Setting Goals: the Red Mustang Effect

Setting Goals the Red Mustang Effect

In David Allen’s Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life, he notes that the act of setting a goal gives you a new lens to view life through, and that this new lens will help you in achieving the goal.

There’s no magic or New Age stuff involved in this

You’ll simply see opportunities that you would never have seen otherwise, because you have primed yourself for seeing the opportunities.

David gives the analogy of how people of different professions would view the same crowd of people. He notes that an optometrist would notice the people in the crowd who were wearing glasses more than a linebacker would, and that the linebacker would probably more notice the people who were athletically built.

David is very much on target with this: once you set a goal, you’ll start seeing opportunities to make it happen.

I call this The Red Mustang Effect: if you decide to buy (or rent) a Red Ford Mustang, you will begin seeing many more of them on the road then you ever saw before.

Of course, all those other Red Mustangs (at least almost all of them) were there are along, but you didn’t pay attention to all of them. Once you have one, you pay attention to them.

Psychologists have a formal term for this effect, but I cannot recall their term. Nonetheless, it highlights the important fact that just having goals lets you see opportunities that you would not have seen.

A final note: while I have no data to support this, my hunch is that this effect is more pronounced for goals that you visualize.

Many goals experts will tell you that better goal achievement comes with better visualization of goals.

Your insights and thoughts on this?

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