The Only Article You'll Ever Need to Read on Goal Setting - Speaker | Mentor | Pádraic O'Maille | The Disciplines of Successs | Ireland

It would never have seen the light of day had it not been for the invention of the audio cassette recorder.

Earl Nightingale had a simple process that he used to motivate his sales team to achieve great results. Once a week, he assembled his entire team together, and gave what nowadays might be described as a ‘motivational speech.’

On a particular week when Earl was out of town, one of his team presented him with a tape recorder and asked Earl to record his weekly address on the new machine. He did, and it went on to sell over a million copies, making it the first spoken-word recording to achieve Gold Record status.

It was called ‘The Strangest Secret’, and should be prescribed reading for students of life everywhere. Narrated in a wonderfully golden voice, it sets out clearly the ‘Why,’ What’ and ‘How’ of goal setting.

Tony Robbins once said that ’20 percent of any change is knowing how; but 80 percent is knowing why.’ Nightingale sets out the why of goal setting in the very first paragraph.

‘Do you know what will happen to 100 individuals who start even at the age of 25, and who believe they will be successful? By the time they’re 65, only one will be rich, four will be financially independent, five will still be working, and 54 will be broke — depending on others for life’s necessities.’

‘The difference is goals. People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going. It’s that simple. Failures, on the other hand, believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances … by things that happen to them … by exterior forces.’

So what is goal setting?

Goal setting is ‘The Strangest Secret.’ It’s the fact that ‘We become what we think about.’ Goal setting is ‘the progressive realisation of worthy ideals.’

Every great philosopher since God was a lad espoused the power of goal setting. When we have ‘worthy ideals’ therefore, we’re happy, fulfilled and on fire. When we lack ‘worthy ideals’ our lives are desolate, impotent and boring.

The question is however, how do you go about setting goals.

I love the example of Dennis Kelly, Regional Manager for Acorn Life in North Cork. Many years ago, Denis had been having a torrid time of it from a sales perspective. In desperation one September, he shared his challenges with his boss who in turn gave him a cassette of ‘The Strangest Secret’ to listen to.

Denis didn’t listen to the tape once. He listened to it every day for the next three months. In addition, he did exactly what Earl Nightingale suggested in the talk. On a 5×7 index card he wrote down precisely what he wanted to achieve, and by what date. He carried two copies of it with him – one in his suit pocket and the other in the visor of his car where he would be reminded of it daily.

On December 15th of that year Denis qualified for MDRT – Million Dollar Round Table – which recognises the top 1% of performers globally in the Life Assurance business. Once again this year Denis has qualified for MDRT. How? By using the same simple process.

‘The Strangest Secret’ is deceptively simple. Many are deluded by its apparent simplicity and fail to take goal setting seriously.

That’s why we created Smácht Mór. It’s designed to remind you over and over again of the importance of working towards worthy ideals. In addition, it will turbocharge you with the motivation and encouragement to go after really audacious goals because you will meet seven ordinary people who are really making extraordinary things happen. You will also meet over two hundred other people who believe in and are practicing the power of goal setting. There’s a special power in a live group. It electrifies.

And yes, you can read about and listen to goal setting explained in ‘The Strangest Secret’ but there’s no substitute for a live show. If you really want to make 2015 you’re best hear yet make the decision to get to Smácht Mór.

I’ll leave the final word with Earl Nightingale.

‘The moment you decide on a goal to work toward, you’re immediately a successful person — you are then in that rare group of people who know where they’re going. Out of every hundred people, you belong to the top five. Don’t concern yourself too much with how you are going to achieve your goal — leave that completely to a power greater than yourself. All you have to do is know where you’re going. The answers will come to you of their own accord, and at the right time.’

Pádraic Ó Máille is the creator of Smácht, a programme that helps busy people free up time for themselves by working more effectively. Author of ‘The Midas Power’ and ‘Rocking Horse Shit’ Pádraic delivers practical messages in a meaningful and memorable way. Each year he calls the Smácht Tribe together to listen to powerful speakers present powerful messages. For more information please go to or email him on