Mission Vs Task

Jeff Fox
12 min readJun 5, 2023

‘Eye on the prize’ might be cliché, but it is an important principle.

View of a man’s back as he uses a bow to draw an arrow, preparing to fire at a circular target in the distance.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There’s a lot of advice out there on how to achieve our goals. We all need to have something specific and personally relevant to aim our efforts at. Suggestions, approaches, priorities, and perspectives for how to go about it diverge in just about every direction. Making it all the more important to keep returning to the core basics. Goals provide us with a mission and individual tasks are how we make progress towards achieving it.

A great deal of research has been done around goals, goal setting, and the correlation between goals and the achievement of success. In study after study those who set specific goals, form concrete plans, and write them down invariably achieve greater levels of success than those who do not.

The most frequently cited studies are a 1953 Yale University study and Harvard University study from 1979. Both have come under skeptical criticism over the years, even Yale University itself has been unable to find concrete data from the purported study, but just about every researcher who looks into the phenomenon winds up finding very similar results to those purported by both studies. Those who set concrete goals and write them down achieve greater overall success than those who don’t.

One of the other consistent themes in all of the research around goals is that one of the primary reasons people fail to set goals is they never learned how. Fear of failure is another significant factor but a lack of training or understanding around goal setting consistently ranked as one of the main reasons people do not set goals.

Go to any bookstore and you will find shelves and shelves of books offering you maps and methods for ‘fool proof’, ‘guaranteed’, ‘insider secret’, and any other number of catchy hook-phrased methods for goal setting your way to success. Type goal setting into any search engine and the list of possible articles, videos, workshops, and coaches expands exponentially.

Eyes on the prize. Don’t lose the forest for the trees. If you can see it, you can be it. These are all slogans pointing to the importance not only having a primary goal or mission but of also keeping that target in your mind’s eye. Eat the elephant one bite at a time. One foot in front of the other. Journeys of…

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Jeff Fox

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.