Goal-Oriented Thinking

Goal-oriented thinking

copyrighted 2010

If you have a goal, it is not enough to believe in it and work hard; you also have to make your connections along the way.  Jude Fawley shows the tragic fate of someone who works hard, but does not make his connections.  Jude, the title character in Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure, was a very poor workman in nineteenth-century England.  His dream was to be a scholar at the fictional university of Christminster.  His schooling ends when he is eleven, but after hearing that scholars at the university know Latin and Greek, he decides to teach himself these languages.  He gets a Latin dictionary and an old grammar book and painfully teaches himself the language.  He works so hard delivering bread from his horse cart for his aunt’s bakery, that he has little time to study.  Nonetheless he is so determined to learn Latin, he reads a Latin book while driving the carriage at the same time.  He also knows that he will have to earn money while studying at the university, so he apprentices himself to become a mason.  For ten years all his energy and determination was centered on getting into this university so he can be a scholar.

If Jude had been luckier, a wealthy man would have noticed his industriousness. Then this man would have sent Jude to the university.  Jude would have made his connection, his hard work would have paid off, and the novel would have had a happy ending.  But Jude never makes a connection; instead he is told by one of the heads of the university that there is no place for him there and he should stay in his station of being a workman.  There was no hope for him in a system that did not have a place for poor smart people, so Jude gives up his dream.

Oftentimes people who do not understand connections think that hard work and persistence should be the solution.  This makes life seem fair as those who work harder get rewarded.  Sadly, things do not always work that way.  Poor Jude never got into the English university system, even though he had so much dedication and put so much effort into it.  Hard work alone is not sufficient, you also have to make your connections.  From a hard worker’s point of view, it might seem someone has to be lucky and so the universe might seem unfair.  That is why my book is so important: it will help you recognize your connections and do well with them.

Another character “alive” at the same time in the early nineteenth century is Queequeg, a major character in Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick.  Queequeg has the same traits of persistence as Jude but he makes his connection and thus is a success story.  A prince on an unnamed island in Polynesia, Queequeg desperately wanted to visit Western countries.  The only way he could do that, though, was by going there aboard a Christian ship.  His father begged one Christian ship captain to take him, but the captain refused to do it.  Queequeg, however, did not give up.  He used creative goal-oriented thinking to figure out that there was a small strait nearby which the Christian ship had to pass through.  On one side of the strait was a coral reef and the other side had a mangrove thicket that grew into the water.  Focusing on his goal, he figured out that he could hide in the mangrove thicket and then grab onto one of the chains or ropes dangling from the ship and climb onboard it.

Queequeg put his plan into operation and when the ship came by, he grabbed a chain and climbed on board. There he grabbed onto one of the ship’s fixtures and swore he would not let go even if he was hacked into pieces.  The captain threatened to throw him overboard and even suspended a sword above his wrists acting like he was going to cut off his hands, but Queequeg would not let go.  Melville says that captain let him stay on the ship as he was “struck by his desperate dauntlessness, and his wild desire to visit Christendom.”  Queequeg then spent decades being a great harpooner on Western ships.

Obviously Queequeg is taking a big chance here.  Once he jumped on the ship, he could have been cut to pieces or thrown to the sharks. So someone in Queequeg’s situation needs to sense how the captain would treat him once he got on board the ship.  If the person senses rightly, then good things happen in his life.  But if the person senses wrongly, disastrous things happen to him.  While intuition has been hyped recently, goal-oriented thinking is in many ways more important as we use it more often.  It is frequently misunderstood as computer like rationality. To do it well, however, it requires tremendous sensitivity to your own needs, wants and abilities, as well as those of other people.

This chapter will talk about the two most important parts of achieving your goal: picking an appropriate goal and finding the method to achieve it.  The next chapter will discuss pursuing your goals while balancing rationality with feelings—your own, and other people’s.

PICKING AN APPROPRIATE GOAL FOR YOU

Say you are new in town and you need a job.  In the past, you have often cooked food in a diner and you are good at it.  You like feeding people, the smell of the cooking food, and the bustle of fast food establishments.  Some diner nearby is advertising for a cook and you get hired.

This is a simple example, but it illustrates some important points about being sensitive to yourself and your situation, and thus, how to use goal-oriented thinking to make connections.

First Guideline: Having Skills and Talent

First, your connection to something important like a job is highly likely to be something you have the skills for.  If you are not skilled at an activity that means it does not fit into the larger pattern of your life. This point may seem obvious, but the corollary is not.  If you have no talent at something, but you still want to do it, it is probably an inappropriate desire urging you to do the thing.

