Do not go past the mark you aimed for. In victory learn when to stop.
I did not know much about this topic, and though that as planners it was natural to go above, and beyond in our actions such as projects, goals, and life goals. I want to learn when enough is enough, and how this law can help us as planners to accomplish greater things.
By doing further research into the topic I can better assess myself as a planner, and give insight to other planners like myself about goals, and goal planning. This topic is important to study because most planning people are goal oriented, and once they meet one goal they try to aim higher, and higher. It is important to find out whew as planners do this, and if it really helps to aim higher or if we should make completely new goals based on reaching a singular goal. This study will advance new knowledge and new ways of understanding because making goals, how we set goals, how we plan, and how to move forward are important to the planning community. I hope that this case study will shed light on how these things can be updated, and how planning in general can be changed to be better, and lead to better, more powerful planning sessions and life goals.
QUOTES ON LAW 47
"There is nothing more intoxicating than victory, and nothing more dangerous."
"Understand: In the realm of power, you must be guided by reason. To let a momentary thrill or an emotional victory influence or guide your moves will prove fatal."
"When you attain success, step back cautious. When you gain victory understand the part played by the particular circumstances of a situation, and never simply repeat the same actions again and again."
"History is littered with the ruins of victorious empires and the corpses of leaders who could not learn to stop and consolidate their gains."
"Success plays strange tricks on the mind. It makes you feel invulnerable while also making you more hostile and emotional when people challenge your power."
"Power makes you less able to adapt to circumstances. You come to believe your character is more responsible for your success than your strategies and planning."
"The powerful vary their rhythms and patterns, change course, adapt to circumstances, and learn to improvise."
"People who go past the mark are often motivated by desire to please a master by proving their dedication."
The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it stop.
As a planner this law is completely contradictory to everything I stand for as a planner. Why do we plan higher after reaching our goals? I started planning in my late 20's and had so many goals for myself. As I keep setting goals for myself I kept feeling like I needed to acquire more stuff for my planner. At this point I am around seven years into planning journey, and the amount of stuff that I have accumulated is pretty crazy. I currently set goals for several areas of life including home, school, and relationships.
The 48 Laws of Power contributes the three laws that this case study is based on. This book explains the meaning of the laws, historical significance, and how the laws can be applied in life.
Illimitablemen.com has done extensive research into the 48 laws, and how they can be applied. The book does not include any information on how to succeed through use of the laws, but gives historical references to look back on, and dissect. There is not much research done on the topic unless you delve deeper into machiavellianism. While reading excerpts of "Management" by Richard L. Daft I found ways of setting goals that companies would use, but can definitely be used as personal goal setting. The Harvard Business Review also has many articles about goal setting, planning, and how to be most effective. However, throughout the HBR Podcasts it was never brought up to exceed expectations, but to focus on issues at hand, and not feeling guilty if you fail. The HBR classic article by Jim Collins talks about how companies should use, and keep up to date on catalytic mechanisms. This specific article can be related to personal use as well.
Catalytic mechanisms are to visions what the central elements of the U.S. Constitution are to the Declaration of Independence-devices that translate lofty aspirations into concrete reality."
"Catalytic mechanisms share 5 distinct characteristics:
CREATE A CATALYTIC MECHANISM
Don't just add, remove.
Create don't copy.
Use money, but not only money.
Allow your mechanism to evolve.
Build an integrated set.
CATALYTIC MECHANISM QUOTES
"Take 3M for decades, its executives have dreamed of having a constant flow of terrific new products. To achieve that end, in 1956, the company instituted a catalytic mechanism that is by now well known: Scientists are urged to spend 15% of their time experimenting and inventing in an area of their own choice."
"A catalytic mechanism should be a idiosyncratic adaptation, if not a wholesale creation, for a unique situation."
"New catalytic mechanisms sometimes produce unintended negative consequences and need correction."
"One catalytic mechanism is good; several that reinforce one another as a set is even better."
"Catalytic mechanisms alone will not create greatness; they need a dream to guide them but if you can blend huge intangible aspirations with simple tangible catalytic mechanisms then you'll have the magic combination from which sustained excellence grows."
"Personal catalytic mechanisms have all the benefits of organizational mechanism: They put bite into good intentions, dramatically increasing the odds of actually being true to your personal vision instead of letting your dreams remain unrealized."
I selected Law 47 to study because as someone in the planning community this law seems to go against common thoughts and beliefs that are held among planners. The strategies that I have used to research this topic includes the internet, reading the book The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, and from reading several other books related to Law 47 as well as online articles or studies pertaining to this book or specific law.
HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW PODCASTS
563: Escape Your Comfort Zone
504: Achieve Your Goals Finally
IMPORTANT QUOTES FROM THESE PODCASTS
"What's much easier for your brain to do is to do replacement behaviors."
"What happens is we set goals for ourselves and then we choose actions all day long, everyday that support those goals, and often, those choices we're making are not fully conscious choices. Our brains are guiding us because your brain knows what your goals are."
"We're constantly making choices to try to get closer to all of our goals, and a lot of them run on autopilot, but in order for your brain to make good choices about what to do at every point during the day-again, largely unconsciously we're making these choices - it [your brain] really needs to know very specifically what it is you want to achieve."
"It uses a lot less willpower to follow through on a plan you already have than it does to try to spontaneously make the right choice in that moment when you are vulnerable."
"Goal setting and planning how you're going to reach a goal should always be a process that is an evolving process."
SPECIFIC GOAL SETTING STEPS
- Planning is the most fundamental of the four management functions.
- A goal is a desired future state that the organization wants to realize.
- Planning is the act of determining goals and defining the means of achieving them.
- A plan is a blueprint specifying the resource allocations, schedules, and other actions necessary for attaining goals.
The research problem I have been investigating is the 47th law of The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene which states: "Do not go past the mark you aimed for. In victory learn when to stop." I have done extensive research about goal setting, and my own experiences not only as a planner, but as a goal setter.
While reading parts of Management by Richard L. Daft I found that personal and organizational goal setting criteria aren't all that different. Even listening to multiple episodes of the HBR Podcast and interviews nowhere does the information say to reset goals. On the contrary, why should we stop goal setting, and how do we set higher goals if we have to stop? Are we going to plateau, and "be all we can be?" These findings were pretty unexpected because it is burnt, and trained into our brains at a very young age that we should always aim higher with our goals after we have achieved them. We do this with weight loss, saving money, and many other goals that we might have in our lives. Lets see how this translates to goal planning in general.
-Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton "Mastering The Management System", Harvard Business Review (January 2008) pg. 63, 77.
My conclusion to this case study is that law 47 of the 47 Laws of Power is justified in saying to stop once you have reached your victory whatever that may be. All of the research that I have done for this post over a few years time have shown me that nowhere in planning content that I have seen about goal setting does anyone talk about resetting goals for higher achievement.
Let me know in the comments: Do you normally keep reaching for new achievements after reaching a goal or do you start a whole different goal?