthy goals.

2. Mark the course. Every act should clear the way for those who follow. Blazing the trail also includes clearing away the underbrush. The call to battle loses its effect if our followers must stumble through the debris of our own misapplication.

3. Lead the way. Leadership is to lead. The best way the daily standard is to live the daily standard. Leadership is not the right of longevity or relativity. Leadership is the ability and willingness to lead.

—Phil D. Jensen, Nor Scotia Challenger, Edinburgh, Scotland, Dec. 2, 1964.


I think there are three steps to achieving any goal: 1. Setting the goal. 2. Preparing and planning the details of how to make the goal. 3. Putting in the work, the faith, the courage and the determination necessary to complete or exceed the goal set.

So many times we set goals and then rely only on hopes to meet our goals. Then there seems to be a consoling satisfaction in saying, "Well, we didn't make our goal, but we did better than we would have ordinarily done." Falling short of the mark is detrimental to our faith, to our courage and to our determination. It sets us all up for failure the second time.

The second step is the preparation, the actual showing of how it can be accomplished day by day so that there is no lost motion, no "spinning of wheels." Imagine trying to build a house without a set of plans. It is almost as hard to imagine how we can accomplish a great goal without a detailed daily plan for accomplishment of the goal. We have learned that nothing goes together by itself, regardless of enthusiasm or unorganized work.

Some people take the second step and plan meticulously the details of how to achieve the goal, then feel the work has been done in the planning. They wait for things to happen. There is no waiting for anything to happen--in this world we make things happen.

The third step is one of the most important, for this is the one that makes things happen. This is the will, the courage, the determination, and, above all, the faith to do. This step comes from desire within--it cannot be forced from without.

—T. Bowring Woodbury, New Era, London, England, August 1960.


He who would discourse upon any point must have a subject if his arguments are to avail anything. This subject is called his theme.

He who would write also must have a theme. Written argument or written description has no meaning, no unity, no effect if it lacks a central theme. Mere words do not make a speech.

A good piece of music has its theme and those who by listening have learned the universal language of music have learned to quickly detect the theme of any piece they hear. Good notes do not make a song. Sustained harmony is necessary for it makes the theme possible.

If a theme is necessary to speech, a written composition, a piece of music, then how much more necessary is it to a successful life.

We must have an objective to attain, for life without an objective is like a ship without a course. We must have a far-off goal for the sake of inspiration, but we also need to have some closer, quickly attainable goals, stepping stones toward the larger goal. A far-off goal alone encourages procrastination or daydreaming, but little goals along the way whet our appetite for the greater things, and their achievement encourages us to push on to our main objective.

We should learn to think of success in terms of easily attainable things. Have your dream castle for your blueprint, combine hope with effort, build a little all of the time and your persistence will be rewarded.

Some day your main objective, which seemed so far away at first, will itself become a stepping stone on the way to still greater things of which you do not dare to dream at the present.

—James E. Johnston, Specialty Salesman Magazine, Atlanta, Ga., March 1969.


Does your goal list look the same as last year's? You can't make progress this year with last year's objectives or successes. If your list is stagnate, revitalize it--set new goals. Successes are stepping stones, not resting places. Too often we relive our past accomplishments and forget to plan for the future ones.

—Shela Mariann Larsen, Fishers of Men, Hamburg, West Germany, June-July 1965.


Goals to be reached must be within reasonable compass and promoted by people of determination.

—D.A. Manker, The Wesleyan Methodist, Syracuse, N.Y., Nov. 7, 1956.


Aim high–better to shoot at a star and miss than splatter mud around a tadpole.

—Phil H. Armstrong, Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 4, 1923.


A man may possess a train of thought and yet fail in securing the right of way to reach his goal.

—Benjamin Arstein, San Antonio Express, San Antonio, Feb. 12, 1911.


Goals are achieved through challenges we make to ourselves.

—Lyman P. Pinkston, Gulf States Mission, Shreveport, La., March 1968.


A personal, organized effort--that is what a goal is. Goal means organization and goal-setting is the same as organized personal planning. Goals help tighten up our ship and direct our attention, focus our strength, and increase our efficiency.

—Steve Workman, Challenge, Dusseldorf, West Germany, April 1971. T


he art of keeping the big objective in view is the mark of a real builder.

—Roy L. Smith, Tampa Morning Tribune, Tampa, Fla., Oct. 18, 1938.


Few of us realize just what a goal is, why they are necessary and how they are set. Goals give direction to effort and make work purposeful. When one knows where he is going, waste motions are eliminated. Working to reach goals provides growth and the joy of accomplishment.

When choosing goals they must be worthy of our best efforts, challenging, realistic in our own lives and simple enough that we can define it in terms of our own experience. The goal must be interesting to pursue and bring happiness. Only when a goal represents individual desire for accomplishment will we attain success.

The following is a guide one could use in setting goals.

1. Determine what you are trying to accomplish.

2. What are the pertinent facts?

3. Consider all possible courses of action.

4. Which course of action comes closest to accomplishing your desire?

5. What are you going to do about it and when?

Northern Lights, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, August 1963.

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