It’s Not Real Until It’s Written Down

In order to make efficient strides toward success you have to know where you want to go. What exactly do you want to achieve and experience in your career and your life? If you want to realize specific results, you must have specific ambitions. You can work yourself to the bone without having direction, but you won’t be going anywhere new fast. Growth and success require goals.

Harvard’s MBA class of 1979 was the subject of a study that aimed to measure the effectiveness of setting goals and committing them to paper. Upon graduation, students were asked if they had written down future goals. Only 3 percent responded that they had written goals down on paper. Another 13 percent of MBA students had goals in mind, but hadn’t expressed them in writing. The remaining 84 percent had no clear goals whatsoever.

Ten years later the study revisited these MBA graduates. What they found was striking. The 13 percent of graduates with unwritten goals were earning double the salaries of the 84 percent of graduates who had no goals. Now for the jaw-dropping finding: the 3 percent of graduates who had committed their goals to paper were earning, on average, ten times more than the rest of the class combined.

That’s no small statistic. Simply having goals doubles your leverage. Writing your goals down on paper increases it tenfold. You don’t have to invest in new technology or earn an extra degree to take advantage of this added horsepower. All that’s required is a pen and paper (or maybe a whiteboard) and a commitment to designing your future.


This article is an excerpt from the book “The Whiteboard: Go from Blank Canvas to a Productive, Leveraged, & Highly-Profitable Business” by Chris Haddon and Jason Balin. Please click here to see more.

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