Expert Profile Menu
Apply for your Expert Profile Page
Expert Articles
Advertise with us

useNature Magazine - the Weekly Column - Tips - Info's - Stories

< Previous Article

The main purpose of a goal is not to try to achieve it.

Next Article >

Article by Robert McInnes

Cognitive Principle Theory in relation to Goals


Summary: The main purpose of setting a goal is not to aim at achieving it, but rather to use it as a framework in which to grow your principles. The paradox is, that in growing your principles, you will achieve your goal faster and easier and create significantly less stress and anxiety in doing so.


This article uses “transcendence”as an example of a goal and is taken from Maslow’s “Hierachy of Needs” [adapted version]


The main goal in cognitive principle theory is to align the conscious and sub-conscious minds. This occurs when there is no conflict between the two, that is, all the thoughts and feelings that are received from the sub-conscious mind are acceptable to the conscious mind.


In cognitive principle theory the two highest principles are Humility and Giving which are the direct opposites of comparative thinking, which is the basis of setting goals. That is, I compare where I am, to where I want to be. Comparative thinking is driven by fear [avoiding a bad goal] or greed [wanting a good goal].  Humility is self acceptance, both of strengths and weaknesses [there is no goal]. Unconditional giving is the opposite of wanting. When you give unconditionally you do not want anything back.


 In comparative thinking a goal is seen as a target to be achieved. Short term goals are set in order to not be overwhelmed by a target which is complex or too far into the future. In cognitive principle theory a goal is not limited to being a target, but a point to which a pathway can be established. By growing principles as you travel along the pathway to your goal, you will achieve the goal as a by-product of the journey. By experiencing life and applying wisdom, then you will achieve your goal and enjoy life along the way.


The goal of alignment is achieved when the conscious mind controls the sub-conscious mind. If there is no disagreement between the two, then conscious mind is said to be in control. When the subconscious mind is triggered and a bad habit is activated, the conscious mind immediately switches from comparative thinking to principle thinking.


Understanding control is a key to goal achievement. In cognitive principle theory there are three levels of control.

(i)                  Lack of conscious control, due to dominant outside influences or control by the subconscious mind. [bad habit]

(ii)                Control using the conscious mind due to positive comparative thinking, which is based on logic and making sound decisions and striving for goals. This is the default method, solving most day to day problems. However, logical control will struggle dealing with both level (i) issues and higher needs such as  transcendence.

(iii)               Voluntarily giving up logical control to allow the growth of principles, including humility and giving, which result in minimal stress and anxiety. In this state your conscious mind takes over control of the sub-conscious mind using principles and not logic. Numerous studies show that the subconscious mind has no logic, it is a patterning system.


The following are examples of switching from comparative thinking to principle thinking. They are applied after having achieved the physiological needs [food, clothing, shelter, etc] and safety/security needs, which have priority, as they are more like instincts than goals.


* To have Motivation, use: hope

* To achieve Influence in life, use: assertiveness, calmness, courage, patience, persistence, and self-control.

* To develop Relationships, use: trust, respect, acceptance, love/loyalty, empathy, faithfulness and gratitude.

* To improve Communication use: dialog [not arguments or discussion]

* To overcome Fear and Resentment use: forgiveness and suffering [grow principles]

* To achieve Self-fulfilment, use: love, peace and joy.

* To achieve Transcendence [real control] use: humility, giving, wisdom and suffering.


Wisdom is the ability to travel along the pathway and know when to switch from comparative thinking to principle thinking. The following are examples of using wisdom:

(i)                  When there is excessive stress and anxiety in trying to achieve a goal, then switch to calm and acceptance.

(ii)                When there is suffering and you have no control over the outcome, change from comparative thinking [either avoidance, or blame (yourself, others or circumstances)] to the true purpose of suffering, which is to grow your principles.


When you apply wisdom, humility, suffering and giving to a major negative need in your life, and you over come that, then you have achieved a high level of transcendence.


In cognitive principle theory, transcendence is achieved by facing life’s sufferings# and overcoming those through applying principles.


# Refer Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning.”



The Stop, Find method [TM] is one tool used to teach you how to grow your principles. Refer to for more information.



9 Apr 2012

Article/Information supplied by Robert McInnes

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.