Creative goal setting for the “exceptional” . . . above and beyond!

This lesson is for goals that are life-changing.

(N.B. a more traditional and well-proven formula for achieving success in the more typical goals that make up our lives follows at the end of this lesson)

Virtually every single management and training course anywhere will tell you one thing … “Set achievable and realistic goals”

For the vast majority of goals that you will set in life, the above statement is absolutely true.

However, today we break that rule.

From today, YOU will be a person of “exceptional” vision and creativity. Don’t doubt it.


  • Set goals that are well beyond the expectations of others; and
  • Set goals that are well beyond your own expectations.

Let’s jump in . . .

Step 1 – Identify what are you truly passionate about?


Life is pretty mundane without passion.

As I’ve grown older (and supposedly wiser) I’ve come to realize that nearly all of us fall into the trap of contentment.

Fortunately, if you’ve made it his far, YOU are NOT content. You are hungry. You want more. You may never be content. This lesson is for you.

Whether you already have that “something” that you’re passionate about, or, you are still looking around for something to grab you and make you excited, the primary goals that you must ALWAYS prioritize before all others are those that involve your passions.

Everything else comes second.

My ultimate passion is creative and lateral thinking.

Step 2 – Engage your imagination!!

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions”

– Albert Einstein

Dream about your passions and where they could lead!

Do you ever dream of achieving something HUGE or being someone/something really great? Then “reality” hits and you say things like “I’m too old”, “I have kids now”, “I’m too busy”, “I can’t because . . . “, “I just have to do/finish this first”?

Those are excuses. Pretty good ones too . . . but not good enough if you are to become truly exceptional.

Forget about your excuses for a moment, forget they even exist. Instead, think about your passion and imagine the ULTIMATE place your passion could take you. Have NO fear here, there is NO failing in your imagination.

I dream of becoming a world-famous lateral thinking writer of fiction

Take a moment to engage your imagination. Relax, take as long as you need.

Step 3 – Write down your goal clearly!

Don’t be afraid, and don’t worry about stuff like it being impractical or unlikely.

That dream that you just had?

That thing you just imagined?

Write it down in clear and unmistakable language. Right now. If you’re really as hungry for success as I hope you are … CONTACT me with your goal and I will respond with my thoughts.

If you’re not sure about what your passions are exactly at this time that’s ok. Don’t write down frivolous goals for the sake of writing something. Come back at a later time when you have discovered/realized your passion and repeat this lesson.

My goal is to achieve traditional publishing of over 1 million copies of my first book.

Step 4 – Tell everyone about your goal

“Oh no,” you think.

Today is the day that you start your journey to real success. Success is the realization of your dreams, the dreams of your passions. Today, you make a leap of faith:

  • Post it on your social media;
  • Tell the family at dinner;
  • Post it in my comments section below;
  • Stand up at work and tell everyone.

I personally have posted my goals on social media, I’ve clearly stated them on this website, and I’ve discussed them at length with friends and family.

Step 5 – “Backwards” plan your goal

Lesson 8 covers this pretty well. Make sure you include a timeframe.

At this point, do not be too concerned with the seemingly “impossibility” of your task. Remember, lateral thinking will smash through the “blinkered” thinking that has shackled you in the past.

Ignore any “experts” that advise against your dreams. Be bold (Lesson 5).

Your backwards plan may include hurdles that you have absolutely no idea how you are going to get over. That’s okay, do the plan anyway and work out how to achieve it once you’ve finished this course

My personal backwards plan has been in place since May 2018, and I have set my timeframe for success to be May 2021. THREE YEARS … for a life-changing goal.

Step 6 – Engage your inner creativity and bring your goals to life

The power of creativity of the mind is something we are only just beginning to understand. You have some awesome skills already within your repertoire, and there are some more to come.



It’s late at night and you’re about to embark on a drive from Roswell, New Mexico to “The Big Apple”, New York City.

As you start your journey, you’re clear in your mind where you have to get to. You know this because you’ve “backwards” planned your journey so that you will arrive at a time that is ideal for your needs. You’ve created various stages of your journey . . . benchmarks of progress/achievement . . .

