Similar people, different results

by PJ McClure on March 11, 2013

FTS quote 50 ”Why do similar people get such different results?”

This question perplexed me for years. At first, the answer seemed obvious. Because people are different…duh! But as I gained deeper understanding about behavior and mindset, I started to see that the issue is much more complex.

First, like most of the self-improvement literature out there, the question focuses in the wrong place. The results. If we want to know why things turn out differently, we need to look back to the beginning. The mindset going in to an endeavor or event.

All of the gurus focus on what people do after getting started. I’ve discovered that the real issue is where people start from.

When you study people from all walks of life, you realize that we are all completely different and still very much alike. Experiences and perceptions are the only things that we put a unique stamp on.

It’s because of this phenomena that two people of identical background, education, and current circumstance can have totally different reactions to the same input.

I watched dozens of people that were very similar to me in all categories, go through the same training and end up in different places.

We would set the same goals for seemingly the same reasons, work them with equal effort, and never arrive at the same result. How is that possible?

I relate the difference to a Biblical building lesson. If you give two people the exact same materials with which to build a house, except that one builds on a rock and the other builds on sand…

 one will stand and the other will fall.

Until we get solid and secure in our starting position, our efforts will always vary and we’ll never know why.

When a room full of people set nearly identical goals because it seems like the right thing to do, they are all doomed to failure. A goal is only a bi-product of a properly constructed mindset, not the starting point. When setting a goal, do we usually ask ourselves,

“Why do I want this goal?”

“Do I really believe I can accomplish the goal?”

“What will life look like when the goal is achieved?”

“Are there any issues from my past that could obstruct my path?”

Chances are, no. None of those questions get asked or answered and all of them are crucial to the process and result. Part of the complexity is any of the issues those questions address can derail someone’s pursuit. There is not one, isolated answer as to why people end up with different experiences. That’s why knowing and using all of the Elements of Personal Choice is so important.

Instead of getting caught up in a goal-setting hysteria, as was common in one of my old companies, set goals based on your purposeful vision. Understanding this point is so important to having success and happiness.

We must begin with what we want our lives and businesses to look like and why we want them to look that way. Good goals are the child of those two, not the other way around. When your goals come from knowing what and why, their accomplishment is natural and fluid.

Let’s take our attention from the fascination of why the same goal brings varied results for similar people. Instead, put your focus toward finding the right goals for you as an individual.

Be your best,



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