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How to Set Concrete Goals and Work For Them

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This article is written largely as an explanation of how to use the strategy explained in Napoleon Hill’s book ‘Think and Grow Rich’. I did not design this method myself, though it has worked in the past for far smaller goals for myself when I had far less belief – and far larger goals for countless thousands of other readers.

I hope you take this article as it was intended as an explaination of how I personally structure goals based upon the teachings in this and many other books. This is not immensely detailed, but it’s also on a crappy blog where you’re one of 5 readers, so who cares.

I know.

I am not rich, pretty, bold, brilliant – or massively successful for that matter.

But who cares.

You came here to improve your life – not mine. And, though I may not be perfect, I am well-read and very willing to spout my moral advice to anyone willing to read. Hopefully, you will make it to the end.

Now… I know that ‘do what you hate’ is not common advice, though it is entirely prudent when it comes to self-development and advancement of the self. Do you think anything in this world was created by people who liked to stay comfortable? I don’t doubt that out of the 5 people reading this post, 3 of you probably have iPhones; in the words of Steve Jobs himself “everything around you was created by people no more intelligent than yourself”. He also said – a quote which I particularly appreciate – that “those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world quite often do”. But, do you think those crazy world-changers enjoyed every minute of it? That none of it was tough and grueling?

I do plan to get away from rhetorical questions at some point, but do you really think I do?

It is all well and good to think about waking up at 5am to start your new morning routine consisting of a cold shower, run, fresh coffee, a balanced breakfast made with grapefruit (for some reason – the stuff is disgusting) and reading the morning paper while you catch up on the stock markets… in French.

It is all good and well to think about it, but doing it is hard. It is not fun. It is not a mystical delight willing to throw money and happiness at your feet for you to walk over at your disposal, because clearly you already have enough.

Personal growth is hard. There are plenty of growing pains and stroppy melodramas as your teenage-minded self (admitted or not) constantly fights change with constant inner resistance.

This is normal.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” they say… But unfortunately I don’t have slaves, so we’re going to need to do the work ourselves and endure the back-breaking load of trying to decide and manifest our own happiness.

Deciding Happiness

In Paul Dolans’ book ‘Happiness by Design’, he brings brilliant attention to the fact that the human species is not designed, nor adequately equipped, to live happy successful lives by default. We must do our own investigative research to determine what makes us happy.

This is rather ambiguous as most of us don’t really have a clue until we have tried it, but how the heaping-heck are you supposed to try it by reading a blog post and thinking about doritos. We all say ‘I just want to be happy’, but what does this mean to you?

I won’t list every example, but I can say to me that happiness would mean a lack of restriction. A complete freedom to do what I want, when I want, how I want. I also love to help people, and I also love to work. Most of all, I love to learn. This is my favorite thing out of all the things, so it’s important that it is included. Apart from a loving relationship and possibly a dog, I don’t really know what else I could add to my life in this utopian world that would make me any happier, so it is a good enough framework to work on for now.

Be Specific.

Okay, okay… Maybe my example won’t do for now. All I have done is list some things that I would abstractly like, but have not put any description into any detail of any part of them!

Napolean Hill in his best-selling and immeasurably influential book – “Think and Grow Rich” – specifies that decision is one of, if not the, most important task you can complete in order to obtain the riches you are waiting to receive – financial riches or otherwise. This is echoed not only in other books regarding the law of attraction (i.e. The Secret), but in almost any book on wealth, success and happiness that you can find.

Let’s put this into practice with another example: I wish to have complete freedom to do what I want. What do I want?

  • I want to own a motorbike so I can skip traffic in cities and enjoy my weekends.
  • I want a nice, practical car with the capacity for off-road function.
  • I want to own a house with land
  • I want to have a pilots license.
  • I want to have a rewarding and ever-developing job and business that is free to endless expansion and depth.
  • I want to help people change their life through nutrition, diet and positive change.

There is a starting point. There is a specific agenda to follow.. but not specific enough. Let’s now go through and break it up a little more:

  • I want a Triumph Bonneville motorbike with chrome wheels, a black tank and a brown leather seat, with ribbed chrome Triumph badges and possibly extra chrome. £11,250.50
  • I need to sit my motorbike theory and practical tests before buying this. £125
  • I want a Mitsubishi Shogun SG5. £35,0000.00
  • I want a house with at least 5 bedrooms, a large shaker-style kitchen, a home library and at least an acre of land.  £1,200,000.00
  • I want to sit my pilot’s license lessons and exams. £5250
  • I want to open a series of fitness studios – at least one in every UK city (69) –  only employing the most qualified personal trainers and nutritionists, and ensuring all staff have extensive training and reading in CBT therapy, habits and productivity, and behavior and sports psychology. This may be scaled up or down in price point and location, and I do not have to be present all the time. For this to start I need a first class degree and lots of experience… And a lot of start-up capital. £28,000 should be enough to secure a loan. £28,000

And now we have more specific goals, it is much easier to get a grasp of how much is needed. In this case, a total of £1,279,625.50.