Second Guideline: Fitting Your Personality

Secondly, the more a job fits your personality, the more connected you are with it.  By fitting your personality I am not thinking of about something that fulfills your desires, but liking the little details and continual actions it takes to accomplish your goal.  So a job at a diner fits your personality if you like chopping and frying food and smelling it while you cook.  It fits if you like the friendliness of a diner, its lack of pretentiousness, and the challenge of getting food to people quickly.  Liking all of these things gives you energy on a continual basis to accomplish your goal of making money; these things carry you along in a positive way to your goal.  On the other hand, if working at a diner is just about the goal of making money, and you hate all of the other parts of it, it is not the best job for you.

The same principle applies to other connections such as romantic relationships. The more you like the continuing small things about the relationship, such as what you talk about at dinner, the more it will satisfy you.

Third Guideline: A History of Relationship to It

Thirdly, connections are often something that you have done in the past.  Having done them already shows that you have a continuing desire for it or attunement to the kind of people or situations it shows up in.  All these things are evidence of it fitting into the larger pattern of your life.

This last point is more complicated than the other two.  If you do not have the skills to do something well or it does not fit your personality, you are very unlikely to achieve your goal.  But it could easily be that you have no past connection with some kind of activity or situation because of troubles in your past.  So you might have a connection with wilderness hiking, but your parents might think this is a tremendous waste of time because of their own personal issues.  So you might never have gone wilderness hiking while you are living with them.

This chapter will elucidate more about making your connections through goal-oriented thinking. I will discuss them through looking at the lessons I learnt in my eleven years as a day trader. (Day trading is defined in a strict sense as the buying and selling of stock in the very same day, so a person ends the day with owning no stock at all.  In the looser sense, it means making short term trades that might last seconds, minutes, days or weeks.  I was a day trader in the looser sense of the word.)

Fourth: Evaluate if the Goal Makes Sense

I have three children, Timothy, Athena, and Josephina.  When my two oldest children were in high school, we would often play a video game called Dr. Mario.  It was an intellectual game in which you and your opponent start off with the same number of pills of three different colors.  Another pill would be dropped into your playing area and the goal was to quickly move the dropped pill to try to get four of the same colors lined up in a row.  If you got four in a row of the same color, those four pills would be destroyed.  The winner was the first person to get rid of all their pills.  The game required some hand coordination and had a small element of chance in it, but it was almost all about the recognition of patterns and a quick response to changing conditions.  My two oldest children and I would often happily play for hours as we were all equally matched and very competitive.

When my two oldest children went off to Dartmouth College together, I could no longer play the Dr. Mario video game with them. In 1997, my wife and I had good jobs teaching at a state university in Wisconsin and the money from these jobs covered all our expenses.  I also had seventeen thousand dollars I had recently made by working double shifts and by sleeping in my office instead of renting an apartment when I taught for a year at a college three hours away.  My wife thought I deserved to do what I wanted with the money.  I now thought trading stocks would be very much like playing a video game but with the added thrill of being able to make money.

But I had absolutely no idea how the stock market worked, what was a good company, or why a stock went up in price.  It seemed sensible to put my money into a mutual fund and let the professionals manage it.  How could I possibly do better than the professionals?  It seemed hubristic to think I could do better than experts who had studied the economy and the stock market for decades.  If it had merely been about the money, I probably would have listened to the experts and put my dollars into a mutual fund.

As I wondered if I should start trading stocks, I realized I had the first three signs of connection with it.  First, I was good at the kind of skills required to do it well: I was excellent at math, doing intellectual tasks, and analyzing different kinds of data to see a pattern. Second, my personality fit a stock trader’s personality.  As my love of video games showed, I liked staring at things moving quickly on a computer screen while making fast decisions in a competitive environment.  Also, throughout my life I had thrived on doing intellectually oriented activities by myself.  Third, putting my extra money into stocks was something I had often done in the past.  When I was in seventh to tenth grade, I invested all my paper route money in the stock market.  When I got extra money when I was twenty five I invested it in stocks.

If I had not had these three qualities, I would not have gone into trading stocks.  The lack of these qualities would show that I did not have a real connection to trading stocks; instead it would have been very good evidence that I was motivated only by stupid desires like seeing commercials on TV or the thought I could get rich quickly.

My trading stocks made sense as I had earned this extra money working much harder than normal, so could use it how I wanted.  I could go to Ireland, or play stocks.

