Goal Setting: A Defining Factor in “Smart People”

This post is part of a series on “The Surprising Habits of the World’s Smartest People.”

If you asked a random person on the street to name a few famous geniuses, there would be many common answers. Mozart, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs and Beethoven are all incredibly common answers. Although experts define true “genius” as having an IQ score greater than 140 (the average score is 100), researchers have discovered that geniuses share many traits, good and bad.

We will be examining the surprising traits of the world’s most prolific geniuses. From the fact that most geniuses are night owls, to the fact that geniuses tend to be avid readers, we intend to explore the habits that set geniuses up for success.

Goal Setting Enables Success

Our first “genius trait” is the fact that most geniuses experience success because they set concrete goals. Experts have known for years that setting concrete goals is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for success. However, very few people realize that how you set your goal is just as important as what your goal is.

Consider this:

Researchers gave a group of students four weeks to set a goal – any goal they wanted – so long as they set the goal in one of three ways:

  1. In their head (unwritten goal)
  2. By writing it down on a calendar or in a notebook
  3. By sharing their goal with friends

At the end of the month, the researchers met with the students again and discovered that 43 percent of the first group (in their heads only) met their goals. 64 percent of the second group (written down) achieved what they wanted. 76 percent of the students who shared their goals with friends had met or exceeded their goal and the end of the four-week timeframe.

The genius lesson here is pretty simple. If you set goals and share them with your friends you are likely to succeed.

The Takeaway

Geniuses know that, no matter how grand your goals are, you need support from friends and colleagues to make things happen. The next time you have a great goal or a big idea; try writing it down or sharing it with your friends. The more people who know about your goal, the more support you will have as you work to meet it.







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