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Monday, April 11, 2016

Dr. Benjamin Mays — Goals

Research shows that only about 2% of Americans write goals.  I was 35 years old when I first heard about the importance of goal-setting in achieving one's dreams. In college I had dreamed of being a writer but at 35 was far from my dream. I had only written about 200 poems in 15 years. I set a goal to write a poem a day for a year. That year I wrote over 400 poems.

If you want to achieve your dreams, you need to turn them into goals.  Goals are dreams with deadlines.  Some creative leaders don't want to set goals because they are afraid they will not reach them. But the truth is that people achieve more when they have goals then when they don't. You may not reach the goal you set but you will come closer than if you had no goal. And as many people learn, the joy is in working to achieve the goal, not in actually achieving it. And when goal-setters reach their goal, they quickly set a new goal. 

I once met a 101 year old man who was writing his first book using a laptop computer in a nursing home. I visited that nursing home a couple of years later and the man, then 103, was writing his second book. What goals have you set for yourself? Your work? Your life?

Dr. Benjamin Mays must have been a master goal-setter for all that he accomplished. Mays was the youngest of eight children born to tenant farmers and former slaves in South Carolina. He earned a B.A. from Bates College in Maine, a Masters and a Ph.d in religion from the University of Chicago. He received almost 30 honorary doctorates in his lifetime. He was an ordained Baptist minister and an educator. He became President of Morehouse College in 1940, a post he held for 27 years. Mays wrote nearly 2,000 articles and nine books includingThe Negro's Church, the first sociological study of African-American religion. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who graduated from Morehouse in 1948, called Mays his "spiritual mentor" and "intellectual father." 

Childhood home of Benjamin Mays