My niece who is just about worthless (at the current time), and absolutely clueless about the "real world" asked me a question yesterday. This is a girl who has very little self esteem and it is so very sad. I've tried to instill in her some self worth, advise her as to some books she should read, tapes she should should listen to (CD's I guess at this point), and in general I've advised her that only She can make the decision to either be happy or sad. She is always sad, and seems that there is always some physical ailment that she is suffering. So she asked me, "What 1 or 2 things do you do that make you happy, and fulfilled?" I guess she thought I was going to give a dissertation or something, but I replied back what I think is the secret to my life. Pretty short.
1) I have the absolute belief that my own happiness is up to me. My attitude is almost unwavering positive. Bad things may happen to me, but any feelings of sadness, bitterness, resentment, usually lasts at most a day, and usually only an hour, until I can refocus on myself and understand that I WILL MAKE IT THROUGH, AND I WILL WIN! That thought carries me through some real horrible shit. I WILL WIN! I just keep repeating it in my mind until it is as solid a belief, as saying, I am a man.
2) I have clearly defined, written out goals. I know where I want to be in 10 years from now, in 5 years from now, in 2 years from now, next year, and next month. Very specific things I would like to achieve. How can you every get what you want if you dont know what you want? A goal of "be happy" is not a goal, it's just a vague and ambiguous feeling you wish to achieve. I break my goals down into 3 categories. Financial Goals, Personal Goals, and Life Goals. The Life Goals usually are a mix of what I want to be as a business owner, a father, and a husband. The Personal Goals are usually health, spiritual learning, and intellectual learning. Financial Goals are definitely the easiest goals to come up with, and achieve. They must push you, but be just outside of what you believe is possible. I use to hit my financial goals for the year in about month 10, and I've learned to set them higher than I thought possible. Now I barely reach them, and a few times, have missed my mark by a little. That drives me harder. One thing about these goals, and it is something that is a new goal for this next year. I HAVE to balance my family life with my professional life. Although I have plenty of Dagny time, I want even more. This is important.
On #2. The best way I know of making sure I reach my goals is that I break them down to monthly goals, and monthly benchmarks to know if I will meet the yearly goal. Some folks may break it down by week, but I've found I get to geeky when I break them down that far. Monthly is fine with me, however, the #1 method of success that I know is to make a daily "STD" (stuff to do for some, shit to do for me) list the night before. I know exactly what needs to be done every day when I wake up. I tried to do this list in the morning, but it took up too much of my morning, and I just wouldn't even do it, so I would wander about aimlessly through my day. But then I started doing them at night before I went to bed. Stuff that didn't get done that day, stayed on the list for the next, and more stuff was added, ALL adding up to achieving the monthly goals. If I miss a monthly goal this month, the rest of the monthly goals to the end of the year get adjusted up so that I dont miss the yearly goal.
All of this takes very little time, although I will admit that my long term goal setting of 10 years, 5 years, and 2 years will sometimes take a few days to put together. Why? Because I do what I call dream building. Now dream building is different than Goal Setting, in that my Dream Building is more of an exercise of getting excited. One may put on a 10 year Goal- I will have a house on 25 acres, with a pond and a stream, that is cross fenced for horses, has a large red barn, and a basement bar, that leads out to a swimming pool that overlooks the pastures. So what I do in my Dream Building is that I go an visit a house that is similar to what I want. I can envision the swimming pool in the back yard if there isn't one, I can see the horses in the pasture, and where I would put a garden etc. Nothing is more motivating to me, than to actually see, smell and feel what it is that I am aiming for.
So anyway, back to my Niece:
I told her:
1) have specific written short and long term goals
2) Have a "to do" list written the night before, so that when you wake up you already know what will happen during the day, and you wont waste time wandering about aimlessly looking for things to do, or wasting time.
England and Idaho
9 months ago