FIRST, be prepared to know yourself better. A serious appraisal of your life is essential to getting what you want. If you need to get to Pittsburgh by Friday, you've got to know where you're starting from. A serious self-appraisal may take weeks to complete. How well educated are you in the things you would like to know? How much effort do you put into each aspect of your life?
What are your best and worst points? How do you choose your friends, your home, your job and your hobbies? How do treat your friends, family and strangers? How deep is your personal spirituality? You have hundreds and hundreds of special traits, but how well developed is each of them? Which of your traits are the worst? What have you accomplished over the past twenty, ten, five, two and in one year? In the past month? The past week? Today? Who have you hurt? Who deserves better than you've given them? And most important, how close are you now to where you hoped you'd be when you looked ahead a year ago, five years ago, or even as a child?
Be prepared to cry a little as you make this appraisal of your life. Humans are far from perfect, and even the minor goals we set for ourselves are not achieved, and it can hurt to see exactly where you are. Draw upon every bit of serenity you have when making this appraisal, and always keep in mind you are on a fact-finding, not a fault-finding mission. Whether your strengths match evenly with your weaknesses on paper is not important. What you want is a written record of who and what you are in as great a depth as possible, a blueprint of your house which you can use as a base for improvement.
Great people in every field start with such a deep analysis and revise it yearly to chart their progress, and the time and emotion spent in such an appraisal will be chicken feed compared to the value you will receive from it.
SECOND, make a special report based on your self-appraisal and include the report everything you ever did which you didn't think you could do. THIS ABSOLUTELY VITAL! It will provide you with enormous inspiration when faced with a problem you don't think you can overcome. These are not only real-life success stories, they are your success stories, positive proof that there's more in you than you might think. These experiences are the batteries you'll use to power the shovels which will move mountains in the future. Remember, even an almost-dead battery will start a car. Have this report in writing and keep it with your personal analysis, and make a copy in case you lose it. This will be a vital document in times to come.
THIRD, decide where you want to go. Most people fail because they don't set goals worthy of themselves. If they do, they do not live each day in pursuit these goals. This, and every other step outlined here, is absolutely vital to a truly successful life.
When you set your goals, make them better than you've done before, but make them achievable. In other words, if it is at all possible that you or someone like you could achieve the goal, it is worthy. But don't set them too low either, or you'll be breezing through life, bored and unchallenged. Set goals for each day, for the next week, month, year, two years, five years, twenty years, fifty years (regardless of your age).
Be definite about what you want. Write your goals down and use as much detail as possible. Make them firm... for the moment. You will find as you achieve certain things that some goals will have to change, and that's fine. Just don't go around changing your mind every time the wind changes or you won't know which way is up.
Set as many goals as you like, and include among them - what you'd like to be doing, where you'd like to go, what you want for your family, what kind of person you'd like to be, how much you'd like to be earning, your net worth, your health, personality, education and spiritual growth. Keep your daily goals confined to activities which will lead to accomplishment of your long-term goals. Don't be afraid to set goals. Mistakes can be corrected; doing nothing cannot be corrected.
The next step takes no real effort, and strangely enough, it is the most difficult step for the average person to take.
FOURTH: COMMIT! Make the decision to achieve those goals, to strive for the things you want which will make your life and yourself all that much better. Make that commitment from the heart, not at the lips! It will take time to really feel that commitment, and regularly reviewing the goals you've written down will make it possible to truly feel that commitment. You'll go through agonies at first and wonder if any of this is really worth it, and that's the point most people give up.
Remember this and you'll look forward to that agony. Every change comes with pain. It hurts to be born, to fall in love, to pass an exam, run a marathon. Once you start feeling that pain, know it for what it is - your old self screaming for life. Let your old self win and you lose!
Once you pass through that barrier of pain between what you are and what you want, you will know what it is worth every bit of discomfort. You've been through it before, and you'll need the memory of past incidents where you've made it to help you get through it.
You'll need the support of others, too. So you'll have to consider the people with whom, you spend most of your time. If they are not as interested in improving themselves as you are, it's time to expand your circle of friends to include those people, and make them the best you could want. Make your friends inspirations to you in your quest for a better life.
The final step is so simple and so tough it literally separates the men from the boys who will never grow up. It means sacrificing immediate pleasure for real satisfaction down the road, so if you're not ready to make the trade, go back two paces.
FIFTH: Spend every moment of your life in the most effective, efficient way possible in the pursuit of your goals. You'll never be able to do this as well as you will want to, but that's fine. Nobody spends all their time as effectively as humanly possible. The degree to which you can tune your desire to the things you want and discipline yourself to do the things that lead to getting them - will determine how successful you will be.
Regardless of how weak you are now, you can and will increase the value your time and activities and garner more happiness than you might think fair only if you'll keep your failures in perspective. Think of them as lessons and gain something from them. Use your successes as a well of strength on which you can draw when you're ready to quit.
These simple steps are the true secret to getting what you want out of life. It has been proven time and time again by great men down trough history, and centuries from now. The words may change, but the ideas will be the same.
For centuries men have tried to find ways of making this simple set of guidelines more complicated and more difficult to understand and follow. Most of them succeeded admirably. Most got what they wanted by doing so. What they really wanted was less than they set out to achieve. Getting what you truly want is so difficult precisely because it is so simple. Humans are very complex beings and thrive on making things even more complicated.
It might help to remember that the foundation of every religion, belief, system and philosophy that has worked its way to a culture and taken root is personal happiness. In every case, happiness is achieved by reducing things to their simple possible elements.
Take a look at yourself - inside and out. Where do you live, what job do you have, how do you relate to your friends and family? What interests do you pursue, what adventures do you have?
You're reading the words of a person who has been through more catastrophes in her lifetime than most people experience in 5!
If you have a nervous habit you'd like to break, don't pull your hair out. You can put an end to fingernail-biting or hair-twisting in a matter of several days - and you can do it on your own.
How can you get an extra hour from each day? This is a basic challenge for all of us. I've discussed this challenge with action and results-oriented people I know.
If you really want to do something you will always find a way. But if you don't want to do it, you will find excuses.
Last week I was fixing a computer system for a client of mine at their office. They worked for a secure company and depended on a regular salary on a bi-weekly basis.
Please read the entire program before doing suggested meditations, in order to enable you to have a better understanding of the information.