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Goal setting as a motivator of unethical behavior

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Ash Roy
Unethical goal setting

Goal-setting is valuable and worthwhile, provided it's linked to habits

There is a darker side to goal-setting and it's rarely discussed online. This article aims to open up a conversation about this darker side, and seeks to arrive at healthier alternatives.

Please do share your thoughts in the comments below. I'd love to continue the conversation with you in the comments. 

Goal-obsession can become unhealthy pretty quickly and lead to unethical behaviors — especially when we get really close to achieving the goal but risk missing it. 

In our goal-obsessed culture, we tend to have a myopic focus on the goal itself rather than the "why" behind the goal or the journey that leads to its realization. 

We often tend to discard anything that gets in the way (including the reason we might've set the goal in the first place). 

We've all seen the growth-obsessed billionaires that won't stop at anything to achieve their goals.

They might've started businesses with noble intentions such as providing a better life for their family or making a meaningful change in the world, but at some point, the 'profit-at-all-costs' imperative took over, and they're now in a race for world domination. 

The intoxicating power that inevitably follows leads to individual (and corporate) behaviors that result in irreparable damage to their personal relationships. In many cases, we've seen disastrous impacts on our financial and ecological environment.  

The Exxon Valdez disaster or the Enron débâcle was several years in the making and was most likely a result of goal-obsessed corporate behavior. 

Better to set goals and use them as a "north star" but focus on the journey for the most part. It makes more sense to celebrate sticking to habits rather than goal achievement.

That way, you're more likely to enjoy the journey rather than get obsessed with the destination, which, by definition is fleeting.  

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