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Why I hate the question ‘What’s your goal?’


The Journal Writer's Handbook

Well, hate is probably too strong a word. But the goal question really bugs me. I have my excuses, for example: I’m great at starting things off, not too great at finishing them; I’m great at moving my own goalposts so things could go on forever (if I had the stamina) or (more likely) just get abandoned; I’m impatient; I like the thrill of new things and I get a bad attack of the gremlins when things are a couple of months old.

There are other reasons why goals and I don’t get on. I don’t like football and I especially don’t like how football commentators scream goooooal when somebody scores. It elongates a word I don’t like very much and it makes a lot of noise.

What’s more, it occurs to me that whenever we set ourselves a goal we’re focussing hard on something that is outside us. Something far in…

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