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Part-5 Goals


How to Get Everything You Want –

Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible

By Brian Tracy


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Remove The Road Blocks


Become An Expert In Your Field

Conclusion: Take Action Today


To Rick Metcalf, a good friend, a great American, an extraordinary entrepreneur,

one of the best salesmen who ever lived, and an inspiration to everyone who knew him.

I only wish you could be here to read this book. You left us all too soon.


This book is for ambitious people who want to get ahead faster. If this is the way you think and feel, you are the person for whom this book is written. The ideas contained in the pages ahead will save you years of hard work in achieving the goals that are most important to you.

I have spoken more than 2000 times before audiences of as many as 23,000 people, in 24 countries. My seminars and talks have varied in length from five minutes to five days. In every case, I have focused on sharing the best ideas I could find on the particular subject with that audience at that moment. After countless talks on various themes, if I was only given five minutes to speak to you, and I could only convey one thought that would help you to be more successful, I would tell you to “write down your goals, make plans to achieve them, and work on your plans every single day.”

This advice, if you followed it, would be of more help to you than anything else you could ever learn. Many university graduates have told me that this simple concept has been more valuable to them than four years of study. This idea has changed my life, and the lives of millions of other people. It will change yours as well.

The Turning Point

A group of successful men got together in Chicago some time ago, talking about the experiences of their lives. All of them were millionaires and multi-millionaires. Like most successful people, they were both humble and grateful for what they had achieved, and for the blessings that life had bestowed upon them. As they discussed the reasons why they had managed to achieve so much in life, the wisest man among them spoke up and said that, in his estimate, “success is goals, and all else is commentary.”

Your time and your life are precious. The biggest waste of time and life is for you to spend years accomplishing something that you could have achieved in only a few months. By following the practical, proven process of goal setting and goal achieving laid out in this book, you will be able to accomplish vastly more in a shorter period of time than you have ever imagined before. The speed at which you move onward and upward will amaze both yourself and all the people around you. By following these simple and easy-to-apply methods and techniques, you can move quickly from rags to riches in the months and years ahead. You can transform your experience from poverty and frustration to affluence and satisfaction. You can go far beyond your friends and family and achieve more in life than most other people you know.

In my talks, seminars and consulting, I have worked with more than two million people all around the world. I have found, over and over, that an average person with clear goals will run circles around a genius who is not sure what he or she really wants.

My personal mission statement has not changed in years. It is: “To help people achieve their goals faster than they ever would in the absence of my help.”

This book contains the distilled essence of all that I have learned in the areas of success, achievement and goal attainment. By following the steps explained in the pages ahead, you will move to the front of the line in life. For my children, this book is meant to be a road map and a guide to help you get from wherever you are to wherever you want to go. For my friends and readers of this book, my reason for writing it is to give you a proven system that you can use to move onto the fast track in your own life.

Welcome! A great new adventure is about to begin.


This is a wonderful time to be alive. There have never been more opportunities for creative and determined people to achieve more of their goals than they can today. Regardless of short-term ups and downs in the economy and in your life, we are entering into an age of peace and prosperity superior to any previous era in human history.

In the year 1900, there were five thousand millionaires in America. By the year 2000, there were more than five million, most of them selfmade, in one generation. Experts predict that there will be another ten to twenty million millionaires created in the next two decades. Your goal should be to become one of them. This book will show you how.

A Slow Start

When I was 18, I left high school without graduating. My first job was as a dishwasher in the back of a small hotel. From there, I moved on to washing cars, and then washing floors with a janitorial service. For the next few years, I drifted and worked at various laboring jobs, earning my living by the sweat of my brow. I worked in sawmills and factories. I worked on farms and ranches. I worked in the tall timber with a chain saw and dug wells when the logging season ended.

I worked as a construction laborer on tall buildings, and as a seaman on a Norwegian Freighter in the North Atlantic. Often I slept in my car, or in cheap rooming houses. When I was 23, I was working as an itinerant farm laborer during the harvest, sleeping on the hay in the barn and eating with the farmer’s family. I was uneducated, unskilled, and at the end of the harvest, unemployed once more.

When I could no longer find a laboring job, I got a job in straight commission sales, cold calling from office-to-office and from door-todoor. I would often work all day long to make a single sale so that I could pay for my rooming house and have a place to sleep that night. This was not a great start at life.

The Day My Life Changed

Then one day, I took out a piece of paper and wrote down an outrageous goal for myself. It was to earn $1,000 per month in doorto-door and office-to-office selling. I folded up the piece of paper, put it away and never found it again.

But 30 days later, my entire life had changed. During that time, I discovered a technique for closing sales that tripled my income from the very first day. Meanwhile, the owner of my company sold out to an entrepreneur who had just moved into town. Exactly thirty days after I had written down my goal, he took me aside and offered me $1,000 per month to head up the sales force and teach the other people what it was that I was doing that enabled me to be selling so much more than anyone else. I accepted his offer and from that day forward, my life was never the same.

Within eighteen months, I had moved from that job to another, and then to another. I went from personal selling to becoming a sales manager with people selling for me. I recruited and built a 95 person sales force. I went literally from worrying about my next meal to walking around with a pocket full of $20 dollar bills.

I began teaching my salespeople how to write out their goals, and how to sell more effectively. In almost no time at all, they doubled and tripled and increased their incomes as much as ten times. Many of them are today millionaires and multi-millionaires.

It’s important to note that, since those days in my mid-20s, my life has not been a smooth series of upward steps. It has included many ups and downs, marked by occasional successes and temporary failures. I have traveled, lived and worked in more than 80 countries, learning French, German and Spanish along the way, and working in 22 different fields.

