Definiteness of Purpose

We have all probably heard about vision boards or any of the many tools that people use to attract the great things they want in their lives.  Why do they work?  People have many explanations, but the one that resonates with the way I think, and goes in par with Napoleon Hill’s teachings, is that a vision board aids you to establish your purpose, your goal.

Napoleon Hill said many times that the most important principle to achieving your goals is ‘definiteness of purpose’.  You need to be able to concretely state what your idea of success is, and what you are going to be giving in return for it.  Not only stating it will bring it to you, but if you don’t have a very clear and foolproof image in your head of what you want, you won’t ‘see’ the opportunities laying on your path as you walk your day.  You will miss all these critical moments in which it seems that only ‘luck’ would have allowed you to obtain what you wanted.

I was talking to a good friend of mine a few days ago, and something she mentioned was that she wasn’t yet sure exactly what she wanted the rest of her life to be like.  This is completely understandable because we all know that is nearly impossible to have a good idea of where we are going to be 5, 10, or 20 years down the road.  But it’s important to be able to break this down into a simpler task, we should not be defining everything about our lives, we need to learn how to discern between those things that are worth defining, and things that will work themselves out.

Here is a simple list of things I think everyone should sit down and define, and then read through this list every morning before going out to the world so they can keep a fresh perspective on their goals.

What is your idea of success?

Here you should not be struggling over minor details, but rather the main things that are important in your life.  Do you want to have a happy family or is that not your priority?  Do you want to earn $30,000 or $100,000 a year?  How do you want to feel about your body, health?  How do you visualize your social environments, how frequently do you interact with others and to what extent?  These are all the things you should consider and define.  Simply saying, I want a lot of money won’t help here.  You should really think about this, and write it down. Here is an example.

My Idea of Success

I am healthy, financially affluent, spiritually at peace, and have excellent relationships with others.  I am genuinely happy and inspire my family and those around me to be the best they can.  I am free to do as I wish, not limited to any particular job or place.

There are many other things you can define.  I think it’s a good idea to also define what you want your annual income (more importantly, your net worth) be and how you can get that because most people are worried about finances and the least you can do to lower that stress is to have a concrete goal.  If you don’t have one, you will most likely find yourself always saying “I want more money,” even if you are now earning twice as much as 10 years ago.

What will you give to others in return for your success?

Will you donate to charity 10% of your income?  Start your own charity foundation?  Teach others how to do things you are good at?  Inspire others to get on with their lives?  Think about good things you can do for society, it can be as ‘simple’ as bringing joy to one person’s life each day.  The main thing to keep in mind is, we live in a society, and if we expect to receive good from society, we need to give back to society as well.  Paying taxes won’t cut it, just think about something you can voluntarily do to make the world a better place.   Life will be better for all of us that way.

What things in your life are helping you or holding you back in your path?

Sometimes success will come only after we have made some significant changes in our lives and many of these will involve great sacrifices.  This is the time to think about what are the activities you are doing, or the obligations you have, that are inhibiting your growth, and which ones are helping you get to where you want to be.  This is a difficult step sometimes, particularly if you realize that something you enjoy doing is one of the things that you should stop in order to have the time, money, or energy to do something that will help you build the future you want.

Personally, I am constantly asking myself this question.  What things am I doing that are not contributing to the ideal future I envision?  Are there other things I should do instead?  I’ve made some difficult decisions after thinking about these things for a long time, but at the end of the day I know I’m doing something that is better for me in the long run and that gives me the strength to follow through.

People from all different backgrounds find success on a daily basis, but the great majority of it doesn’t happen until they have a very clear idea of what success means to them at a personal level.

Published by Omar Eduardo

Passionate about building great products; Product Manager @ Google; ex-consultant @ Accenture; MIT chemical engineering graduate

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