Trading stocks made sense for me, but telling what makes sense in other cases is often much more difficult. One thing you can do is to eliminate the clearly stupid things.  From my experience, just doing that is a significant portion of getting things right.

The first step in getting rid of clearly stupid things is to look at the three guidelines mentioned above.  If you have no talent at something, if it does not fit your personality, and if you have no past relationship to that activity, it is extremely unlikely to be the right goal for you.

There are also three more complex things to consider. The first thing is if you have an intuition that this goal is not right for you.  If your intuition is generally reliable, then you should probably listen to it.  (I discuss intuitions and listening to them in the chapters on intuition.)  The second is if trying to achieve this goal means you do not fulfill a major responsibility.  If the goal requires you to give up a major responsibility, then it is harder to see how this goal can fit with the larger current of your life as the major responsibility is part of that larger current.  (I discuss responsibilities in the chapter on External Factors.)  The third is if this goal a result of a tendency, concern or mindset that has got you in trouble before.  For example, if you have gotten in trouble in the past for being too concerned about impressing your peer group, and your current goal arises from that same concern, it is good to wonder about your goal.

After evaluating your goal and deciding that it is a sensible goal, the next step is working on achieving it.

STEPS TO ACHIEVING YOUR GOAL

Step One: Realize Transitions can be difficult

When I started trading stocks, I thought doing well might be like doing well in video games.  The winner in a Dr. Mario video game was the person who could see a pattern faster than anyone else.  So I needed to see the pattern of how to pick stocks that were going to increase in price if I was going to win at this game.  But I had no idea how to do it.  Who knew why a stock went up in price?  I certainly did not.  There was so much information about stocks, the economy, and investing, it seemed overwhelming.  I worried I had made a mistake thinking I could trade stocks.

If you get good at some subject or totally fail at it, the doubtful middle stage is over.  But until an activity or project is obviously something you can or cannot succeed at, the transition can be very difficult.  Doubts can assail you from all sides.  You may wonder if you are wasting your time or being silly to think you can do it.  If you are unlucky, you may have family or friends who will try to discourage you.

Your doubts are reasonable too; it is misguided to say trust your self as there is no reason to trust your judgment or ability in a particular area until you have results that show that you can do it.  Why should you have confidence in your abilities in a particular area until you have succeeded at it?

There are a couple of things that can make this tense transition period a little easier to deal with.

The first thing is to realize that having doubts means that you have avoided the worst situation.  When you are doing something really stupid, you will probably have no doubts about it because the desire for this thing will consume you so much there will be no room for a doubt to appear in your mind.

The second thing is that if you have gone over the checklist above, then it is a lot less likely that you have done something stupid.  Woody Allen said that showing up is eighty percent of success.  In the same vein, just avoiding stupid things is at least half the way to doing good things.

Step Two: Finding your own style

In doing goal-oriented thinking, the second important step is finding a way of reaching your goal that fits your personality.  The style you use to arrive at your goal has to fit with your likes, personality, ability and wants if you are going to be good at it and find it satisfying.

The experts at day trading advocated finding a stock going up in price and riding the trend upwards.  In this kind of trading (called momentum trading), the investors usually do not care or even know about the company whose stock they are buying.  I was not interested in this kind of trading as I saw no reason to think the trend would continue, and I did not trust going with the herd.  I had always been the kind of person who did not trust what others say and trusted my own judgment instead.  I liked a contrarian method of investing: buying quality companies at a time when others were ignoring them and so they were low in price.  I found I only liked buying excellent, well-managed companies with good products that were growing in revenue and earnings but were also selling at a very low price in relation to the cash the company had and the earnings they made. This fit my personality: I was an outsider who trusted my own judgment about what was quality over everyone else’s.

My style was similar to traditional fundamental investing in value companies pioneered by Benjamin Graham, David Dodd and Warren Buffet.  I did a vast amount of research into each company by poring over SEC documents, news, the company’s website, and intelligent chat boards about the company.  With all this research, I could tell good companies with solid products and good managements and then only buy them at an excellent price.

I also invested based on very conservative principles as this would be the only money I ever had to play this game with. I would never buy on margin, which was borrowing money from the brokerage to buy more stock.  While trading on margin increased one’s profits, it also leads to the possibility of tremendously quick and severe losses.  Finally, I never put more than ten percent of my money into one company.  Thus if I was totally wrong about a company, I would not lose that much money.

