Call me a Pollyanna, but I believe you can create the life you want (within reason). I don’t believe in magic or pseudo-science, but I do know what has worked for me, and I’ve studied what works for others.
7 Ways to Get What You Want From Life
1. Set Goals – This is fundamental. But you know what? Huge numbers of people fail to do it and they wonder why their lives have no direction. You need to give yourself direction by pointing the ship of life toward your new world. You are never going to get anywhere unless you decide where you want to go. Put your goals in writing, post them in plain view, and read them frequently.
2. Visualize – Use your creative imagination. Imagine what life would look like if you had already reached your goals. Imagine in detail. I’m not talking about living in fantasyland where your dead mother comes back to life or you have magical powers which turn lead into gold. Imagine what is possible for you. No one can say what is possible for you, except you. Maybe you’ll own a graphic design company or build a successful relationship. Maybe you’ll build a dragster or ride a motorcycle across Russia. Maybe you’ll start a new political party or build a homeless shelter. Visualize your future as if it were happening right now. Visualize it in detail. This has worked well for me: Create the future you want in writing. Write it in a first person present tense narrative. Include every detail you can imagine. When I look back at my writings, it is uncanny how much of it has come true.
3. Act – Sitting in an armchair imagining a wonderful life isn’t going to make it happen. After setting your goals and visualizing the end result, your first action should be creating a plan. Planning is the bridge between creative imagination and implementation. You have to act on your ideas. The homeless shelter isn’t going to build itself. The girl of your dreams is not going to walk in your front door. If you want a new relationship, get out and meet some people. You might have to read Dale Carnegie or join Toastmasters International. You might have to attend conferences, join a church, or get a job. It all depends on what you want. Become a planner and a doer. Create a plan, write it down, and act on it.
4. Accept – Don’t be stubborn and rigid. Don’t try to force life down your specific path. Things will not be easy and they won’t go as planned. Be flexible and ready to change. This might sound contradictory to previous points, but it isn’t. Set your goals, visualize them, act on them, but be willing to accept that the journey will pull you in different directions. You may find, over time, that you no longer want the things you thought you wanted. Let’s say you set a goal to make millions selling software to Apple Computer, but after a few years your company is evolving into a service company which maintains cloud computing infrastructure. You and your partners find this new direction rewarding both financially and personally, so you chop the software piece of the business and alter your plan. Also, if you have big goals in life, you need to delegate portions of your current responsibilities and that takes trust and acceptance. Other people will take you in directions you hadn’t imagined before. Accept others and their plans and it will help you reach your goals.
5. Learn From Others – I hate to tell you this, but you don’t know squat. None of us do. We all lie to ourselves, telling ourselves we really know what is going on here, but we don’t. Maybe the lie keeps us sane. So be humble, because even if you are the smartest person on earth you don’t know .0001% of what is happening on this planet. You know even less about what is happening in the universe. But collectively we do know a lot. That’s why we need networks and communities. To get what you want from life you need the help of others who have achieved the things you want. I used to think ‘not knowing’ the answer was a weakness (a stupid idea we all learn in school), it isn’t. Not knowing is an opportunity to learn. I also thought I had to do all the work myself (another stupid concept stressed in school), I don’t. Remember, most people love to talk about themselves and they love to help. Don’t go it alone. Ask for help. The bigger your goal the more help you’ll need.
6. Be Persistent – Get rich quick schemes are a scam. It is rare when life yields quick easy results. Life rewards inner strength. It rewards determination. It takes years of trial and error, multiple-failures, and major setbacks for most people to get what they want. And most people quit just before they are about to realize success. If you’ve ever lived in a northern climate, you know winter doesn’t feel as cold in December as it does in March. Every March I complain and contemplate moving to Texas. It always feels coldest just before spring. Each person I’ve met who has realized their dreams had very dark moments through which they persevered. Seth Godin calls this The Dip. It creates scarcity because few people make it through The Dip.
7. Learn to Disarm Your Inner Critic – We all have this little voice inside our heads which criticizes us. Some people’s critics are stronger than others. Your Inner Critic can stop you before you get started or sabotage you along the way. This is the part of you that says you aren’t worthy of success. It is the part that makes you feel guilty when you win. It is the part that protects you from anxiety by preventing you from facing your fears. But to succeed you must face your fears. It judges others who are successful and finds fault with them. It creates excuses. It tells you why you can’t, but never tells you why you can. It says you don’t really want success, because the trade-offs are too great. Your inner critic shreds your self-esteem.
So how do you disarm your inner critic?
It is too complex to explain in this post so I recommend you buy this book, Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning (Hat Tip to Chris Brogan). It’s a must read for anyone living a conscious life.
“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.
. . . . . .
“For Life is a just employer;
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
“I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.”
Jessie B. Rittenhouse