As the result of inexperience, and sometimes sheer stupidity, I have spent or lost everything I made and had to start over again - several times. In every case when this happened, I would begin by sitting down with a piece of paper and laying out a new set of goals for myself, using the methods that I’ll explain in the pages ahead.

After several years of hit and miss goal setting and goal achieving, I finally decided to collect everything I had learned into a single system. By assembling these ideas and strategies in one place, I

developed a goal setting methodology and process, with a beginning, middle and end, and began to follow it every day.

Within one year, following this blueprint for goal achieving, my life had changed once more. In January of that year, I was living in a rented apartment with rented furniture. I was $35,000 in debt and driving a used car that wasn’t paid for. By December, I was living in my own $100,000 condominium. I had a new Mercedes, had paid off all my debts and I had $50,000 in the bank.

Then I really got serious about success. I realized that this “goal setting” stuff was incredibly powerful. I invested hundreds and then thousands of hours reading and researching on goal setting and goal achieving, synthesizing the best ideas I could find into a complete goal setting and achieving process that worked with incredible effectiveness.

Anyone Can Do It

In 1981, I began teaching my system in workshops and seminars that have now reached more than two million people in 35 countries. I began audiotaping and video taping my courses so that others could use them. We have now trained hundreds of thousands of people in these principles, in multiple languages, all over the world.

What I found was that these ideas work everywhere, for everyone, in virtually every country, no matter what your education, experience or background may be when you begin.

Most of all, these ideas have made it possible for me, and many thousands of others, to take complete control over our lives. The regular and systematic practice of goal setting has taken us from poverty to prosperity, from frustration to fulfillment, from underachievement to success and satisfaction. This system will do the same for you.

What I learned early on is that any plan is better than no plan at all. And it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. All the answers have already been found. There are hundreds of thousands, and even millions of men and women who have started with nothing and achieved great success following these principles. And what others have done, you can do as well, if you just learn how.

In the pages ahead, you will learn twenty-one of the most important ideas and strategies ever discovered for achieving everything that you could ever want in life. You will find that there are no limits to what you can accomplish except for the limits you place on your own imagination. And since there are no limits to what you can imagine, there are no limits to what you can achieve. This is one of the greatest discoveries of all. Let us begin.

“A journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step. Confucius


Remove the Roadblocks

“The person interested in success has to learn

to view failure as a healthy, inevitable part of

the process getting to the top.”
Joyce Brothers

How many times do you think that people try to achieve their new goals before they give up? The average is less than one time. Most people give up before they even make the first try. And the reason they give up is because of all of the obstacles, difficulties, problems and roadblocks that immediately appear as soon as you decide to do something that you have never done before.

The fact is that successful people fail far more often than unsuccessful people. Successful people try more things, fall down, pick themselves up and try again, over and over again before they win through. Unsuccessful people try a few things, if they try at all, and very soon quit and go back to what they were doing before.

Temporary Failure Always Precedes Success

You should expect to fail and fall short many times before you achieve your goals. You should look upon failure and temporary defeat as a part of the price that you pay on your road to the success that you will inevitably achieve. As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is merely an opportunity to more intelligently begin again.”

Once you have decided upon your goal, ask yourself, “Why am I not there already?” What is holding you back? Why haven’t you achieved that goal up to now?

Identify all the obstacles that stand between you and your goal. Write down every single thing that you can think of that might be blocking you or slowing you down from moving ahead.

Think In Terms of Solutions

Remember, “You become what you think about – most of the time.” In the area of problems and difficulties, successful people have a particular way of thinking that we call “solution-orientation.”

Successful people think about solutions, most of the time. Unsuccessful people think about problems and difficulties most of the time. Solution-oriented people are constantly looking for ways to get over, around and past the obstacles that stand in their ways. Problem oriented people talk continuously about their problems, about who or what caused them, how unhappy or angry they are and how unfortunate it is that they have occurred. Solution oriented people, on the other hand, simply ask the question, “How can we solve this?” and then take action to deal with the problem.

Between you and anything you want to accomplish, there will always be problems or obstacles of some kind. This is why success is sometimes defined as the ability to solve problems. Personal leadership is the ability to solve problems. Effectiveness is the ability to solve problems. All men and women who accomplish anything of importance are people who have developed the ability to solve the problems that stand between them and their goals.

Problem Solving Is A Skill

Fortunately, problem solving is a skill, like riding a bicycle or typing with a typewriter, which you can learn. And the more you focus on solutions, the more and better solutions will come to you. The better you get at solving problems, the faster you will be at solving each subsequent problem. And as you get better and faster at solving problems, you will attract even bigger and more expensive problems to solve. Eventually, you will be solving problems that can have significant financial consequences for you and others. This is the way the world works.

The fact is that you have the ability to solve any problem or to overcome any obstacle on the path to your goal, if you desire the goal intensely enough. You have within you, right now, all the intelligence and ability you will ever need to overcome any obstacle that could possibly hold you back.

The Theory of Constraints

One of the most important breakthroughs in thinking in the last few decades was described by Elihu Goldratt in his book The Goal as “The Theory of Constraints.” This theory says that, between you and anything you want to accomplish, there is a constraint, or limiting factor, that determines how fast you get to where you want to go.

For example, if you are driving down the freeway and there is traffic construction that is narrowing all the cars into a single lane, this bottleneck or chokepoint becomes the constraint that determines how fast you get to your destination. The speed at which you pass through this bottleneck will largely determine the speed of your entire journey.

In accomplishing any major goal, there is always a constraint or bottleneck you must get through as well. Your job is to identify it accurately and then to focus all of your energies on alleviating that key constraint. Your ability to remove this bottleneck, or deal with this limiting factor can help you move ahead faster than perhaps any other step you can take.

