Acronyms aside, there is a groan attached to this blogpost. A comedian once shared a joke with me that both offended my sensibilities (it is sexist) but also made me smile because of its deeper truth. So I’m going to share the joke here on the understanding that I think it refers equally to both genders…
He said, “I now know exactly why so many marriages get off to the wrong start… it’s all to do with the Church wedding service.” We all leaned forward to hear more, many of us, I suspect, having less than perfect marriages. He then asked us to interact.
“What is the part of the Church you walk up to get married?” he said.
“The Aisle,” we said, with one voice, like a herd of sheep.
“What part of the Church do you stand before when you’ve finished your journey up the aisle?” says he.
“The Altar,” says we.
“And, finally, what do you sing when you get to the Altar?” he asked?
“A Hymn,” we declared, pleased that we’d clearly got the answer right.
“And there’s the problem,” he revealed, “Aisle, Altar, Hymn – this is how most marriages start.”
[Like me, you might need to hear the words rather than read them to get the punchline.]
“I’ll alter him” or “I’ll alter her” are both ridiculous foundations upon which to seek to build any relationship. We can change no-one but ourselves. This means that it is wise to set goals with an “O” – standing for goals that are under our “Own Control”.
I know that I went through my childhood always wanting more friends (I make few but intimate friendships). I was envious of the more outward-going youths who seemed to make friends so easily – even drawing others to them. What I needed to learn was to just deal with the part of the chemistry that was under my “Own Control” – to be more friendly myself.
Love is the same. A goal set with a frustrating future will be, “I want more people to love me.”
A goal set with a more certain future is, “Today, I shall be more loving.”
That way we can move from, “Oh Dear!” to “Oh Yes!”
[Author’s Note. If you are following this blog series, it is based on the acronym “POWERFUL”. I am using this to highlight the 8 characteristics of well-formed goals. So far we have had the P for “Positive” (putting your goals in positive terms) and O for “Own Control”.]