John Lennon Taught Me A Lesson Today

Written by geordiejimb

Topics: Articles

Emotional Fulfillment Is The Ultimate Goal

I recently started an exercise looking at my goals for next year – business goals as well as personal goals.  I laid out my goals for next year based on my long-term, or lifetime goals, and began laying out the plans for how I will achieve them.

For my Business goals I primarily looked at time and dollar goals.  How much time do I want to be spending ‘working’, and how much income do I want to get from that time.

For my personal goals I looked at my health – both mental and physical, my hobbies – both existing and some new ones that I’m interested in taking-up, my family, where I live now and where I want to in the future, where I want to travel to and places I want to visit, and so on.

Of course, backing up each goal is a plan that lays out HOW to achieve those goals, but that goes beyond what I want to talk about here.  This article isn’t a how-to guide on setting goals, it’s an introspective review of my own goals, triggered by a quote I read recently, which reads:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when i grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” ~ John Lennon

Reading this quote caused me to think.  What do I really want in life?  I want to be happy too.  The more I think about it, that’s the only thing in life I really want.

What this caused me to do, was to go back to my first draft goals for next year and look at them with a different point of view.  I’d already asked myself, ‘What do I want to achieve next year?’ Now I went back and looked at my goals and asked myself, ‘Do these goals move me forward towards my long-term goals?

I was surprised to see that none of my long-term goals were ‘feeling’ or ‘emotion’ based.  I didn’t have a goal to be happy, to feel safe or feel secure.  I didn’t have goals to be loved by my family, or to be respected in my community.

All of my goals were essentially materialistic – where I will live, what I will own, what income my business will be generating, what I will do in my spare-time… all of which will contribute to those feelings above, but without ever really expressing what I really hope to get out of life, which is just to be happy.

When you boil life down, your real basic goals are very simple to express – I want to be happy, or I want to feel loved, for example.

One of the exercises I went through earlier this year as part of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People course was to write down what you hope people will say of you at your 80Th birthday celebration.  What will your spouse say? What will your children?  What would your friends and business associates say of you?

Until I read the quote from John Lennon above, I hadn’t connected that these two exercises are one and the same -  what I really want to hear at my 80Th birthday is confirmation that I was on the right path to my goals.

I want to hear that I made my family happy because I provided for them, raised them well, had time for them when they needed me, and that they felt loved by me.

I want to hear that I earned the respect of my family, friends, and business associates because I looked after their interests as well as my own, that I treated them well, and that we prospered together.

What I realize I want to hear is not how much money we made, or how many houses and cars we’ve bought, how many vacations abroad we took… those are just the things we did towards feeling happy, feeling fulfilled emotionally.


This is what Dr Stephen R. Covey refers to as a paradigm shift, it is causing me to look at something from a totally different point of view.  I’m excited to see the outcome!

Have you experienced anything like this when setting your goals?