Internal Versus External Constraints

The 80/20 Rule applies to the constraints between you and your goals. This rule says that 80% of your constraints will be within yourself. Only 20% of your constraints will be outside of yourself, contained in other people and situations. To put it another way, it is you personally who is usually the major roadblock that is setting the speed at which you achieve any goal that you set for yourself.

For most people this is hard to accept. But superior people are more concerned with what is right rather than who is right. Superior people are more concerned with the truth of the situation, and what they can do to solve the problem, than they are with protecting their egos.

Look Into Yourself

Ask yourself, “What is it in me that is holding me back?” Look deep within yourself and identify the key constraints in your personality, temperament, skills, abilities, habits, education or experience that might be holding you back from achieving the goals that you have set for yourself. Ask the brutal questions. Be completely honest with yourself.

The primary obstacles between you and your goals are usually mental. They are psychological and emotional in character. They are within yourself rather than within the situation around you. And it is with these mental obstacles that you must begin if you want to achieve everything that is possible for you.

Two Major Obstacles to Success

The two major obstacles to success and achievement are fear and doubt. It is first of all, the fears of failure, poverty, loss, embarrassment or rejection that holds the average person back from trying in the first place. This is why the average number of times that a person tries with a new goal is less than one. As soon as he thinks of the goal, these fears overwhelm him and, like a bucket of water on a small fire, extinguishes his desire completely.

The second mental obstacle, closely aligned to fear, is that of selfdoubt. We doubt our own abilities. We compare ourselves unfavorably to others, and think that others are somehow better, smarter and more competent than we are. We think, “I’m not good enough.” We feel inadequate and inferior to the challenges of achieving the great goals that we so much want to accomplish.

Negative Emotions Can Be Unlearned

Fortunately, if there is anything good about doubt and fear it is that they are both learned emotions. Have you ever seen a negative baby? Children come into the world with no doubts or fears at all. And whatever has been learned can be unlearned, through practice and repetition.

The primary antidotes to doubt and fear are courage and confidence. The higher your level of courage and confidence, the lower will be your levels of fear and doubt, and the less effect these negative emotions will have on your performance and behavior.

The Keys To Courage and Confidence

The way that you develop courage and confidence is with knowledge and skill. Most fear and doubt arises out of ignorance and feelings of inadequacy of some kind. The more you learn the things you need to know to achieve your goals, the less fear you will feel on the one hand, and the more courage and confidence you will feel on the other.

Think about learning to drive for the first time. You were probably extremely tense and nervous, and made a lot of mistakes. You may have driven erratically and been a danger to yourself and others. But over time, as you mastered the knowledge and skills of driving, you became better and better, and your confidence increased.

Today, you can quite comfortably get into your car and drive across the country with no fear or worry at all. You are so competent at driving that you can do it well without even thinking about it. The same principles apply to any skills you need to learn to achieve any goal you can set for yourself.

Powerful Versus Powerless

Doctor Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania spent more than 25 years studying the phenomenon of what he called “Learned Helplessness.” What Seligman concluded, after interviewing and studying many thousands of people, was that more than 80% of the population suffers from learned helplessness to some degree, and occasionally to a very high degree indeed.

A person suffering from learned helplessness feels that he or she is incapable of achieving his or her goals, or improving his or her life. The most common manifestation of learned helplessness is contained in the words “I can’t.” Whenever the victim of learned helplessness is offered an opportunity, possibility or new goal, he immediately respond by saying, “I can’t.” He then goes on to give all the reasons why a particular goal or objective is not possible for him. “I can’t move ahead in my career. I can’t get a better job. I can’t take time off to study. I can’t save money. I can’t lose weight. I can’t start my own business. I can’t start a second income business. I can’t change or improve my relationship. I can’t get my time under control.”

Whatever it is, he always has a self-limiting reason that immediately slams on the brakes of his potential. It short-circuits any attempt or desire to set a new goal or to change things in any way. Another famous observation of Henry Ford was, “If you believe you can do a thing or you believe you cannot, in either case, you are probably right.”

Unlearning Helplessness

Learned helplessness is usually caused by destructive criticism in childhood, negative experiences growing up and failure experiences as an adult. The way you get over this natural tendency to sell yourself short is by setting small goals, making plans and working on them each day. In this way, you gradually develop greater courage and confidence, like building up a muscle. As you become more confident in yourself and your abilities, you can set even larger goals. Over time, your doubts and fears will weaken and your courage and confidence will grow and become the dominant force in your thinking. Eventually, with a record of successes behind you, it won’t be long before you become unstoppable.

The Trap of the Comfort Zone

The second mental obstacle that you need to overcome is the “comfort zone.” Many people become complacent with their current situations. They become so comfortable in a particular job or relationship, or at a particular salary or level of responsibility, that they become reluctant to make any changes at all, even for the better.

The comfort zone is a major obstacle to ambition, desire, determination and accomplishment. People who get stuck in a comfort zone, combined with learned helplessness, are almost impossible to help in any way. Don’t let this happen to you.

Set Big Challenging Goals

The way that you get out of your comfort zone, and break loose from learned helplessness, is by setting big, challenging goals. You then break these goals down into specific tasks, set deadlines and work on them every day. Like an ice flow breaking up in the spring, soon the sluggishness and lethargy of learned helplessness and the comfort zone breaks up and you begin moving faster and faster toward accomplishing more and more of what is possible for you.

Organize Your Obstacles By Priority

Once you have made a list of all the obstacles that are standing in the way of your achieving your major goals, organize the obstacles by priority. What is the largest single obstacle? If you could wave a magic wand and remove one major obstacle from your path, which one obstacle, if removed, would help you the most in moving ahead more rapidly?