While I had my conservative side, I was different than the vast majority of other followers of value investing.  They were usually conservative in outlook and thus were interested in larger, established companies.  I was not interested in my retirement plan or even a trip to Fiji; one thing I wanted was quick thrills from the trading itself. So I evolved a video game twist on the value investment strategy by buying what experts considered the most dangerous (and thus the possibly most rewarding) stocks.

I bought penny stocks, which usually meant those selling for less than five dollars a share, but for me often meant those selling literally for pennies.  Many mutual funds and individual investors will never buy these stocks as they worry the stock of a company selling at such a low price means the company is in trouble.  I saw no reason to think five dollars was some magic cutoff point for telling what was a good company.

I bought IPOs (Initial Public Offerings, or the first time the stock of a company is able to be bought by the public) the first seconds they started selling if they were good companies that were underpriced because people did not understand the technology or they were unnoticed for various reasons.

I bought recent IPOs which had fallen below their original price as many mutual funds or individual investors will not buy them as they think that means the company is a loser.  So I bought these if they were good solid companies with lots of cash and good growth.

I also bought unnoticed foreign companies listed on the Nasdaq market or on the Canadian exchanges if they had good products with good management, were growing their revenue and earnings well, and filed public documents.  (Of course these companies were also sometimes penny stocks.)

Finally I bought high growth technology stocks if their growth in earnings and revenue was good compared to their price.  If these companies stopped their growth in revenue, I immediately sold them, no matter what my losses as they had lost their edge.

Because I only liked to buy when the prices were low, I had to follow a lot of excellent companies and only buy them when their prices were very low.  So after a couple of years, I had a stable of about five hundred companies I was closely monitoring every day and I would only buy the ones, if any, that were at a sufficiently low price compared to their cash at hand and their earnings and growth prospects.

During this time I often bought and sold the same stock four of five times a day, or made more than twenty or thirty total trades a day, or made a couple hundred trades in a week.  It was not unusual to make a twenty percent profit on a trade during the day (sometimes in seconds), or a thirty to forty percent profit in a week.  I never forgot that I was gambling, but I always felt the odds were very much on my side as I never bought I company I had not already thoroughly investigated and which I thought was overvalued.

I was comfortable with my investing style and it worked for me.  Nevertheless, I would continually hear about other traders making a lot more money.  I would occasionally try to mimic their styles as they seemed so successful.  But whenever I tried to do their methods, I could not do it.  I never saw the small, but vital clues they supposedly saw in a stock’s chart patterns.  My style was successful for me because I understood it and it totally fit my personality in so many ways.  Other people’s styles did not work for me as I did not understand them on a deep level because they did not fit my personality.

I found my style in day trading and you need to find your style in whatever activity you want to succeed in.  The first thing is not to adopt someone else’s style if it does not feel right to you.  Secondly, look for something that will succeed in the long run, not just the short run. That means your style has to feel comfortable to you.  It also has to be something that makes you feel that you are treating other people well by your standards.

Finding your style is not the same as being yourself.  Being yourself is often a synonym for being honest or authentic or expressing your feelings or doing whatever you feel like doing.  Instead of being yourself, be an improved, better version of your self that clears away the sharp edges that reveal an insensitivity to other people’s needs.

Step Three: Find the strategic times and situations

While I was making money trading stocks, I was often unhappy because I would invest in an excellent company at a very undervalued price and it could languish without going up for months.  How was that fun?

By studying the movement of companies, I came to see that there were key times good companies were likely to make a fast upward movement: after their quarterly earnings report, when another company in the same field had a good or bad earnings report, or if it passed some artificial barrier that other people found significant (like increasing about five dollars a share or rising above its IPO price).  Most importantly though, very good companies sometimes hit a short term glitch that caused other investors to immediately sell all their holdings.  These troubles might be something like an insignificant but well-publicized scandal, a less than projected earnings report, or a new competitor.  As many investors were selling, the stock’s price would make a quick and deep dive.  As I knew the background of hundreds of companies, if one of the ones I was following encountered such a situation, I would immediately research the trouble.  If I thought the company was still sound, then I would buy on these panicky deep dives.  This was an extremely risky strategy, but it was also very rewarding if I got it right.

I also saw that the stock of very good, very undervalued companies would sink in price if the general market went down.  To my horror, these companies actually went down much faster than the general market, even though they were already undervalued.  (This happened because these stocks were the more volatile ones).  So I  became knowledgeable on where the general stock market was going by understanding both the economy and the trading psychology of other stock investors.

