Focus on systems everyday, not goals

George Kao
4 min readSep 20, 2019

In business, there is often a fixation on big goals and dramatic results. “Get 1 million followers! … Build a 6-figure business!”

When you constantly focus on future numerical goals, two things happen:

1. Your subconscious keeps telling you — daily — that you aren’t there… that you aren’t yet “enough”.

Desire becomes a contract we make with ourselves to be unhappy until something specific happens. (paraphrase of Naval)

The fixation on a big numeric goal (such as “6 figure income” or “1 million followers”) creates an underlying layer of unhappiness or anxiety with one’s current life.

2. The more you focus on the specifics of the goal, the more you become attached to how it must turn out.

If that goal doesn’t happen in the way you visualized — or in the timeline you expected — it deals a blow to your self-identity. It erodes your sense of empowerment.

Let’s look at a healthier, less stressful way:

Focus on your systems — your processes — rather than your goals. ​

(You might find that it creates better results, too!)

I’m not saying to get rid of goals. I, too, have a vision for my future life and specific milestones I am interested in achieving.

Yet I hold loosely to those future goals, numbers and milestones. I think of them as potentials rather than as a rigid definition of “success.”

I use future milestones to help me design a daily system that will move me toward the goal… that turns possibilities into probabilities.

The farther out the timeline, the less we’re able to accurately predict.

When it comes to whether I will achieve my milestones, I know that there are too many uncontrollable factors in life: unforeseen personal circumstances, technological and market changes, and other big revelations that may require a change in direction.

Therefore let’s be careful not to get fixated on a specific future goal that we made up.

Instead, let’s create a system for action that makes the goal more likely.



George Kao

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"