Management consultant Ian Mitroff has an interesting set of observations with regard to problem solving and the removal of obstacles. He says that, “Whatever the problem, define it several different ways before you attempt to solve it. Beware of any problem for which there is only one definition, or only one solution.”

When you ask the question, with regard to your goal, “why am I not there already?” what answer comes to mind? What is holding you back? What is standing in your way? It is at this point that you have to drill down to determine the correct obstacle before you begin taking steps to remove it.

You do this by asking the question, “What else could be the problem?” after each definition of the problem.

Conducting A Sales Analysis

In my work with corporations, or with individuals, we start off with the goal of doubling our profits or doubling our income. I then ask, “Why is it that our profits or our income are not twice as high already?” By repeated questioning, we often come up with an answer that is quite different from the obvious answer.

Here is an example of the questioning process:

“We are not making enough sales.” What else could be the problem?

“Our individual sales are not large enough per customer.” What else could be the problem?

“Our advertising is not attracting enough customers.” What else could be the problem?

As you can see, whichever of these obstacles turns out to be the correct problem will require a completely different course of action to solve it. If we don’t have enough sales, our solution is to increase the number of sales. If our sales are not large enough per customer, our solution is to increase the size of sale per customer. If our advertising is not drawing enough customers, our solution is to improve the quality of our advertising in some way.

Keep Drilling Deeper

You could say, “Our customers are not buying enough from us.” What else could be the problem?”

“Our customers are not buying frequently enough from us.” What else could be the problem?

“Our salespeople are not selling enough to our customers.” This could lead to totally revamping the quality of the sales force through better recruiting, training and management. What else could be the problem?

“Our customers are buying too many of our products from our competitors.” What else could be the problem?

“Our competitors are selling too much of their products to our customers.” This answer forces you to ask, “What value or benefit do our prospective customers see in purchasing from our competitors? How could we offset this perceived benefit?”

What else could be the problem? “We are not making enough profit on our sales.” What else could be the problem?

“It costs us too much to make each sale.” What else could be the problem? And so on. Each new definition of the problem suggests different ways that the goal of increased sales or profitability could be achieved.

Apply the Right Solution to the Right Problem

In the business book, The McKinsey Way, describing the management consulting practices of McKinsey and Company, the authors point out that one of the greatest wastes of time and money is in applying the wrong solution to the wrong problem in the first place. This can apply to your problems and obstacles as well.

By identifying the constraints or reasons that you are not achieving your personal income goals, each definition leads to a different set of solutions. They require that you think in different ways.

In your personal life, it is the same. The accuracy with which you identify the obstacles or bottlenecks that are holding you back will determine the appropriateness of the various steps that you can take to remove or alleviate those obstacles.

Increasing Your Income

You could start off by stating the problem in this way: “I’m not earning enough money.”

What else is the problem?

“I’m not contributing enough value to be worth more money.”

What else could be the problem?

“I’m not good enough at what I do to be capable of getting results that are worth more than I’m earning today.”

What else could be the problem?

“I don’t use my time efficiently enough during the work day.”

What else could be the problem?

“I spend my evenings watching television, my weekends socializing and I seldom read or learn anything that would help me to be better at my job.”

Aha! Now you have found the real problem. Now you have a clear idea of what you have to do differently if you are going to solve your original problem, which was to earn more money.

Define the Obstacle As a Goal

Once you have determined the major obstacle that is holding you back, rewrite that obstacle as a positive goal. For example, you could now say, “My goal is to continually upgrade my skills and abilities so that I am in the top 10% of money earners in my field.”

You then make a list of all the things that you could do to upgrade your knowledge and skills, improve your time management, increase your efficiency and effectiveness and make more sales for your company.

You set deadlines and measures next to each step in your strategy to achieve excellence in your field. You then select one key task and take action on it immediately. From them on, you hold your own feet to the fire. You become your own taskmaster. You discipline and drive yourself to do the things that you need to do to become the kind of person you need to become in order to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.

This exercise of identifying what is holding you back and then setting a clear, written goal to remove that obstacle puts you back in control of your own life.

By following through on your resolution, you virtually guarantee your ultimate success, and the achievement of almost any goal you can set for yourself.

Strive For Accuracy

If you have any questions or concerns about the accuracy of your problem definition, discuss it with someone you know and trust. Put your ego aside. Invite honest feedback and criticism. Be open to the possibility that you have fundamental flaws and weaknesses that are standing in the way of your realizing your full potential. Be brutally honest with yourself.

Once your problem or obstacle is clear to you, ideas, opportunities and answers will come to you from various sources. You will begin to attract into your life all kinds of resources that will help you to overcome the obstacle or difficulty, either within yourself or within the situation around you, and move you more rapidly toward your goal.

Almost Every Problem Can Be Solved

Remember the old poem, “For every problem under the sun, there is a solution or there is none. If there is a solution, go and find it. If there isn’t, never mind it.”

For every problem or obstacle that is standing between you and what you want to accomplish, there is a solution of some kind somewhere. Your job is to be absolutely clear about what sets the speed at which you achieve your goal and then to focus your time and attention on alleviating that constraint. By removing your major obstacle, you will often make more progress in a few months than the average person might make in several years.

Remove the Roadblocks:

  • Identify a major goal and then ask, “Why aren’t I there already? What is holding me back?” List everything you can think of.
  • Look into yourself and face the possibility that it is your own fears and doubts that are your biggest roadblocks to success.
  • Identify the constraint or limiting factor, in yourself or the situation, that sets the speed at which you achieve your goal.
  • Develop several definitions of your major problem or obstacle. Ask, “What else is the problem?”
  • Define your best solution as a goal, set a deadline, make a plan of action and then get busy on your plan. Work on it every day until the problem is solved or the obstacle is removed.

  • CHAPTER 11

    Become An Expert In Your Field

    “The uncommon man is merely the common man thinking
    and dreaming of success and in more fruitful areas.”

