Mindset Mastery 12 – Goal Setting Doesn’t Work

Mindset Mastery EbookOK. I’m being the Devils advocate there. You will read in the last paragraph what I mean by the statement: “Goal Setting Doesn’t Work“. Remember these few words before reading on:

Take real action with true passion and have a burning desire to succeed!

This is a message that many motivational educators, including Dr John Demartini, teach. Maybe not verbatim but certainly very close to the message that Napoleon Hill wrote in his book: Think And Grow Rich.

At the end of his introduction, Napoleon Hill offers a hint that serves as a lead-in to the first chapter and the story of Edwin Barnes, the man chosen as the first example of the secret of success. What he says is this: that all success starts with a single idea. This lends itself to the following discussion: “Truly, “thoughts are things,” and powerful things at that when they are mixed with definite purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into wealth or other material objects.

In the early 1900’s, Barnes discovered how true it is that men really do think and grow rich. His discovery did not come to him all at once. It came little by little, and it began with a burning desire to become a business associate of the great Thomas Edison.”

So from just these two introductory paragraphs we learn three important things about Barnes and the secret

• A thought, or idea is the first step on the path to creating wealth.

• The idea alone is not enough; success and wealth creation also requires a passion, a ‘burning desire’ for reaching that end.

• Nothing happens all at once—realizing success is a process that takes time.

You’ll also see, as Hill mentions here, that like Edwin Barnes, you may not always be aware that you are on the path to wealth until you recognize that you have made the decision to make a change in your financial status, and resolve to do something about it; but you have already made progress towards your end. You’re here, aren’t you?

Also, take note that Napoleon Hill speaks of a Burning Desire. That could also be referred to as Passion. This ingredient is the main reason why people say “Goal Setting Doesn’t Work“. Because they simply don’t take real action with true passion and a burning desire to succeed! It’s not Goal Setting that doesn’t work. It’s them… the people!

I will see you back here Monday and Thursday every week for the continuation of the Mindset Mastery series.

Sean Rasmussen
Success Communicator
SeanRasmussen.com © 2004 – 2008

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a passionate blogger and has been a full time internet marketer since 2005. When he's not with his family, or dog Buddy, Sean is usually blogging or doing something related to the internet.



  2. Thanks Gavin. Great that you enjoy the blog 🙂

  3. If you could imagine standing at the edge of a cliff.

    You see nothing but vast ocean below and blue sky and clouds above.

    Then you jump off!

    As you soar through the air a huge hand comes from below and you land safely and softly in it’s huge palm.

    But you knew before you jumped off this hand would appear.

    This is faith….faith in yourself and your natural human ability to imagine and to act, and faith in the process, that once a thought is put into practise it must materialize.

  4. Faith is powerful, as long as it does break the laws of the universe ( such as gravity 😀 )

  5. Understanding that our mindset determines our thoughts, emotions, action and results is a vital first step toward the accomplishment of our goals. As you pointed out, the power of a successful mindset has been demonstrated time and again by successful individuals. Like everything else, success leaves clues.

  6. Success Leaves Clues. Indeed it does. Well said!

  7. I couldn’t agree more. Lots of people are setting goals for they want success and to think that this could help them. They all have this long list of what they want to achieve for the year or in the future time. But without passion to make the goals realized then everything will fail.


  8. Jazz Salinger says:

    Hi Sean,

    I agree that it’s not the goal-setting that doesn’t work. It’s those of us who get the process wrong. If we don’t have a burning desire to really have the goals; we won’t do the work necessary to achieve them.

    This is one of my favorite sentences in your post: “Truly, “thoughts are things,” and powerful things at that when they are mixed with definite purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into wealth or other material objects.

    This is because it reminds me of one of my most favorite quotes: “If you sow a thought you reap an act; If you sow an act you reap a habit; If you sow a habit you reap a character; If you sow a character you reap a destiny.“ – Buddhist Proverb

    Goal-setting needs action and a burning desire to succeed for it to really work. There is nothing we can’t be, do or have if we apply the formula correctly.

  9. I think it’s o.k. to have faith but not blind faith. Faith has to have a foundation for you to believe in something in the first place or where would the faith come from?

    Sean, thanks for this info on goals. I don’t think I have read anything like your “goals don’t work” post before and it makes a lot of sense. It makes sense that by just writing down goals isn’t enough without the burning desire behind them. Your reminder is important to the process of achieving goals. You really do look after your students, Sean, Thanks again.


