Earl Nightingale’s Strangest Secret: the Key to Success

2021 will probably be one of the defining years of our lifetime. So we’d better make the best of it! Setting goals and believing in our ability to achieve them are key to success.

If you want to be inspired about Goalsetting, listen to Earl Nightingale’s 1956 radio talk The Strangest Secret. It is 30 supercharged minutes of timeless and priceless advice from the Grand Master of Goal Setting.

Although this is from a different era (with cranky sound and old-fashioned ideas about gender roles) Nightingale’s insight into of the power of goals is totally up to date — and his key message is more relevant than ever:

Success is the Progressive Realization of a Worthy Ideal

This was half a century before Simon Sinek published Start with Why and TED-talked his way to global fame with his ‘Golden Circle’ model (also worth a (re)visit: watch it here.

Though Nightingale and Sinek are from very different times, they essentially say the same:

What we do should align with a meaningful purpose.

All the rest follows…

Further valuable takeaways from Nightingale’s lecture: 

  • People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. So blatantly obvious, yet only a few people are really serious about their goal setting.
  • The opposite of courage is not cowardice: it is conformity. Setting goals takes guts because it can require breaking with what other people do — and what they expect us to do.
  • We become what we think about. As we sow, so shall we reap. The human mind is far more fertile than the land, but it works the same way. Whatever we plant (Success? Failure? A concrete, worthwhile goal?) will return to us.
  • No one can ever be rich without enriching others.

In this spirit, we want to help you to set goals in the various areas of your life. Check out our My Life Goals public goalscape:

To use that goalscape as your own template, Download it as a GSP file, then login to Goalscape and Upload it using the Import button in the Home screen. Then rename the Main Goal, add new subgoals and delete any that do not apply to you.

It may take 10 hours, it may take 40; that investment may though be the best you ever make.

And always keep your goals in mind to reinforce your motivation: revisit your Goalscape project every week – or better yet, every day (as Nightingale suggests). Your goalscape will immediately show you where to focus your attention. As you work, check off your completed tasks and celebrate the ‘little wins’: seeing your progress shading advance across the goal map will give you a real buzz.

What you sow, you will reap.

May you achieve great goals!

Marcus Baur – Manging Director Goalscape Software GmbH
Marcus Baur

Marcus Baur

Marcus is the inventor of the Goalscape concept. After graduating in Architecture he sailed professionally, winning multiple international championships and becoming a double Olympian.

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