    Melvin Powers

    Like the army recruiting poster, one of your goals is to, “Be All You Can Be.” The market only pays excellent rewards for excellent performance. It pays average rewards for average performance and below average rewards, under achievement, failure and frustration for below average results.

    In our economic system, your income will be determined by three factors: first, what you do; second, how well you do it; and third, the difficulty of replacing you.

    One of the qualities of top people is that, at a certain point in their careers, they decided to “Commit to Excellence.” They decided to be the best at what they do. They decided to pay any price, make any sacrifice, and invest any amount of time necessary to become very good in their chosen fields. And as a result of this decision, they pulled away from the pack of average performers and moved themselves upward into the income category where today they earn three, four, five and ten times as much as their peers who have not made this commitment.

    The 80/20 Rule Revisited

    When I started my sales career many years ago, someone told me about the 80/20 Rule as it applied to sales. He said that 20% of the salespeople made 80% of the money. This means that 80% of the salespeople only make 20% of the money, and they have to divide it amongst themselves. At that point, many years ago, I decided that I would prefer to be a member of the top 20% rather than the bottom 80%. This decision changed my life forever.

    Because I had come from a difficult childhood and received below average grades in school, I grew up with a poor self-image and a low level of self-confidence. It never occurred to me that I could be good at anything. If ever I attempted something and did it well, I immediately dismissed it as an accident or a lucky break. For years, I saw myself as an average or below average performer in any job I worked at.

    The Great Insight

    Then one day I had a sudden flash of insight. I realized that everybody who is in the top 10% of their field started in the bottom 10%. Everybody who is doing well today was once doing poorly. Everyone who is at the front of the buffet line of life started at the back of the line. And even more importantly, it dawned on me that whatever others have done, within reason, I could do as well. And this turns out to be true for just about everyone.

    No one is better than you and no on is smarter than you. People are just better or smarter in different areas. In addition, all business skills are learnable. People who are dong better in some area of business have learned the essential skills, in combination with other skills, before you have. If you are not achieving what others are achieving, it simply means that you have just not learned these skills YET!

    The Iron Law of Self-Development

    Here was another breakthrough realization for me: “You can learn anything you need to learn to achieve any goal you can set for yourself.” There are no real limits on what you can accomplish, except for the limits that you place on own your mind and imagination. If you decide to become excellent, to join the top 10% of people in your field, there is nothing on earth that can stop you from getting there, except yourself.

    Will it be easy? Of course not! I do not use the word “easy” in this book. Everything worthwhile takes a long time and a lot of work to accomplish. But it is possible if you want it badly enough and are willing to work long enough. And it is worth every bit of the effort once you get there!

    Les Brown, the motivational speaker says, “To achieve something that you have never achieved before, you must become someone that you have never been before.”

    Wolfgang von Goethe, the German philosopher said, “To have more, you must first be more.”

    Once you decide to become one of the best people in your field, the only question you ask is, “How do I achieve it?” The very fact that hundreds of thousands, and even millions of people, have gone from the bottom to the top in every field is ample proof that you can do it as well. Many of these people, if not most of them, may not even have the natural talents and abilities that you have. In most areas of life, it is more hard work and dedication than natural ability and talent that leads to excellence and great success.

    Is Education Essential For Success?

    In an analysis of the members of the Forbes 400, the 400 richest men and women in America, conducted a couple of years ago, they found that a person who dropped out of high school and who made it into the Forbes 400 was worth, on average, $333 million dollars more than those who had completed college or university.

    The reason I mention this is because many people feel that, if they didn’t get good grades in school, they are permanently limited in what they can accomplish later in life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the wealthiest, most successful men and women in America, and throughout the world, did poorly in school.

    Remember the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” And the answer was, “One bite at a time.” This is the same way that you become absolutely excellent at what you do. You move to the top one step, one skill, one small improvement at a time.

    Appreciating or Depreciating Asset?

    The fact is that your current level of knowledge and skill is becoming obsolete at a faster rate today than ever before. I mentioned earlier that your “earning ability” can be an appreciating or a depreciating asset, depending upon whether or not you are upgrading it or simply allowing it to become obsolete. This is a choice you are making, or failing to make, every day.

    The good news is that when you start to aggressively upgrade your knowledge and skills on the road to becoming one of the best people in your field, it will be as if you are in a race and you are the only one who is really running. You very soon move ahead of the pack and into the lead position. Meanwhile, most of your competitors are simply strolling along, doing just what they need to do to keep their jobs. The idea of committing to excellence has never even occurred to them, as it has to you.

    Identify The Knowledge You Will Need

    You begin your journey to excellence by asking the question, “What additional knowledge, skills, and information will I need to lead my field in the months and years ahead?”

    Project yourself forward three to five years and imagine that you are one of the very best, highest paid people in your industry. What would have to have happened? What would you have to have done, learned or accomplished to reach this point? What skills would you have had to master to lead your field?

    Make A Career Move

    Once upon a time, I had a good friend who was a lawyer in a small firm. His father had been a lawyer so he had taken law when he went to university. When he got out of school in his early 20s, he began practicing law amongst his friends and associates. But he soon decided that law was not for him. He decided to make a career in business instead.

    By this time he was about 26 years old. In the face of considerable opposition, he gathered all his resources and concentrated single mindedly in getting into Harvard University to attend their MBA program. It took him two years, but he finally achieved it. It then took him two more years to complete the required courses and graduate with the coveted Harvard MBA.

    He returned to his home city and interviewed for various jobs, finally taking an entry-level management position at a rapidly growing airline. It turned out to be a perfect career move. Within ten years he was the President of the airline and earning ten times as much as any of the lawyers that he had graduated with some years before. He became one of the youngest and most respected executives in charge of a major company in the country.