  10. No, goal setting doesn’t work…

    .-= Lina Nguyen´s last blog ..Richard Branson Business School: A day visit =-.

  11. Having the fire, finding the fire, stoking and feeding and giving the fire life – perhaps this is one of the greatest challenges of healing, In truth the ‘fire’ is our essence, and once dampened and stamped on, trampled and kicked, can take great focus and effort to re-kindle. This too, is our illusion, and seems to be one of the greatest ways we hold ourselves back. We need to remember that life grows, and aims for healing and regeneration, and when we re-discover that we still exist we can make a start to live, and live well.
    .-= Jo Carey-Bradshaw´s last blog ..Empowering Mindset – Mindfulness =-.

  12. Just goal setting doesn’t work, I totally agree. I can set a lot of goals. If I don’t take action to achieve them they are not worth anything. But that’s what a lot of people forget. They set goals, think positive and – sit back and wait. Not very effective …
    .-= Renee´s last blog ..Definition Of Motivation =-.

  13. To me there is a lot of difference between passion and burning desire. Desire ultimately means giving your power away to that which is desired. Passion is related to the ultimate nature of the universe.
    .-= Wal Heinrich´s last blog ..Think And Grow Rich Mindset Mastery =-.

  14. Hi Jazz,
    I love that Buddhist Proverb. I have noted it down for continued learning and adoption into my life.

    You add such value to an article, thank-you.
    .-= Jill Brown´s last blog ..Common Law Marriage – What is Common Law Marriage? =-.

    • Hi Jill,

      It’s one of my favourite quotes. I always try to be conscious of what I’m thinking as I’m really aware that my behaviour will be in complete alignment with what I think.

      So, anytime I’m not achieving what I want; my first thought is what am I saying to myself? If I don’t achieve my goals; I know it’s purely because I didn’t have my head right.
      .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Finding Your Passion =-.

      • Jazz
        You really do have great insight. I think what you mean is being ‘congruent’ that means your actions are in alignment with your thoughts.

        An example of incongruency is this (you will really notice it now that I point it out to you) When someone is telling you that they had a great time on holiday and they are shaking their head in a negative gesture.
        .-= Elly´s last blog .. =-.

  15. Hey Sean,

    Yep, Goal Setting Doesn’t Work! I could have a ream of goals listed, but if I’m still sitting on the couch with the remote and a beer, they aren’t going to come to fruition.

    And you don’t even need a burning desire or passion, not at the beginning, at least. All you need is a spark, an impetus, to get moving and DO something. As you begin to move along and build momentum, I think that THAT is when passion and burning desire kick in like a rocket booster.

    Just a thought!


    .-= Pete´s last blog ..peteboyr: @bullhunter Thanks, Sean. Just reviewing the webinar, and will get to your blogs after that. Big night ahead, pizza on the way! =-.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    Goal setting has it’s part. Setting a goal or goals is one step in the process. But, how many of us have set a goal only to see it fall by the wayside for lack of real interest. Without the desire, and it must be a sincere and passionate desire, setting a goal is meaningless.

  17. Hi Sean

    ‘Nothing happens all at once—realizing success is a process that takes time’.

    There have been times that I have started a project (without setting actual goals), worked at it but then realised one day that I haven’t been working on it for a while….what happened? how did I get distracted? I thought the passion was there but obviously not enought to fuel my desires.

    I have found that when I get ideas now and plan out some goals, it is in that goal making process that I tend to know whether I have a passion for the project or not.

    When setting goals now around achieving something really inspiring, I feel really excited and my hand can keep pushing the pen, writing down goal after goal. On reflection I would have to say that I know by my actions and thoughts if there is a passion there to create the project in the first place then I will continue on and see it through.

    Unfortunately I have not had the experience of developing a growing passion for somethingI started that was mediocre in the beginning.

    .-= Elly´s last blog .. =-.

  18. Goal setting doesn’t work if that is all you do. Goals needs actions that achieve those goals – and that’s where the passion must be.

    Goals by themselves are just a series of signposts on a road – we must travel along that road to see them, achieve them and pass onto the next one. Sometimes that road gets rough and full of pot holes – and it is the burning desire or passion that gets us around those bad stretches or obstacles.

    Passion helps us think …. then think laterally …. to be solution focused and not problem fixated

  19. Jody Chambers says:

    Goal setting can be almost instant gratification, setting many goals, but achieving none. It is focusing on that goal and achieving that goal that takes determination and makes success.

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