Setting Goals – Is It Just A Load Of Pollocks?

Jackson Pollock was an American abstract expressionist painter. He came up in a documentary I watched, and what stood out for me was a great lesson when it comes to setting goals, and then achieving them. Read on to see if you agree…

If you’ve never heard of Jackson Pollock, then don’t worry, I hadn’t either. The name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t have told you the first thing about him.

That changed when I watched a documentary on TV. One latest trend on TV that I like is getting science professors to show how the laws of science relate to everyday life. We may not know or care that these laws are in play all around us, but I love to be shown these things.

So, let’s have a mighty quick history of Jackson Pollock, and how it relates to setting goals…

Born in 1912, Pollock went to arts high schools and college. He had battles with alcohol for most of his life, and he died in an alcohol related car crash aged 44. His paintings are the kind that really divide opinion when people see them.

Some people view them as rubbish, nonsensical splurges of paint, that anyone could do, with little structure or technique. Others describe his works as ‘events’ rather than paintings, that they are an expression of personality, which makes them as valid artistically as any fine brush stroke landscape.

I’m not an art critic, and it’s not the point of this article. The point of the article, and the one made in the documentary, is about the way he painted.

He would normally paint under the influence of substance, usually alcohol. Drunk, in other words. He would stagger around over a canvas with brushes and pots of paint, throwing the stuff around over and over, creating multiple layers. That created a peculiar effect on the end painting, and *this* is where the goal lesson comes in…

When you look at a Pollock, unless you can see the edge of the canvass, the layers of paint look the same whether you are right up close, or far away. You can’t tell how close you are, because the multiple layers of paint do not give you the perspective. It could be a big painting or a tiny one, they both look the same!

Scientifically this is down to fractals. You can see it in the natural world, when looking at trees, or mountain ranges, or rocks – viewed on a big scale or a small scale they look the same.

When it comes to setting goals, this can be applied to change the way you think. Some people are afraid to set big goals, convincing themselves that the task is too big. Consequently they settle for smaller goals, or none at all, and do not make the most of their potential.

In fact, when it comes to goal achievement theory, the principles are *exactly* the same whether the goal is small or huge. We set and achieve goals everyday, but because we don’t go through the process consciously, we don’t appreciate we are doing it. However, that same theory we subconsciously use on a daily basis, is the same theory we would use to achieve running a marathon, or climbing Everest!

Can you see what I’m getting at? Once we understand that big goals are achieved by following the same theory as for achieving small goals, we can overhaul our expectations, free up our ambition, and produce amazing results!

Your goal may or may not be to become a famous painter – I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. What does matter is how you view the goals in your mind, and I reckon we can take some inspiration from the looking at the fractal characteristics of Jackson Pollock.

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