Everyone seeks to be successful, yet success is a matter of setting, moving towards, and accomplishing goals. When thinking about goals, I think about Earl Nightingale’s talk entitled, The Strangest Secret. Nightingale essentially says that to meet your goals you have to know what you want. He gives the metaphor of a ship without a captain going into the rocks verses a ship with a clear plan and a captain that has a wonderful chance of arriving to the desired shores. So set goals and go after them. But how does one stay focused? That is the “strangest secret!”
The strangest secret is that “we become what we think about.” I know it sounds simple, but we don’t do it. He cites the five following thinkers:
Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor, said: “A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.”
Disraeli: “Everything comes if a man will only wait … a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment.”
William James: “We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real. It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our interests in it will be those which characterize belief… only you must, then, really wish these things, and wish them exclusively, and not wish at the same time a hundred other incompatible things just as strongly.”
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: “If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results.”
George Bernard Shaw said: “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”
Nightingale suggests a 30-day action plan: (1) write on a card your specific goals, and look at it often during the day and night, (2) definitely stop thinking about what you fear, (3) give more than you do to your daily activities be it at work, school, family and friend relationships.
While this is a bit “techniquey,” it can’t hurt thinking about your goal and moving towards them. Success in life is definitely in moving towards your goals, and I wish everyone great success in 2013.
James Lani, Ph.D.