Written by 3:59 am Growth Mindset • One Comment

The Power of the Double “S”


With approximately 14 years of experience in teaching, I feel so grateful for what I have truly experienced in my career life. Not only can I earn a living, but also I can meet up with different people of different ages, different generations, and different jobs. What I can learn at my job is to give and receive. I have heard a host of stories about struggling with learning and feeling lost in learning as well. How come? The answer is simply about 2 things called “Short term Goals” and “Self-Labeling”. 

Part 1| S1 = Short-Term Goals


Normally, people usually have further discussions or consult the ones around them to help define their long-term goals. In their mind, long-term goals are considered  ” a very important thing” to head for and they are worth doing a hundred times.

However, how many of them can make the achievements they expected with a clear long-term goal? We can tell that the percentage of goals achieved is not as high as planned.  Why is it? 

Firstly, I agree that long-term goals are something people should foresee and head for. Anyway, the problem is not due to the long-term goals; it is about the short-term goals. They are actually seen as “stations” which  step by step lead them to their final destinations. People usually fail because they set the wrong “stations” on the way. As a result, running out of energy, feeling exhausted and hopeless, and then giving up on themselves and their goals are the inevitable consequences. 

Also, there is one thing people do not notice much. It is called “Right-Now Motivation”. People usually misunderstand that Motivation comes from Long-Term Goals, but actually, they are the product of Short-Term Goals.  

Let’s say you want to acquire a language. At that time, being able to use that language to communicate both in oral and written form is your long-term goal.  Of course, it partially cheers you up and gives you a signal that you need to try more and more every single day. However, it is not enough for you to make what you want come true!

Why do I say so? 

Let’s take a look at the illustration below:

As you can see, Long-term goals are placed at the end of the journey. They are very far from where you are at the moment, therefore they cannot directly give you strengths or empower you as you expected. The only thing you can do with your long-term goals is to use them as orientation for your life, no more and no less.

On the contrary, what can you find near you in the illustration? …. Yes, that’s right! The short-term goals are well located along the path. Each of them will bring you “right-now motivation” to keep moving forward and get closer to your final goals day by day. 

“Obviously, setting the right short-term goals can lead you to the right stations. If not, you definitely get lost!”

Part 2 | S2 = Self-Labeling


“After finding out Your “Do”, it’s time to carefully spot Your “Don’t”. Along with Getting your “Right-Now Motivation”, you are supposed to keep yourself away from all potential habits of discouraging yourself.”

There is no doubt that people will encounter hardship on the way to their goals ! The commonly seen reaction is that they get confused and start doubting their abilities. Probably, there will be dozens of excuses and accusations of competencies happening then. How come? 

What is “Self-labeling”?  Self-labeling is the process by which someone attaches a label or a tag to themselves to describe the person they think they are. The common labels you can easily find in daily life could be “I’m not good enough”, “I cannot do it”, and “I’m such a loser” … and so on.

According to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), those negative words have a very strong power to STOP people from trying hard, START their blaming, and BEAT DOWN their motivation.

How can people help themselves stop self-labeling?

As far as I observed, most of the cases have been struggling with their learning and dealing with their self-labeling at the same time because they already set the wrong stations on the way to their final ones. Maybe, some of their short-term goals were (1) set in the wrong stage of development or (2) a bit too much for their current versions.

In this case, please take a break for a while and follow the 2 instructions below:

  • Number #1: Review the whole journey and rearrange the “stations” in the logical order based on specific stages of development of cognition and perception.
  • Number #2: Adjust the goals up or down to suit the current versions of yours.

Keep in mind that it is not easy at the beginning. But everything will be paid off at the end of the journey. And You can do it!


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