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Dennis Waitley, in his book The New Dynamics of Goal Setting: Flextactics for a Fast-changing Future, wrote about two kinds of ‘goals’.

He used the metaphor of juggling balls because many people believe that while they go about their work on a busy day they are doing just that – juggling balls. They believe they have to keep many balls in the air at once – which any time management expert will tell you is an illusion but the metaphor suits me for the purpose of Waitley’s viewpoint.

If you accept the metaphor that you are juggling balls, Waitley goes on to suggest that there are two kinds of ‘balls’ that you juggle. The first kind – and you will have to decide which ‘goals’ they represent – are rubber balls. You want to keep them live (in the air and acted upon), but if you drop one for a moment it’ll bounce back, no damage done except on a temporary basis.

The other kind of balls, he writes, are crystal glass. If you drop one of those then they’re gone forever. They are very, very fragile and these balls you MUST keep live.

These crystal balls have names – they are honour, honesty, fidelity, integrity, loyalty, and so on. Once you drop one of these balls it will be nigh on impossible to get them back. You’ll have to work a long time with your spouse to repair or replace dropped fidelity; you’ll have to strive big time to repair dropped integrity with your peers; and you smash an irreparable ball when you betray a friend who needed your loyalty.

Handle your balls with care.

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