Wisdom is having the means to make a fool of yourself and not doing it.
No one would argue with the fact that we’re living in a time of information explosion. Everywhere you look, new information is being created or discovered — in science, medicine, business, communications, transportation, manufacturing, and every other field you can mention.
And with this information explosion, there comes the POTENTIAL for greatness … the POTENTIAL for success … because somewhere, in the midst of all that information, are all the tools you need to achieve every one of your dreams.
So yes, I believe in the value of information. That’s why I’ve spent my whole life gathering and sharing information through my teaching and speaking. And as Derek Bok says, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
BUT .. BUT … BUT … even though information is important, wisdom is critical. Wisdom sorts through all the information to find out what’s most important and how it can be applied most effectively.
And wonderfully enough, you can get wisdom the easy way … by listening to the sage advice of those who have learned the hard way. That’s what the “Tuesday Tip” is all about … sharing wisdom.
Well, last week I shared two pieces of wisdom with you. I talked about two proven steps you have to take if you’re going to be wildly successful at any endeavor. First, focus on the exact goal you want to achieve. And second, determine your give back.
Those two steps were originally outlined in Napoleon Hill’s classic book, “Think and Grow Rich,” and study after study has verified the truth and wisdom of those steps. Let’s go through the rest of the steps now.
=> 3. Establish a deadline.
Hill says you need to establish a date. Decide the exact date you intend to have the money you desire, the relationship you want, or the career goal you hope to achieve.
Tasks without deadlines never get done. Just take a look at the stack of stuff on the corner of your desk that’s been sitting there for weeks and weeks or months and months. Most likely, you don’t have a deadline to go through all that stuff and get it done, so it won’t get done for a long, long time.
Likewise, goals without deadlines are no more than fanciful wishes. But specific dates create a sense of commitment and urgency. That’s why you tell your coworker you “want the XYZ report at 2:00 p.m. on Friday” rather than saying, “I’d like it later this week.” Due dates mean you mean business.
Get rid of all the fuzziness in your deadline … just like you get rid of all the fuzziness in your communication. In fact, that’s what one appliance salesperson should have done. As my wife and I walked by, the salesperson asked, “Washer? Dryer?” I said, “No, I’ll just hose her off when I get home.”
=> 4. Create a plan.
Hill said, “Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.”
Other ancient sages have said C + B = A … or Conceive + Believe = Achieve. In other words, if you can Conceive what you want and how you might get it, if you can Believe it is possible to get it, chances are you will Achieve it. So put a plan in your mind.
And note this; Hill does not say you should put your plan off until you’re ready to achieve it. No! Create your plan NOW. As Edward Everett Hale, a 19th century clergyman and author noted, “I cannot do everything; but I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
=> 5. Write it all out.
In my “Journey To The Extraordinary” experience, I tell the participants the top 3% of winners write out their goals and write out their plans to achieve those goals. The act of writing is magical. It propels you beyond wishful thinking to … almost … automatic action.
Actually Hill says, “WRITE out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, have the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.”
While Hill is referring to the achievement of a financial goal, the same writing process can and needs to be applied to any goal you want to achieve. WRITE it all out — in one or two sentences.
And yeah, I can hear some of you whining. You’re not the writing type. Or you don’t have the time to write out your goals. Well maybe, just maybe, that’s why you haven’t achieved all you are capable of achieving. As Sir Francis Bacon advised, “If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must employ methods never before attempted.”
If you’re a manager who wants to ensure an employee’s follow through, you might ask him to write down your instructions. If you’re giving directions over the phone, you might ask the other person to read back what she has written. You wouldn’t let the other person off the hook without making sure they got the message, so why would you let yourself off the hook by not writing out your plan?
=> 6. Use your written goal statement as an affirmation.
You see … tomorrow’s harvest is planted today. So if you plant the right thoughts in your mind … with repetition, repetition, repetition … you dramatically increase the chances of getting what you want.
Hill put it this way. “Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ, SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY” … or any other goal you want to achieve.
Basically, this step calls for concentration. As Orison Swett Marden notes, “Concentration is the master key to all success. It is the fundamental law of achievement. The man who does not concentrate will be either a half success, a mediocrity or a complete failure.”
I can testify to the power of affirmations … so much so that I carry them around with me all the time. And graduates from “The Journey to the Extraordinary” experience are frequently amazed at the power of affirmations and the success they bring. Bob Wernimont from the Sygenta Company said, “For many years I’ve heard that you need to write down your goals and say affirmations, but I didn’t know how to do it. So I never did it … until I came to the ‘Journey.’ Using the practices you taught us, my confidence, listening, conversing, motivation, energy, enthusiasm have all improved dramatically. The practices remind me of my goals and push me toward the accomplishment of those goals. I plan to continue.”
Of course, it takes me about 3 hours to teach the “Journey” attendees how to do goal setting and affirmations, but once they’ve learned the exact process, they’ve got a tool they can use for life.
So there you have it. If you want to get more out of life, if you want to ensure the achievement of your goals, follow this six-step process. It summarizes some of the best wisdom of the ages.
Action: Turn one of your goals into a written affirmation and begin to say it twice a day … and keep on saying it until your goal becomes a reality.