Strategic living

There is a game I learnt to play in leadership school and love very much. It teaches many critical principles. But what I love most is that it always leaves the uninitiated audience bewildered. I ask for two volunteers. I write a date on a piece of paper and give to one and ask this date holder to sit far away from the other volunteer.

Then I style the second volunteer as the protagonist of the show. All the months of the year and dates of a month are carefully written out on a board. The ‘protagonist’ is taken through an elaborate cycle of choosing different months and dates for themselves and for me. These choices are carefully deleted or retained on the board by me, depending on whether they include the pre-chosen date held by the first volunteer.

Because I am in control of the process, by the end of these cycles of play, the protagonist arrives at the date carefully folded away in the hand of the first volunteer, sitting quietly and far away from the action. Imagine the consternation of the audience when the final date arrived at by the protagonist (who thinks that the choices are all her initiative) happens to be the date on the paper held by the volunteer who never participated in the process. To add to the confusion at the end of it, I start with a warning to the first volunteer –‘you will turn to powder if you let anyone see what you are holding!’. The perplexed question from the audience and participants invariably is ‘HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?’

The answer is simple. I chose the pre-determined date. I managed the deletion and retention of dates on the board. Throughout the exercise, I carefully protected the pre-determined date from being deleted.

The learning point is also simple. If you carefully set your goals in a clear manner, and consistently take steps to carefully protect the goal from being interfered with, no matter the incursions, influences, interventions, presences and inputs of others, you will arrive at the goal. Your living will be strategic, focused and directioned. Your life paths will all be carefully directed at arriving at the goal. All actions will be like homing pigeons. Headed towards the goal. You can only win the set dream because of the investment you make to secure the achievement of the goal. Failure will find no place in your outcomes. That is the power of strategic, goal-directed living. Try it. It works.

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