    You Will Have Multiple Jobs and Careers It is estimated that the average person starting work today will have 14 full time jobs lasting two years or more, and four or five full time careers, in completely different businesses or industries. Fully 40 million Americans will be contingency workers for most of their careers. They will never work long-term for a single company but will instead move from company to company doing professional or technical jobs.

    It is almost inevitable that your career will change continually as you grow and mature. You must be constantly looking down the road and thinking about the skills and competencies you will need to earn the kind of money you want to earn in the years ahead.

    Identify Your Key Result Areas

    As I mentioned before, every job is made up of about five to seven key result areas. In sales, for example, these seven key result areas consist of first, prospecting; second, establishing rapport; third, identifying needs; fourth, presenting solutions; fifth, answering objections; sixth, closing the sale; and seventh, getting re-sales and referrals from satisfied customers.

    If you are in sales, you should give yourself a grade of one to ten, with one being the lowest and ten being the highest, in each of these areas. You need to have a minimum score of seven across the board to be in the top 20% of your field.

    Once you have graded yourself in these seven areas, you should take the list to your boss, or even better, to one of your customers, and ask them to give you a grade as well. This could be a real eye-opener for you. Very often, your evaluation of yourself is much different and higher than the way you are evaluated by others.

    Whatever your final grades, you must then select your weakest key skill and go to work on that skill to bring it up so that it is equal or greater than the others. Your weakest key skill sets the height of your income and determines how fast and how far you go in your career.

    Move Onto the Fast Track

    Here is the great go-forward question for the rest of your working life: “What one skill, if you developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on your career?” This becomes your focal point for personal and professional development. Your answer to this question is essential to your achieving excellence in your field.

    Keep asking yourself: “What one skill, if I developed and did it in an excellent fashion, would have the greatest positive impact on my income and on my future in my current job?”

    If you are at all unsure about the answer to this question, go to your boss and ask him or her. Ask your coworkers. Ask your staff. Ask your spouse and your friends. It is absolutely essential that you find out the answer to this question and then focus all of your energies on improving your performance in this particular area. This becomes your major definite purpose for personal and professional improvement. You write it down, set a deadline, make a plan, take action on your plan, and then do something every day to get better in this particular skill.

    Once you have achieved mastery in your weakest key result area, you then ask the question again. “Now, what one skill will help me the most?” And whatever your answer to that question, you go to work on that skill until you achieve mastery in that area as well.

    The highest paid people in every field score an 8, 9 or 10 across the board in each of their key result areas. This must also be your goal.

    The Excellent Executive

    If you are in management, there are seven key result areas that determine your success or failure at your job. These are: 1) Planning; 2) Organizing; 3) Staffing; 4) Delegating; 5) Supervising; 6) Measuring and 7) Reporting.

    All top managers are excellent in every one of these areas. All poor managers are weak in one or more of these areas. A serious weakness in any one of these key result areas can be fatal to your success in your work.

    For example, if you were absolutely excellent in every part of managing except for delegating, that would hold you back, every day of your career. I have worked with managers who were so poor at delegating that they could get nothing done. They eventually had to be fired because of the damage they were causing to the rest of the business.

    Give yourself a grade of one to ten in each of these key result areas. Ask people around you to grade you as well. And be honest. Seek for the truth rather than a diplomatic answer from a polite co-worker.

    Perform a 360-Degree Analysis

    One of the popular management tools being used today is called a “360 Degree Analysis.” In this type of analysis, a survey is given to several people who report to a particular manager. The survey is filled out anonymously and all the surveys are returned to an outside consultant who summarizes the answers on the survey. This summary of answers is then given to the manager so that he or she can see how he or she is perceived by others. It often comes as quite a shock to the manager.

    For example, the manager will say, “I make careful and thoughtful decisions.” But the staff will say, “He is weak, indecisive and insecure when it comes to making decisions.”

    In a recent management study, 75% of all managers rated themselves in the top 25% of managers in terms of effectiveness. Most managers rated themselves in the top 20% in terms of personality and intelligence, as well. We have a natural tendency to rate ourselves very highly, no matter what the quality or characteristic. This is why it is so helpful for a person to be rated by his or her peers on a regular basis.

    Set Personal Improvement As A Goal

    Once you have determined the key result area where you want and need to improve the most, you set it as a goal, make a plan, determine a standard and set a deadline. Then, you go to work to improve yourself in that area every day. In a week, a month or a year, you will look back and you will be absolutely excellent in that skill area. You will have become an expert.

    Accept Yourself the Way You Are

    One of the most popular business books in recent years is called First, Discover Your Strengths! This book follows from an earlier best seller, First, Break All The Rules! The common conclusion of both of these books is that, “People don’t change.”

    You are born with certain natural skills, abilities, tendencies, strengths, weaknesses and talents. These emerge in early life and usually crystallize in your late teens. They do not change very much over the course of your lifetime.

    One of the most important things you do in your career is to identify what it is that you are really good at, or what you can become good at, and then put your whole heart into becoming excellent in that area.

    Mary Baker Follett, a management consultant in the 1920’s, once wrote, “The very best direction to ride a horse is in the direction it is going.” The very best way to develop yourself is in the direction of your natural talents and interests. Jim Cathcart, the author and speaker, says, “Nurture your nature.” This is extremely important advice that you should follow throughout your career.

    You are put on this earth with special talents and abilities that make you unique and different from all other people who have ever lived. Throughout your life, you have often found yourself to an area of activity where your special talents and abilities have enabled you to accomplish more, and to enjoy what you are doing at a higher level, than anything else you could do. One of your great goals in life is to identify and isolate the one or two things that you can do better, and enjoy more, than anything else, and then concentrate on becoming absolutely excellent in those areas.