Roswell – Dallas – Oklahoma City – St. Louis – Indianapolis – Columbus – New York

As you start your journey, what have you done? You’ve entrusted faith, or confidence, into your plan to arrive in New York.

As you’re driving along, your headlights only illuminate up to a maximum of 100 yards ahead. Does this bother you? No, you know that there are roads (pathways) that will eventually arrive at your destination. You may never have traveled this road before, but that’s ok, you can reasonably assume that if others can do similar “leaps of faith” and succeed, so can you.

The Columbus to New York leg is closed to flooding. What do you do? Do you give up? No, you take a small detour to Pittsburg that allows you to avoid the flooding, and you arrive at your destination pretty much on schedule.

It’s impossible to foresee every problem. There will be unforeseen obstacles.

Unlike the journey from Roswell to New York though, there are likely no roadmaps to your goal.

This is why creativity is so important.

To travel the well-traveled path, the proven path, is easy. However, the results are usually pretty flat. If your goal is a business venture, the potential success of buying an existing franchise is far less than if you create an entirely new brand and franchise system from your own creativity. Your goals of passion will often require that you travel the untested/unproven path.

We’re on our way from Roswell to New York again, only this time, it is at a time that no one has ever made that trip directly before. There are no maps, no bridges, no rest stations and you have only your own resources to rely upon. What do you do?

  • You pioneer a new path between the two locations;
  • You map that path so that you can create a freight and passenger service between the two;
  • You use your creativity to improve and shorten the journey as you regularly traverse the countryside;
  • Occasionally you try a different route to see if there are possible benefits;
  • You creatively combine your tasks, passengers, and freight needs to create innovations in your service.

The point is that even though there was no known pathway, many possibilities existed.

It’s time to start the engine and begin your journey. And don’t be afraid to plant your foot down hard . . . there are no speed limits for success.

That’s it for today, we’ll be talking more about achieving your goals and removing obstacles to your goals in subsequent lessons.


You can now share and discuss your understanding of the need for creativity and what it involves:

  • Creative thinking is merely the combining of two or more ideas that haven’t been combined/considered before;
  • Our education and life experiences can often lead to a “blinkered” viewpoint; and
  • Never be afraid to defy the experts. Experts are often reduced to being cogs stuck in the machinery of their own expertise.

Creative thinking/lateral thinking skills that you can now use are:

  1. Random starting points;
  2. Considering the viewpoints/perspectives of others;
  3. Challenging the status quo by asking “why?”
  4. Look off the path of dominant thinking;
  5. Backwards planning; and
  6. Setting goals of passion.


Today I ask that you sit down with someone you care about and discuss the commitment to achieving the goal that you’ve undertaken. Show them the path that you’ve taken. Explain to them the skills and understanding you will be incorporating. Invite them to watch over your journey.


Ask if you’re not sure about something. Remember, there are no stupid questions (lesson 6).

*** *** ***

As promised earlier, “Traditional” rules for setting goals.

For those of you not familiar with the “norm” of goal setting wisdom, it can be summarized as the following.

Your goals should:

  1. be specific, and clearly stated;
  2. give a definite timeframe;
  3. be measurable, and you should be able to gauge your success along the way;
  4. be achievable;
  5. be relevant to your circumstances, needs, and demands.

There are a thousand ways these same principals are taught by different practitioners You can substantially improve your prospects by engaging these simple rules. They work for goals at work or at home. However, if you master the power of creative thinking, my method is far superior for goals that are of life-changing importance.

*** *** ***


Michael Muxworthy Sci-fi Novel
Coming soon – Michael Muxworthy

These free lateral thinking lessons are brought to you by Michael John Muxworthy

3 thoughts on “Lesson 9 – Goal Setting

  1. Hey Michael
    I surprised myself today and actually wrote down 3 goals. It took a while to even know what it was that I wanted, or was passionate about, or wanted to be passionate about for that matter. That step alone has given me confidence to take the next.

    It felt good to put it on paper, made it real. Now I just need to tell everyone…

    Liked by 1 person

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