I spent eleven years day trading, from December of 1997 to the very bottom day of the crash in 2009.  The stock market in general (as measured by the S & P 500) went down 10% during those eleven years, but I increased my money by seven times (this profit includes the costs of brokerage commissions).  I made money in the boom and in the market crash of 2008-9 (by playing short term market bounces with good, undervalued companies).  I made these returns even though I usually invested less than twenty percent of my money at a time as the market was so often over-priced during this time period.

I am telling you all of this for a larger point: if you understand the key points and times to do well in your environment or situation, you can reach your goal in a much easier and enjoyable manner.   Hard work and persistence in holding onto your dream are often needed, but understanding how the system works and seeing the opportune moments in that system tremendously increases your likelihood of success and enjoyment along the way.

The same principle works in achieving the goal of having good relationships with other people.  For example, I like presents any day of the year and no day is more special than another.  My wife, though, much more values presents on her birthday and Christmas.  In her mind, she gives me double or triple points for giving presents to her on those days.

The key thing to understand is what the person you are involved with cares about.  You cannot be focused on what you think they should care about, but only what they actually care about.  Understanding what they care about can be difficult as you have to get past your preconceived notions and your feelings of what is best for them.

For example, when I was in graduate school at Syracuse University, I was a teaching assistant for one philosophy professor who was horrified that the students were not preparing for his class.  He thought students were at the university to get an education and if they were not preparing, they were not getting an education.  One day, when he found out that only 8 of over 300 students had prepared for class, he was so disgusted that he canceled that class.

I was horrified because this professor was stuck in his own view about how things should be.  In his mind the students were there to get an education; but from the students’ point of view, they were taking this class just to fulfill another requirement.  Thus they saw themselves as jumping through hoops.  If the professor had seen things from their point of view, he would have structured the grading system so that preparing for class by doing homeworks was an essential element of passing the class.  This would have been easy for him as he had five teaching assistants for this class and they would have had to correct the homework for him.

A few months later, when I became a professor teaching my own classes, I wanted more than anything for my students to be prepared for class as that made for much better class discussions.  So I structured my grading requirements so that doing homework was essential to pass the class; now in my classes it counts for forty percent of the final grade.

Besides structuring the grading system a certain way, I realized that I could not motivate many of my slacker students as they did not care about my opinion.  I realized, though, that these students did care about the opinion of the people who were paying for their education.  So the first day of class I passed out postcards and asked anyone not on scholarship to write down the name of the person who was helping them pay for their education.  The students had no idea what I was doing, but once I collected the postcards from almost all of them, I told them in the middle of the term I was going to be mailing the postcards with a report of how they were doing in class.  This motivated many students to do better as they did not want to hear from their parents about how they were not working hard enough.

In every situation or relationship, there are key opportunities and times for success.  If you can clear away your preconceptions of how things should be, you can become aware of them and benefit from them.

Step Four: Regaining Your Lost Mojo

The fourth step to succeed at goal-oriented thinking is learning from major mistakes.  Experts in an area quickly learn how to learn from minor mistakes and they can eventually recover from midsize ones.  Sometimes though, an expert makes a major mistake that destroys her confidence and ability to do well.  That happened to me in stock trading.

During the first five months of the final six months of the peak of the internet stock bubble, I stayed out of the market as I could tell all stocks were grossly over-valued.  But in the last month, at the very peak of the bubble, I saw so many other people making lots of money, that I cracked and lost my discipline.  I could not stand being on the sidelines while other people were making lots of money.  So I told myself that my sense the market was grossly over-valued was mistaken.  I convinced myself that no one could know what the stock market was going to do.  So I invested at a bad time: the last month of the internet bubble.

While I lost a decent amount of money, the worse thing was that I lost my mojo and I now made many more mistakes.  I lost my sense of what the stock market was going to do and how to play it.

In the section on dealing with messed up relationships, I present many techniques of how to deal with problems like this.  In my stock trading case, there was a key time when things went bad for me (investing during the final month of the internet bubble), so I looked at the origin of the problem.

Looking at what I might have done wrong then, I saw that before that particular time, I had developed a very good sense of the long term market direction based on fundamental understanding of the economy, the price of stocks, and technical analysis of chart patterns.  I did well because I held onto my informed judgment instead of being influenced by the fear, greed or hope of less sensitive people in the media and on the internet.  But to maintain my informed judgment, I had to continually maintain tight control over my emotions, thoughts and reactions and not be influenced by other, less well-informed, people.