    Develop Your Talents

    Michael Jordan, the basketball player, once said, “Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.” The poet Longfellow once wrote, “The great tragedy of the average man is that he goes to his grave with his music still in him.”

    You could struggle for years at a job for which you were ill suited, and then find yourself in the perfect field, and make more progress in a couple of years than you had made in the 20 years preceding.

    Napoleon Hill once wrote that the key to success in America is for you to “find out what you really love to do, and then find a way to make a good living doing it.”

    Most self-made millionaires say, “I never worked a day in my life.” What they did was to find out what they really enjoyed, and then they did more and more of it.

    Identify Your Special Talents

    There are eight ways for you to identify and determine your special talents, and what you are uniquely suited to do. Here they are:

    First, you will always be the best and happiest at something that you love to do. If you could afford it, you would do it without pay. It brings out the very best in you and you get a tremendous amount of satisfaction and enjoyment when you are engaged in that particular work.

    Second, you do it well. You seem to have a natural ability to perform in this area.

    Third, this talent has been responsible for most of your success and happiness in life, up until now. From an early age, it is something that you have enjoyed to do and from which you got the greatest rewards and compliments from other people.

    Fourth, it is something that was easy for you to learn and easy to do. In fact, it was so easy to learn that you actually forget when and how you learned it. You just found yourself doing it easily and well one day.

    Fifth, it holds your attention. It absorbs you and fascinates you. You like to think about it, read about it, talk about it and learn about it. It seems to attract you, like a moth to a flame.

    Sixth, you love to learn about it and become better at it all your life. You have a deep inner desire to really excel in this particular area.

    Seventh, when you do it, time stands still. You can often work in your area of special talent for long periods without eating or sleeping, hour after hour, because you get so involved in it.

    And eighth, you really admire and respect other people who are good at what you are most suited to do. You want to be like them and be around them and emulate them in every way.

    If the above descriptions apply to anything that you are doing, or anything that you have done in the past, they can lead you into what you were uniquely put on this earth to do, to your “heart’s desire.”

    You Are Born To Excel

    Your natural talents are inborn and easy to develop. They are programmed into your subconscious mind. They are what you were put on this earth to do. Your job is to discover this area of natural talent and ability and then to develop it throughout your life.

    Many skills are complementary. They are dependent on each other. This means that you must have one skill at a certain level in order to use your other skills at a higher level. Sometimes, you have to learn and develop skills that you do not particularly love and enjoy. But this is the price you pay to be able to achieve excellence in your chosen field.

    One Skill Away

    Here is the rule: You could be only one skill away from doubling your productivity, performance and income. You may only need to bring up your skill level in one area for you to be able to use all of your other skills at a higher level.

    Remember that all business skills are learnable. Business skills are not genetically determined. If there is any business skill that you need to learn to realize and utilize your full potential, you can learn it by practice and repetition.

    Avoid the Trap Of the Poor Performer

    It is quite common that, if you are weak in a particular skill, you will avoid taking action in that skill. You will fall into the trap of “learned helplessness.” You will say, “I’m not really very good in that area.” Or, “I don’t have any natural talent or ability in that skill.”

    But this is merely rationalization and justification. If the skill is important enough to you, you can learn it. The very worst decision of all is for you to allow yourself to be held back for months or years because you lack a single, simple skill that is readily learnable through dedication and determination. Don’t let this happen to you.

    Excellence Is A Journey

    There is an old saying, “Anything worth doing well, is worth doing poorly at first.” It is not practice that makes perfect; it is imperfect practice that eventually makes perfect.

    Whenever you start something new, you can expect to do it poorly. You will feel clumsy and awkward at first. You will feel inadequate and inferior. You will often feel silly and embarrassed. But this is the price that you pay to achieve excellence in your field. You will always have to pay the price of success, in advance, and that price often involves the hard work of mastering a difficult skill that you need to move to the top of your field.

    Wave Your Magic Wand

    Use the magic wand technique. Imagine that you could wave a magic want and be absolutely excellent at any particular skill. What would it be? If you could wave a magic wand and have any wish at all with regard to your talents and skills, what would you wish for?

    Whatever your answer to these questions will often be an indication of the new goals that you have to set with regard to the skills and abilities that you need to develop to be the best at what you do.

    Become a lifelong “do-it-to-yourself” project. Be prepared to invest one, two or three years to become absolutely excellent in a critical area. Be willing to pay any price, make any sacrifice to be the best at what you do.

    The Three Plus One Formula

    There is a three plus one formula for mastering any skill. It is simple, and it works every single time. First, read in the skill area each day, even if only for 15 to 30 minutes. Knowledge is cumulative. The more you read and learn, the more confident you will become that you can do this job in an excellent fashion.

    Second, listen to educational audio programs on the subject in your car. The average driver today spends 500 to 1000 hours each year in his car driving around during the day. Turn driving time into learning time. You can become one of the best educated people in your field by simply listening to audio programs in your car rather than music.

    Third, attend seminars and workshops on your subject. Many people’s lives have been changed completely by attendance at a single one or two day seminar on a key subject. Forever after, they were completely different in that area.

    And the final factor is to practice what you learn at the earliest possible opportunity. Every time you hear a good idea, take action on it. The person who hears one idea and takes action on it is more valuable than a person who hears a hundred ideas but takes action on none of them.

    Practice Make Perfect

    The more you practice what you are learning, the faster you will become competent and skilled in that area. The more you practice, the more confidence you will develop. The more you practice, the more rapidly you will overcome your feelings of inadequacy in that skill and the faster you will master it. The more you practice, the more rapidly you will add that skill to your mental toolbox where you will possess it for the rest of your career.

