Ignoring Your Long Term Goals Is the Best Way to Accomplish Them

It’s the only way to accomplish them.

Every basketball team has the same long-term goal in a game: To win.

(This may be hard to believe for Knicks fans.)

But when a team is losing by 10 points during the game and their goal is in jeopardy, what does their coach say?

“We’ve got to get a stop.”

That’s because there’s no 11-point play in basketball.

The only way to accomplish the macro goal of winning the game is to 100% focus on the micro goal of a single possession.

Score a basket. Get a stop. Score another basket. Get another stop.

The way to win the game is to win a series of individual possessions — to stack small accomplishments on top of each other.

But there’s a catch.

To win a possession, the team has to ignore its long-term goal.

Because the more you dwell on the odds stacked against you, the tougher it becomes to win an individual moment.

Players who obsess on the overall goal of winning the game DURING the game fall into one of two traps when down a bunch of points:

  1. They get discouraged by their situation and essentially give up.
  2. They panic because they’re behind and take bad or rushed shots to try to get it all back at once.

Both options lead to failure.

This is just as true off the court as it is on it.

You will only accomplish big goals if you learn to block them out and focus your efforts on the necessary small ones.

You become a great novelist by writing pages today, not agonizing over what the plot twist should be in the third volume of a trilogy before you’ve even published your first book.

You hit a sales goal by increasing your daily outreach, not by worrying about your annual projections.

You build a successful newsletter by delivering the promised value to readers who asked for it every week, not by sending it to people who didn’t subscribe in the first place.

Basketball games are won one possession at a time and that’s the same way you’ll accomplish your long-term goals.

So just go get a stop.