As soon as I realized my current goal, writing “The Story,” things fell into place. I stopped wasting time with things I didn’t care about. I reinvested in my health. Your goals don’t have to be lofty! Let’s revisit last week’s Dr. Mindbender, photographed below. His goal is just to play this Pac-Man arcade cabinet. While playing, he might notice people laughing at him. He doesn’t care. He’s focused on his goals!
Focus on yours!
How does he retain his focus through all the background hate?
Dr. Mindbender might be simply too absorbed in his goal to care what other people think. Let’s say they’re well intending. They might just be concerned that he’s wasting his money on a videogame he could play for practically free in the comfort of his own home. Their expressions just happen to be passive aggressively rude.
Then let’s say they’re actually judging him for his goals.
They might see his new self-deprecating Jester’s cap as a literal statement. “He must be a fool for not playing [something new, cool, or popular]!” “Yeah, why doesn’t he just go back home?” What benefit would Dr. Mindbender have with associating with them? They’d just find something else to pick on after he changes for them.
He can disregard those two extreme people because they won’t help him.
Ignoring everyone isn’t the best route either. If Dr. Mindbender took public transportation into the city to visit the arcade, he probably had to talk with some people along the way. He should be open to chatting with new people and making new friends, even with his focus unscathed toward arriving at his goal of playing Pac-Man.
That might be why the popular platitude states: keep your goals private.
I think it’s better to publicize your goals. Let’s say Dr. Mindbender writes on his social media page: “I’m going to the downtown arcade to play Pac-Man this weekend. Anyone want to join?” If people respond negativity, he can still be friends with them, but they might not remain close enough friends to help him achieve his goal.
I do think it’s important to have friends that are open and critical.
It’s just the difference between constructive criticism and outright negativity. Criticism intends to be helpful; negativity brings people down. For Dr. Mindbender to retain a sharp focus on his goals, he should read any negativity or criticism as blips on a radar. He can safely ignore or compartmentalize a few blips. Anything more?
Trusting in his self-confidence, he can decide if he wants to change.
If many of his trusted associates – people he believes are acting in his best interest – provide criticism, then he can consider their ideas. Let’s say everyone says he should play Ms. Pac-Man instead, he gives it a go, and he finds it’s not quite in line with his goal. He can reject the group’s suggested goal and continue doing his own thing.