A clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Cornell University, Ari Kiev MD writes: “In my practice as a psychiatrist, I have found that helping people to develop personal goals, has proved to be the most effective way to help them to cope with problems. Observing the lives of people who have mastered adversity, I have noted,” he writes, “that they have established goals and struck with the whole their effort to achieve them. From the moment they decided to concentrate all their energies on a specific objective, they began to surmount the most difficult odds.”
So writes Dr. Kiev, in his book “A Strategy For Daily Living“. He writes, “The establishment of a goal is the key to successful living and the most important step toward achieving an objective is first to define it. I’m sure you have at least 30 minutes a day,” he writes, “In which to list your thoughts about possible goals.
“Set aside such a period each day for a month. At the end of that time, choose from the possible objectives you’ve listed, the one that seems the most important and record it separately on a single card. Carry this card with you at all times. Think about this objective every day. Create concrete mental images of the goal as if you’ve already accomplished it.”
The doctor points out that, “You can determine your special talents or strengths in a number of ways, ranging from psychological tests to an analysis for the unexpressed wishes and your dreams. No one method works for everyone. You might start, for example, by clipping and pasting newspaper articles that interest you. After 30 days, See if there isn’t some trend as suggestive of a deep-seated interest or natural inclination. Keep alert to the slightest indications of any special skills or talents, even when they seem silly or unimportant.
“From this exercise, you should be able to get some sense of potential strength whenever you discover a strength or talent. Think of five possible ways to develop it. Write these down on a card as well and check them periodically to keep them fresh in your mind. Focus on one objective at a time. Like a servo-mechanism the brain set on a target, will call into play those mental processes that will bring your efforts to fruition. Your actions will conform to your expectations, thereby bringing about the event. If you believe that you will reach your objective, you will continue to work on a task until you’ve accomplished it.”
And he suggests that we be aware of situations that generate the five great enemies of peace? They are avarice, ambition, envy, anger, and pride.
Petrarch said, if those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace. Old advice, perennial advice, and perennially forgotten.
It’s been said that we need reminding as much as we need educating. Even Petrarch in the 14th century knew all about this subject. Dr. Kiev, got the idea of writing his book because of a young businessman who visited his office saying that he needed to set up guidelines to follow that would let him function without professional help in the face of considerable confusion and despair caused by serious personal problems.
So take the good and free advice for the psychiatrist. Dr Ari Kiev and don’t be afraid of failure. As Herodotus wrote. “It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half of the evils we anticipate – than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what may happen.“