    Resolve today, right now, to join the top 10% of people in your field. Determine who they are, what they earn and what they do differently from you. Determine the special knowledge and skills they have developed and resolve to develop them yourself. Remember,

    anything that anyone has done, within reason, you can do as well. No one is better than you and no one is smarter than you. The very fact that the top people in your field were at one time not even in your field at all, is proof that whatever they have achieved, you can achieve yourself, if you simply set it as a goal, and work at it long enough and hard enough. There are no limits.

    Become An Expert In Your Field:

  • Resolve to day to join the top 10% of people in your field. Make a lifelong commitment to excellence.
  • Identify the key result areas of your job, the things you “absolutely, positively” have to do well to be successful in your field.
  • Identify your weakest key area and start a “do-it-to-yourself” project to become excellent in that area.
  • Determine the additional knowledge you will need to get to the top of your field and then develop a plan to acquire that knowledge.
  • Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning. Read, listen to audio programs, attend courses and seminars, and then put what you learn into action as quickly as you can.

  • Conclusion

    Take Action Today

    You have now learned perhaps the most comprehensive strategy for setting and achieving goals that has ever been put together in one book. By practicing these rules and principles, you can accomplish more in the coming months and years than most people accomplish in a lifetime.

    The most important quality you can develop for lifelong success is the habit of taking action on your plans, goals, ideas and insights. The more often you try, the sooner you will triumph. There is a direct relationship between the number of things you attempt and your accomplishments in life. Here are the 21 steps for setting and achieving goals, and for living a wonderful life.

  • Unlock Your Potential – Always remember that your true potential is unlimited. Whatever you have accomplished in life up to now has only been a preparation for the amazing things you can accomplish in the future.
  • Take Charge of Your Life – You are completely responsible for everything you are today, for everything you think, say and do, and for everything you become from this moment forward. Refuse to make excuses or to blame others. Instead, make progress toward your goals every day.
  • Create Your Own Future – Imagine that you have no limitations on what you can do, be or have in the months and years ahead. Think about and plan your future as if you had all the resources you needed to create any life that you desire.
  • Clarify Your Values – Your innermost values and convictions define you as a person. Take the time to think through what you really believe in and care about in each area of your life. Refuse to deviate from what you feel is right for you.
  • Determine Your True Goals – Decide for yourself what you really want to accomplish in every area of your life. Clarity is essential for happiness and high performance living.
  • Decide Upon Your Major Definite Purpose – You need a central purpose to build your life around. There must be a single goal that will help you to achieve your other goals more than any other. Decide what it is for you and work on it all the time.
  • Analyze Your Beliefs – Your beliefs about your own abilities, and about the world around you, will have more of an impact on your feelings and actions than any other factor. Make sure that your beliefs are positive and consistent with achieving everything that is possible for you.
  • Start At The Beginning – Do a careful analysis of your starting point before you set off toward the achievement of your goal. Determine your exact situation today and be both honest and realistic about what you want to accomplish in the future.
  • Measure Your Progress – Set clear benchmarks, measures, metrics and scorecards for yourself on the road to your goals. These measures help you to assess how well you are doing and enable you to make necessary adjustments and corrections as you go along.
  • Remove The Roadblocks – Success boils down to the ability to solve problems and remove obstacles on the path to your goal. Fortunately, problem solving is a skill you can master with practice, and thereby achieve your goals faster than you ever thought possible.
  • Become An Expert In Your Field – You have within you, right now, the ability to be one of the very best at what you do, to join the top 10% in your field. Set this as a goal, work on it every day, and never stop working at it until you get there.
  • Associate With The Right People – Your choices of people with whom to live, work and socialize will have more of an effect on your success than any other factor. Resolve today to associate only with people you like, respect and admire. Fly with the eagles if you want to be an eagle yourself.
  • Make a Plan Of Action – An ordinary person with a well thought-out plan will run circles around a genius without one. Your ability to plan and organize in advance will enable you to accomplish even the biggest and most complex goals.
  • Manage Your Time Well – Learn how to double and triple your productivity, performance and output by practicing practical and proven time management principles. Always set priorities before you begin, and then concentrate on the most valuable use of your time.
  • Review Your Goals Daily – Take time every day, every week, every month to review and reevaluate your goals and objectives. Make sure that you are still on track and that you are still working toward things that are important to you. Be prepared to modify your goals and plans with new information.
  • Visualize Your Goals Continually – Direct the movies of your mind. Your imagination is your preview of your life’s coming attractions. Repeatedly “see” your goals as if they already existed. Your clear, exciting mental images activate all your mental powers and attract your goals into your life.
  • Activate Your Superconscious Mind – You have within you and around you an incredible power that will bring you everything and anything you want or need. Take the time regularly to tap into this amazing source of ideas and insights for goal attainment.
  • Remain Flexible At All Times – Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it. Be constantly open to new, better, faster, cheaper ways to achieve the same result, and if something is not working, be willing to try a different approach.
  • Unlock Your Inborn Creativity – You have more creative ability to solve problems and come up with new and better ways for goal attainment than you have ever used. You are a potential genius. You can tap into your intelligence to overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal you can set for yourself.
  • Do Something Every Day – Use the “Momentum Principle of Success” by getting started toward your goal and then doing something every day that moves you closer to what you want to accomplish. Action orientation is essential to your success.
  • Persist Until You Succeed – In the final analysis, your ability to persist longer than anyone else is the one quality that will guarantee great success in life. Persistence is self-discipline in action, and is the true measure of your belief in yourself. Resolve in advance that you will never, never give up!
  • There they are, the twenty-one most important principles of goal setting and goal achieving ever discovered. Your regular review and practice of these principles will enable you to live an extraordinary life. Nothing can stop you now.

    Good luck!

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