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Goal Achievement

Me in 1988 Imbued with the Mumbo philosophy.

I once maligned the most valuable thing I learnt during eight years as a government employee.  It was a management system called ‘Management by Objectives’.  My colleagues and I called it ‘Mumbo’.

Though I resisted indoctrination, it was the official goal setting structure of my organisation, and unless I wanted to have no input into my activities, stagnate and be shown the door, I had no choice but to capitulate.

Mumbo, or ‘MBO’ as the managers called it, is setting goals, and writing them down, and then setting a bunch of mini-goal which will lead you to achievement of your big goals.   Writing down your goals is essential, and at the end of a period you need to revisit them.  The revisiting is fun and interesting.  In a year circumstances change and you change.  Looking back at your expectations of a year earlier is to connect with a younger person; a really interesting younger person because there’s no one more interesting than yourself.  Reviewing how you went, helps you learn what is realistic and achievable, and helps you to set your next lot of goals.

But for me the overwhelming benefit is the wholehearted committing to goals.   I find that having done so, then every day in every way my actions support my goals.  For example, if a goal was to be able to converse in German by the end of 2020, then rather than having a chat with a young European traveller I might invite them to my home.   When I came across an article about Germany I  would read that in preference to another article, and rather than watch TV I might do some studying.

If your goal was to build your relationship with a certain person, then you may choose to visit them rather than doing housework.  On the other hand, your goal may be to keep a tidier house, and you may choose to stay home and sort out the linen cupboard.

The goal isn’t that important, but having goals engenders purposefulness and happiness.  Achieving your goal doesn’t necessarily make you happy.  The journey is far more important than the destination. 

I spent sixteen years on a book that has just been rejected by the third prospective publisher.  Am I unhappy?  No.  Would I have kept on bashing away for over a decade if I was not indoctrinated with Mumbo?  Probably not.  Am I happy that I stuck with it and gave it my best shot?  Absolutely.

Goals need to be achievable, yet not too easy.  Ridiculously big goals will dishearten you, while pathetically easy goal won’t give you any satisfaction.


Being an MBO disciple can be exasperating for those around you.  Part of the story of my life is  annoying my staff because my priorities often appear to be misguided.  A good example was a couple of New Years ago.  We had heaps of visitors at Eyebright, and delivering our legendary  service meant I should stay in the shop.  Had I not been mind-full of another longer term goal that’s what I would have done.  But New Years is last day for sowing sunflowers that will bloom before cold and short days bear down on them.  I played the long game, sowed the field of sunflowers, and in late March we had a magnificent field of sunny blooms.

I have a goal to build the Garden Art Expo to two hundred entries by 2023.  We’ve just staged the third annual Expo, and had about sixty entries.  I’ve put a lot of everything (money, creativity, and time) into the Expo, but all the while I’m thinking about the big goal.   Partly due to my goal for the expo I’m allowing a treed park-like area to evolve beyond the garden, Ideal for displaying sculptures, rather than keeping that ground for my crops.  Much smaller choices which I make every day , many of which I am not even aware of, will also be influenced by my goal for the Garden Art Expo. 

People who are into metaphysics call the seemingly magical achievement of things you really want to happen, ‘The Law of Manifestation’.  I have a more pragmatic explanation.  If you really want something to happen, you will continually make choices which make it more likely that what you want to happen, will happen.  Mumbo or MBO is a way of turbocharging this process.

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