But this constant vigilance took lots of effort.  At the top of the internet bubble, I knew stocks were very overvalued, and I should just stay out of the market.  But it took so much mental and emotional effort to maintain maintain this vigilance while so many other people were exuberantly making lots of money.  I cracked and started buying stocks.  At first I was relieved to give up my well-informed judgment and instead go along with the crowd.  Unfortunately it did not take long before the market crashed and I was distraught.

Since that time when I had given up the necessary vigilance that was required to stay centered in my informed judgment, I had not done anywhere near as well trading stocks.

I now realized what a mistake it had been to give up that vigilance of holding on to my informed judgment and instead get carried away with the uninformed, emotional reactions of other people.  I saw that I had an issue with this constant vigilance as part of me thought doing well at something should not require such intense vigilance.  I realized that since that time I had often given up this vigilance.  Now I told myself to keep doing it always, even though it required so much mental and emotional effort.

Oftentimes experts get another chance.  That soon happened to me. The market, which had been so overvalued for so long because of the housing bubble, finally turned my way and crashed.  By being patient, trusting my informed judgment, and through great sensitivity to technically based turns in the market, around the beginning of 2008, while the market was down twenty percent, I played the market turns perfectly and earned twenty percent of my money in a couple weeks.

Step five: Knowing when to stop

The final step of succeeding at goal-oriented thinking is stopping at the appropriate time.  This can be hard, especially if a significant portion of your time and energy has been channeled into this activity or goal.

I started trading stocks because it was fun like a video game.  I liked doing it at first because it was a thrill finding quality companies that were highly likely to go up in price. During the housing boom I rarely had more than five percent of my total money invested at a time. The whole system was built on such a shaky foundation, I kept assuming everyone else would see its instability and thus the market would crash.  In 2009, in trying to recover from the housing crash, the government was doing a similar method of getting the economy going by short term fixes that did not make long term economic sense.  Partially because I did not like being part of such a stupid game, I got out the morning the market started its giant rebound in March 2009.  (I also had other things to do, such as writing this book.)

For me, it was time to get out of day trading when my primary goal, having fun, was no longer alluring.  People can get lost in trying to fulfill other secondary goals (such as making more money), but when your heart is not in it, you are unlikely to even accomplish the secondary goal.

Very often people will stay in an activity for too long.  If this happens to you, it is sad, but you can learn from it.  If you stay in something too long that means you have some tendency or motive that is strong enough to pull you out of your larger current.  The sad news is that you have made a mistake.  But this motive or tendency will manifest itself in more than one area of your life.  So if you can look at this motive or tendency and see why it was so alluring, this will help you resist this enticement the next time it shows up.  So you have made a mistake now, but in the long run, if you learn from it, it can be a beneficial mistake.

copyrighted 2010

After this book is written, I am hoping to get it published.  It would be helpful if you tell me any questions you may have or any parts that you have found helpful.  If you have sections that you do not understand or you think are stupid or misguided, I would very much appreciate if you tell me.  It is much better to hear these comments now, when I can easily change things, then later, after I have published a book.  I will reflectively consider your concerns and, if warranted, I will change things to incorporate your concerns into the book. You can email me at  waligore@yahoo.com.  Please put “About Connections,” into the subject heading of the email.

This book was written by Joseph Waligore with the help of Michelle Stage.  Joseph   teaches philosophy and religious studies at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. More information about him can be found at his MySpace profile or his Facebook profile.  Michelle works in a bank in St. Paul, Minnesota as a learning consultant and in a Minneapolis night club as a dominatrix.

This website is one of four websites I have.  Another one, www.followingtheflow.com is for spiritually oriented people and discusses very similar ideas from a more spiritually oriented perspective.  Another one, www.josephwaligore.com is for academically or intellectually oriented people.  It has my writings about spiritual philosophies such as Stoicism, Socrates, the Deists, the Enlightenment period, and the rise of modern science.  Another one, www.spiritualcritiques.com, has critiques of many popular spiritual teachers and spiritual teachings.  It looks at teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, Ken Wilber, and Pema Chodron.  It also looks at teachings like “All is One,”  “The Hundredth Monkey,” and “If it Rings True, it is True.”

There is a Facebook group called Flowing.  People interested in meeting other people who are interested in these ideas and/or participating in discussions about these ideas are invited to join the group.

Many people reach this site through keyword advertisements.  It might be of interest that Joseph got the money for these ads through his day trading profits.

One Response to Goal-Oriented Thinking

  1. VICTOR MOTIVATOR says:

    IT IS A GOOD BOOK HIGHLY INSPIRATIONAL I LOVE IT

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