Not too bad.

By When?

Ah… The bit that nobody was waiting for.

When is your deadline?

When do you plan on having all of these riches? All of this success?

Nothing happens overnight, but, equally, nothing also happens by waiting indefinitely for something to turn up and shake your hand with a smile with an envelope full of your dreams. Success is not a waiting game, it is a matter of deadlines and timing.

Let’s again take the example from earlier, a grand total of £1,279,625.50. This may seem insurmountable, but it all only really starts with £28,000. If I could raise £28,000, I could leverage the loan to gain the rest of the money waiting for me to collect it through my actions. I also said I need a first class degree. I finish my degree around May time, 2019. I will then also be free to work full-time without the worry of having to down-scale my business and clients ready for the coming semester – I will have complete freedom for expansion. May as well have £28,000 to start off with by this time.

Write It Down.

This is the culmination of all of the planning we have done thus far – we have thought with great clarity about what makes us happy, we have made a specific list of what we would need to obtain this, and we have set a date for its acquisition.

By the 1st of June 2019 I will have in my possession a First Class degree in Nutrition and Marketing and £28,000 in my bank account. 

Now, remember, nothing is free:

In exchange for these things I am willing to work a minimum of 110 hours per week on the betterment of my knowledge of nutrition, behavioral psychology, communication, and business, and I will also conduct a series of school and community-based engagement programmes to teach children how to eat healthily and be active.

Now we need to make it real through visualisation. Think of the house. Think of the car. Think of the bike. Think of whatever it is you so desire and are going to obtain, and say it aloud.

I see my degree on the wall of my home office and library. I see the kitchen and it’s homely charm. I see myself passing my final motorbike test. I see my bike and myself riding it. I see my car and the design of its interior. I see myself passing my pilot’s license examination. I see the design of my gyms and the people within. 

I see the change that I want to be in this world. 

And now, finally bringing attention to the seemingly unrelated start to this article, you must put in the work. No one can write up your extra reading and put the information in your head. No one else can call everyone in the northeast to find those who desperately want and need a personal trainer in order to change their life. No one can run for you or force feed you what you should be eating.

Personal growth is hard, and no one can do it for you. You must always be BIG.

Books

Individuals

Goals

If you have these 3 key ingredients and nothing else, you will never fail to be successful. It’s almost mathematically impossible. Read, read, read and read some more – read everything you can on everything appropriate to you and your goals. Warren Buffet – one of the richest men alive – says he reads for 5-6 hours per day, reading around 5 newspapers! Never let your thirst for knowledge run dry, and never think you have finished learning.

Also, remember that ‘all of the problems in the world can be solved by all of the books in the world’, but that doesn’t expect you to read all of them! Other individuals will have read as many (often more) books than you, and can extract the most valuable information at whim in order to help you with your goals… you need only to meet and talk to them. Speaking as a man with Asperger’s syndrome (a form of Autism characterised by social malfunctioning issues) I understand that this is easier for some than others, though it is not an excuse.

We cannot control our genotype and ingrained characteristics, but as stated by Steven Peters in ‘The Chimp Paradox’, it is our responsibility to manage it. We cannot grow if we do not do what is hard. We cannot thrive on a rock. We cannot be an island. Interpersonal relationships are without a doubt the absolute key to the success of most. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

I will finish that point with an example I love:

Henry Ford was once described by a literary magazine as being ‘ignorant’. He proceeded to take them to court for libel, and in an effort of the magazine’s defence, he was barraged with a series of common-knowledge questions which, as a man of very little traditional education, he could not answer.

Through one series of such questions, Mr. Ford interrupted the quiz-master and said, quite simply, ‘”why would I fill my head with such pointless knowledge, when at any time I can press a button on my desk and have an expert in that field in my office within minutes?”

He won the case. 

As we have already been through goal-setting, I will leave this post by pointing to my LinkedIn profile (www.linkedin.com/in/charlie-cooke) as no doubt I can answer a few questions from you, and you can probably answer more from me.

“Here lies Andrew Carnegie; a man who knew to surround himself with men smarter than himself”

Oh, and one final point:

Repeat It Daily. 

Read your statement twice a day. Visualise whenever you can. Read every day. Develop every day. Achieve every day.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

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