1937 or 2018 or 2088 - Success is Dreams and Goals

In 1937 Napoleon Hill wrote that definiteness of purpose is the key to success. He gave a six-step formula for success. The first step was desire that is deciding exactly what you want and then providing the service to achieve that. In 2018 even, most books still talk about the same because it is true that success is going after what you want. I believe in 2088 as well anyone can define success the same way because it is going after what you want which is the key to a happy life.
In his wonderful book Shoe Dog Phil Knight says the following “I wanted to leave a mark on the world, I simply didn’t want to lose.” The more important thing he said was "Seek a calling. Even if you don’t know what that means, seek it. If you’re following your calling, the fatigue will be easier to bear, the disappointments will be few, the highs will be like nothing you’ve ever felt." I think that defines success more than anything else.
You don’t need to win to feel confident. You need to be confident to win. In other words, track records alone cannot determine success. You need to have confidence to reach the heights you have dreamed. Resolutions really don’t inspire most of the time. We will say let’s lose ten pounds. I don’t think that is exciting. However, imagine that you want to be full of energy every day and feeling fully alive. Then you go to exercise to achieve this mindset that’s a totally different ball game. To read more about confidence check out this article 15 Ways to be more Self-Confident.
We are in an age of dramatic standard deviation. There is too much happening to be making too many long-term plans. This is the age where flexibility is more in demand than conformity. While we can have dreams or goals we should be ready to change direction whenever the situation demands it. As Peter Drucker said "Abandon everything."
I believe goals and dreams are far more important and useful compared to resolutions. That’s why you need a big dream which is then broken down into goals. If we do these steps then resolutions won’t be needed. This will also keep us excited for the long run and not just for the new year. One of the keys to find your calling or purpose is to ask the 5 why question. Why do you go to work? Why do you want to earn money? Why do you want to support your family? Why are you doing whatever you are doing? For each answer you can ask a subsequent why to find the true answers.
Another thing is just because it is the new year it doesn't mean you have to set resolutions. If you are happy with you life and things going well just continue. There is no need to succumb to peer pressure or gurus trying to get you to set resolutions that you don't even need or want. I have always believed this that is you change only if you want to not because you have to based on the society definition.
The first step to understand about success is that it is not a destination but a wonderful journey that never ends. The best definition of success I have come across is by Earl Nightingale "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal/goal." It is the process that’s exciting. Most of the times once we reach goals like getting the promotion or losing the weight we can’t keep up momentum but it is the process that keeps us energized. Once we achieve our goals we feel good for that moment but to keep that feeling ongoing we need to keep setting new goals. The important thing to remember is that goal setting is a lifelong activity and it does energize our lives. People talk a lot about dreams but there must be a distinction between outrageous dreams and dreams that ignite. I can have a dream to be the greatest tennis player that ever lived but that dream is surely not going to be realized and it is very much outrageous. I think when we speak about dreams the first step we should clarify is whether it is aligned with our abilities and has a timeline associated with it. Running a marathon could be a worthwhile dream for me and something within my capability though it would require tons of training and will be a BIG stretch for me. However, I will only do it if I want to not because I have to.
Jim Collins coined the term BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) in his blockbuster book “Built to Last” 20 years back and he said a lot of the visionary companies set BHAG’s that energized the organization. I think goals for personal life can do the same for us energizing our lives and increase passion. The starting point of the success journey is to craft a personal mission statement and back that up with a powerful vision supported by purposeful action. The best example of a BHAG is “this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” by John F Kennedy. He made that statement on May 25th, 1961 and it was still a valid BHAG even after his untimely death. It is over 50 years old but the beauty lies in its simplicity and clarity. BHAG’s cannot be vague. This just goes to show the power of a BHAG. It doesn’t matter what the BHAG is but that you have a BHAG. There is also a lot of merit in having a personal mission statement. My personal mission statement is to maximize my potential and help others maximize theirs. The action I take towards this mission is to read continuously on leadership, management, business and then share insights on what I have learned through blogs. This gets me excited to read books that are tough and that I may not read normally. Another thing that is important to set is have a core set of values that you can live by. Values could be dedication, integrity, honesty, passion and dazzling. Again, writing down a personal mission statement and clarifying our values will surely add purpose to our lives.
It is important to remember that goals are not resolutions. Once a new year starts a lot of us start setting resolutions like I am going to stop eating sugar, I am going to lose weight, etc. Personally, I have found that having goals with a burning desire is more effective than resolutions. If you have a goal to exercise 60 min 5 days a week and you follow through with that along with a good diet the weight takes care of itself over the long haul. Research has proven that most people break their resolutions within a month of setting it. This is because we keep mentioning the things we won’t do rather than the benefits it would provide. A better resolution could be “I want to be super fit so that I can be at my best all day long and feel energized throughout ultimately leading to a longer life full of energy, contribution and happiness.” As you can see this is a much more energizing message and probably can help us be on track more than resolutions. For any goal or dream it is only daily action performed consistently over a sustained period that will produce desirable results. We must be in it for the long haul.
Finally, goals must be in writing. As it is mentioned often "Goals not written down are merely wishes. A wish is a goal without any energy." As Harvey Mackay says, "A goal is a dream with a deadline." Setting short term goals in bursts of 90 days really sets our life on track. Backing that up with long term goals like 5 years from now and 10 years from now will set us on the path towards the journey of success with the purpose and vision required to keep us spirited throughout. I have read that all top achievers write their goals down, read/review their goals on a daily/weekly basis so that it is always in the front and center of their lives. There are two theories on sharing goals. One says that keep your goals confidential and another says sharing them will put the necessary pressure to complete them. I think financial goals, personal goals related to family should be confidential but if you have goals like “I want to exercise 5 times a week” it may be best to make that public in which case it puts more onus on you to follow through. The example of Thomas Edison is often sighted where he would call a press conference to talk about his invention/innovative breakthrough long before it was ready and then go to work to make that a reality. This puts pressure on him to deliver and he did deliver BIG TIME indeed.
We can feel satisfied once we reach our goals but the only way we can truly stay happy/excited is to keep setting more goals that stretch us and the process of setting goals and proceeding on the journey of success provides the real meaning to life. Finally, we will encounter problems along the way on our journey. The way to overcome that is to go back to our mission, vision and values. Another trick I came across recently is to ask the 10/10/10 question. Will this matter 10 minutes from now, Will this matter 10 months from now, Will this matter 10 years from now? This really clarifies what is truly important to us. Think BIG, burn your boats, Set BHAG’S, take action and go forward confidently in the direction of your dreams. I wish you a fun filled, happy, exciting goal oriented success journey that never ends.
This quote from Henry David Thoreau addresses this whole thing brilliantly "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.


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