Setting the type of goals that will allow you to design the life you want, can be phenomenally rewarding. Let me also let you in on a little secret about life. Its true people are rewarded for achieving things in life, however the rewards system is not commensurate with the achievements or effort. What I mean is, if you achieve average performance, you might assume you’d get average rewards. However, that is not how it works. If you perform with average efforts, you will only earn poor rewards.
Now, I know that doesn’t seem fair, but hey, who said life was fair, right? You see, the reward scale in life is off and only certain types of effort get the best rewards. Think about this, how many people do you know who are good people, work hard and do good things, only to be let go in a company reorganization? Or someone who worked their whole life, saved diligently only to have their retirement wiped out during the economic downturn between 2007 to 2009?
Life’s rewards are off by one level compared to effort. If you do poorly in life, you don’t get poor results, you are likely living on the streets, certainly you are relying on government or someone for a subsistence living, probably not even enough to get by. I would consider that ZERO Rewards.
Now, if you give a good effort, good is about average, most people want to do a good job and do. The most well intended people do a good job most of the time, unfortunately for those people, they will get poor rewards. There will be a few wins here and there, but mostly, it’s barely enough to make do. Why else do we hear statistics of 80% to 90% of people get to retirement age, only to realize they don’t have enough savings to live on. They are forced to live off some government funding to “get by”, after working for 40 or even 50 years?
What if you do a great job? Well then you can expect to receive Good rewards. You might call this the Upper Middle-Class. These people would likely be those that earn what the government recognizes as in the “Rich” category. Those with an income of $250,000 per year are designated by the government as Rich. This is a relatively good lifestyle, but it is far from rich. These people drive nice cars, eat well, have nice homes, however they are often highly leveraged and most of them couldn’t go more than 6 months without an income before they would lose everything.
Honestly, for those who aren’t in the bracket, work the math, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Take for instance these people who are in the higher tax brackets, so take 35% of that $250,000. That’s $87,500 in taxes, then take another $30,000 for a decent home in a good neighborhood, $18,000 in car payments for nice used cars. They probably still have student loans, that’s another $6,000 to $10,000 per year on the low end. Child Care and / or private school $20,000. Utilities and home services $12,000, they probably financed some furniture or home upgrades, and carry some credit card debt, that’s another $12,000 and they most likely max out their 401K that’s $18,000 to $36,000. That’s $225,500 leaving about $2,000 per month for groceries, spending and eating out.
That may be a good lifestyle but that is certainly not “Rich”. My point here with this illustration isn’t to debate whether these people should feel privileged or appreciate what they have, because they absolutely should, they are amongst the top 5% earners in the US. The point is to illustrate that $250,000 is a great target if you are at $80,000 today, because it will give you more to work with and invest. However, that can’t be your end goal, that is a good reward for great effort.
Again, we can reference the economic crisis of 2007 to 2009, most of the people in this category, despite having good incomes and a chunk of savings, typically in their retirement funds, were wiped out. Many of the people in this category despite working hard for many years to achieve an upper level title at work, found themselves out, scrambling to find a way to make a living with corporate down-sizing and right-sizing. Many of them were just 5, 10, or 15 years from retirement, and to make matters worse, most of them saw their retirement savings cut in half or more.
You see, they were giving great efforts, moved up the corporate ladder, worked hard and achieved certain levels of status, but all of that wasn’t enough. In the end, many of these people were just as unemployed as everyone else. Worse yet, for these people, it wasn’t about finding a job making an average income, we are talking about $200,000 to $300,000 earners, these jobs are quite difficult to come by. Trust me, I know first-hand how challenging this can be, I’ve been in that boat once or twice over the last 25 years. Despite giving great efforts, these people, lost homes, retirement savings, investments. The point is, even those who gave great efforts were not impervious to the circumstances that everyone felt.
So, what does it take to get the best rewards? Outstanding, is a word that I first heard in while in Army basic training. I am certain that the phrase “Outstanding Private” was my Drill Sergeant’s favorite phrase for recognition on a job well done and one that I came to quickly appreciate. Hearing that phrase, typically meant I wasn’t going to be submitted to some form of discipline. Later, I heard Tony Robbins use it to describe this concept of rewards vs. effort. Outstanding, meaning to stand out from all the rest is the level of performance we need to strive for.
Good isn’t Good enough, and Great is only Good, but Outstanding is where all the rewards are! Let me share with you some insight to help you grasp this concept. First, we’ve all heard that 80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the world’s population. However, there could be a legitimate argument that says it’s much closer to 90% and 10%. Additionally, CEOs of companies are usually paid exceptional salaries, far more than the average employee. The rewards structure is set up to be completely weighted to favor those who provide Outstanding efforts and results. Compensation plans for sales organizations are typically weighted so that the highest payouts are reserved for those who perform at the highest levels, typically for those in the top 10%.
You may be asking, “how does this relate to goal setting?” Well, you must understand that when it comes to setting goals, it is imperative that you set the type of goals to achieve life-altering results. Goals that are 10-fold bigger than where you are now, and NEVER sell yourself on getting comfortable. When you allow yourself to get comfortable, that is when life demonstrates its sense of humor, or at least it’s willingness to test us on how bad we may want something, and challenges us with problems, that test our resolve and commitment.
The rewards for a great effort are nice, but they aren’t worth it. Your performance needs to be Outstanding so you can achieve the exceptional rewards you are deserving of. Don’t ever set a goal to achieve just good or even great performance, because I can assure you that once you achieve that goal, after the initial “high” of hitting that goal, it will wear off quite quickly. You want the amazing rewards of that come from Outstanding effort and performance. The trek will be worth it. Besides, the worst-case scenario would be you fall short of that amazing goal only achieve great results, at least you can appreciate that. But if you shoot for Good and get poor rewards, how fulfilling would that be? Shoot for the moon and worst case scenario, you end up amongst the stars.