Can it really be that simple?

When it comes to setting goals and objectives and developing a system to help achieve them, it appears that the best advice can be whittled down to a few key points.

  • Be clear, specific and tangible in setting the desired outcome
  • Ensure your goal has a bit of ‘stretch’ but not too much
  • Break the work down into small, achievable steps (not all at once!)
  • Work on it and move the thing forward every day
  • Build in some accountability by going public or enlisting the support/challenge of others


Is that it? Can it be that simple? If we do all of those things, then can we guarantee success?

I’m not sure you can ever guarantee success (even though many will try to sell you that) but I think following this advice will certainly allow you to make progress.



I often recoil from the ‘simple’. I tend to equate simple with basic, with common, with mediocre. I tend to think, “well if it was that simple, wouldn’t we all be doing it”. I tend to look for a more elegant, sophisticated solution.

And, you know, a lot of the time, I’m doing the wrong thing. We often over-complicate our lives. There are tons of reasons why we do so. One that recurs for me is to prove that I’m a deep thinker and an innovator by hanging on for the ultimate solution. How can I use basic stuff with all my fancy-shmancy education and my work with famous companies? Of course, this is classic ‘fixed mindset’ thinking, as defined by Carol Dweck. It’s not helping.

There’s a time for simple and a time for complexity. I often get them mixed up. (Seth Godin talks here about simple, complicated and nuance).


2 thoughts on “Can it really be that simple?

  1. Kieran Daly

    Love the image. I have groaning shelves of books on self improvement, success, strategy )the original Porters no less and I think your image above tells the tail of all of these.

    Write a list ‘ make sure it is short. Do it. The doing is what so many people are poor at. Fear is such an underlying factor in the human psyche these days and why the “Beat Procrastination ‘ Buy My Book¨” is alive and well.

    I have a print out over my desk with a picture of Einstein and his saying “If You Can´t Explain it simply, you don´t understand it well enough”.

    Must add a pic of you with above comments 🙂

    Good post – more please

  2. Aodan Enright Post author

    Thanks Kieran, that Einstein quote is so true. I certainly empathise with it too. I often over-complicate talking about the work we’re doing.

    If you’re hanging a picture of me, I’ll send on the best PR shots. (Avoid Facebook!) 😉

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