The 12 Secrets of Self-Made Multi-Millionaires (12 Lessons)
Clear, Specific Focus
(Please listen to the audio file first! It is more in-depth. Then study the text and take any action that the text suggests!)
The fourth secret of self-made multi-millionaires is that they have a clear, specific, focus.
It’s important to believe that you deserve as much success as anyone else. People with self-esteem believe they are worthy of abundance. It’s also important to have a passion to make a contribution to society beyond making money. This is called the purpose behind the purpose. It’s important to be able to spot the next hot trends, which we discussed at the end of side one. But without clear focus, where you tolerate little distraction from your major goals, being financially independent is a pipe dream. It is just another vague, wonderful concept. Ideas today are a dime and dozen. What everybody wants to know from you today is what’s the specific game plan.
You are the world’s greatest expert on yourself. There simply isn’t any doubt about it – no one knows more about your hopes, dreams, fears and fantasies than you yourself. In your secret heart, your goals are quite clearly defined, and most likely they have been since childhood. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t choose to delude yourself about them. All of us feel the pressure of what we believe the world expects us to do and be, and under that pressure most of us feel the need to compromise on what we really want from life.
This is part of maturing, and it’s inevitable. But the danger arises when we convince ourselves that growing up means not just adjusting, but abandoning what we really want and need.
Why does this abandonment take place? It happens because we don’t take a practical approach to realizing our most closely held desires. We’ve already talked about the importance of having a mission in life that is greater than earning money; that money is a by-product of being passionate about the product or service you contribute to society. Creating a clear focus is something quite different. It means thinking of your dreams in very realistic terms. If you want to be a filmmaker, for example, it means learning the ins and outs of the industry you want to enter. The young man who delivers packages to our home longs to be a country western singing star, but he does not have the energy to play with a group in the evening or on weekends, gaining experience, innovation and exposure. Consequently, he is jousting with windmills like Don Quixote in The Man from La Mancha. To reach your impossible dream, you must do the possible in incremental steps over time.
In order for you to be successful, you must be engaging in what you want to become in your mind all the time, and in your would-be career during your spare time. Of course, it’s important to see yourself on stage in a splendid performance. That’s how we visualize and ceremonialize outcomes in advance.
But you don’t let beautiful dreams distract you from the businesslike realities. Dessert is delicious, but the vegetables have the nutritional value that energizes you.
If you don’t take a practical approach to achieving your goals, sooner or later you’ll start doubting yourself. You’ll start beating yourself up emotionally for your pie-in-the sky dreams, and you’ll start settling for less than you really want because you don’t clearly see how anything more is possible.
While I was a naval officer in Washington, D. C. between the Korean and Viet Nam wars, I conducted a study of Chinese interrogation methods. These so-called brainwashing techniques were designed to separate and identify any captured Americans who could be turned into collaborators or informers, and I discovered that it had been relatively easy for the Chinese Communists to separate strong-willed leaders in the prisoner of war camps from purposeless followers.
The interrogations appeared simple and non-threatening: Where are you from? Do you have a girlfriend back home? What are you fighting for? What are you going to do when you return home? What kind of career would you like most? What are you planning to study? How much money do you need to live on? What is your favorite sports team? What is your religion?
Soldiers and airmen who gave specific, thoughtful answers were classified as goal-oriented, potential leaders. They were placed in maximum security camps, were deprived of adequate food and shelter, and were tortured in an attempt to break their resolve. But American POWs who gave vague answers about their lives and future plans were recognized as ideal subjects for indoctrination. They were put in minimum-security camps that were almost like country clubs, with no machine-gun towers, no barbed-wire fences, and no guard dogs. Instead, there were comfortable barracks, cafeterias, and recreation areas. Most important of all, there were study halls for reading Communist propaganda.
Though the prisoners in the maximum-security camps were beaten, starved and forced to live in cages like animals, some escaped and got back to friendly territory. In contrast, no one ever escaped or even attempted an escape from the minimum-security country clubs. And yet, incredibly, despite superior food, shelter, clothing and medical care, death and disease rates were many times higher than in the maximum security camps. Having no tangible goals to motivate them in the minimum-security prisons, several of our young servicemen pulled the bed covers up over their heads and died for no apparent reason other than the absence of a cause to live for.
If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t make any difference if the alarm clock goes off in the morning.
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. But if your goals are vivid, specific, flexible, and supported by action plans and sub-goals, you’ll believe that your life is worth living, and your income will show it as well. Multi-millionaires have a clear, specific focus. They know where they’re going and they get there.
Self-Test: Where will you be living five years from now? What will you be doing on a daily basis? By how much will you have increased your net worth? Journal your responses.
The Science of Getting Rich • The Richest Man in Babylon • Acres of Diamonds
Section Review Quiz and Answers
The 12 Secrets of Self-Made Multi-Millionaires (12 Lessons)