Laws of Success
As Seen On
Like #9, this one is well-known, but seldom followed. Simply put, you must first dream, then plan, then do. It is virtually impossible to succeed any other way. You cannot expect to put a plan into action if there is no plan. And if you act without a plan, it is doomed from the start. Furthermore, you can not devise a solid plan if you have not already dreamed an idea upon which a plan is put together.
Unfortunately, our society berates dreamers. They laugh at them, and belittle their dreams. So most people have given up dreaming. Bad move! Since the dream is the first step toward accomplishing anything, forget about those other people and go ahead and dream. Dream big! Bigger than you really expect. Why? Simple mathematics and trajectory (physics), following the laws of nature. Have you ever shot an arrow, or a gun? Have you ever thrown a baseball? Whenever you aim at a target, you must aim high, to allow for trajectory - the natural drop that occurs because of gravitational force. And even in life, while seeking wealth and aiming for a goal, there are forces at work that will create a trajectory. There will be obstacles. There will be detours as the unexpected pops up. So, if you want to get to the top of the mountain, you must aim for the moon. Aim high when you dream and plan, or I guarantee you will fall short, and be disappointed.
I can't give any pointers on dreaming (everyone has different goals), but I can tell you this: it is only the first phase. There must come a time when you stop dreaming long enough to put together a plan, then work that plan. Don't dream your life away - act on those dreams.
As far as planning is concerned, however, I have a very definite pointer for you. Brace yourself, as this will fly smack dab into the face of conventional thought, but after you hear it, and really think about it, you will probably come to the sudden realization that it is the only way that can work. No wonder all those others aren't getting anywhere!
Two words: PLAN BACKWARDS. Dumb, huh? But think about it for a moment. You are here. You want to be there. You must plan a route, an itinerary. Conventional wisdom dictates that you put one foot in front of the other until you get there. Sounds logical enough - if you're going on vacation or something. But life's goals are different - everyone has different goals. You simply cannot say, "OK, I'll do this today, and that tomorrow, and eventually I will get to that goal." Why not? Because life does not follow a mathematical plan. It is not a smooth function. There are obstacles, detours, enemies, and a bunch more Indians than Custer had ever imagined. THAT is life.
Your first step is not to plan what to do today. Your first step is to determine exactly where you want to be, and when. This is because, if you want to go to L.A. for a certain ballgame, it just isn't good enough to simply reach L.A. You must reach it on time. The purpose of the journey is crucial. So, let's say you want to have a net worth of "X" dollars in ten years. Be specific. Now the average person would then go about making a plan, starting with what he will do today to get started. Wrong! Since he has no way of knowing if that first step is sufficient for having "X" in ten years, he is just guessing and hoping. As a wealth builder, you would do it backwards. Your plan would go something like this (simplified, for purposes of the example): In 10 years I'll have $X in net worth. Assuming I can make my wealth grow at a rate of 25% per year (bear with me a moment), this means I will need to reach 4/5 of $X in 9 years, which we will call $Y. And in order to have $Y in 9 years, I will need to have accumulated 4/5 of $Y in 8 years, which equals $Z.
You would keep following it backward until you get to the here and now - what would you need right now, so at 25% per year it would grow to $X in 10 years.
Now you say, "Hey, where the heck would I come up with a lot of money today, and how could I earn 25%/year?" Real estate - 97% of all millionaires made their fortunes in real estate. Let's say that, by hook or by crook you can get your hands on $3000. Using the "Special Option" technique in real estate (detailed in "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate") you could option a $150,000 property and easily make 10% profit, or $15,000. After taxes, maybe you would net only $10,000 or so. And let's say you only do this once this year. You now have $10,000 plus your original $3000 investment back - $13,000. That's more than a 400% return (not just a mere 25%)! Therefore, you could easily reach your goal when your yield is so high. That is the power of knowledge in real estate, which is why I chose it for my own career.
So, if you know exactly where you want to be, and plan backwards, you will know exactly what you must do - and what you must have - at each step of the way. This is how wealth works, and since it is wealth you are after, get used to planning things backward.
In more real terms, let's say your goal is to be a successful veterinarian in "X" years. You would have to work backwards to determine at exactly what point you must graduate from college, then backwards to see how many credits you must earn each year to accomplish that (assuming night school, at your convenience). If you were to plan forward, and simply guess what you must accomplish by any certain point, you would most assuredly miss the mark, and it might take many more years to be that veterinarian.
Plan Backwards. It's the only way that works. Once your plan tells you what you must accomplish in one year, you need to break that year into quarters, then break the first quarter into weeks, and the first week into days, so you know exactly what you must do today. And as each new week approaches, you must also break that down into days.
When planning, don't forget common sense. Think of your goal as a cow, and your plan is to eat that cow. You can't just pull up a chair, grab the A-1 and start eating that cow - you can't do it. It's too big. Duh! Instead, you would 1) take said cow to local butcher guy, 2) have local butcher guy cut said cow up into steaks, chops & burger, 3) put it in your freezer (if you don't have one, procuring one would be step 2), and 4), eat a burger or chop or steak every day, until you have eaten that cow. If you need to eat the cow by a certain date, determine how much beef you gotta stuff down your throat each day by planning backwards. Then pass the A-1. (Detours happen. Include contingencies in your plan, such as a BBQ for all your friends). If you think you will need to have fish or chicken once a week, for variety, then make sure you calculate those lost days into your plan, and eat more beef on those days you eat beef.
Now that you have a plan, you must work the plan; put it into motion. This is where you will need some logic and common sense, as well as drive, determination, ambition, persistence and all that other stuff you read about in those self-help books.
Keep a daily calendar, or journal. Have it in writing as to exactly what you must accomplish each day, and try not to go to bed at night without having done it. Don't worry if you fall a bit behind, so long as you catch it up in the next day or so. If these "behind" things grow too much, like credit bills, they will get out of hand and you won't be able to catch up. Then you can kiss your goal good-bye, or at the very least you will have to reschedule it. So plan wisely, and break things up into bite-sized pieces. Do not try to take on too much at once.
Each night before I sack out, I write down the things I must do tomorrow. In the morning, even before coffee, I read that to-do list again.
Now for some grand advice - tackle the hardest, dirtiest, meanest tasks first. You are fresher in the morning - not all worn out from a day's work. Better yet, by getting those nasty ones out of the way early, it is much easier to look forward to the rest of the day. The rest of the day will be a piece of cake, and you can end the day on a good note, which helps keep you in the state of mind that is crucial for building wealth.
And don't think you have to do it all by yourself. Don't be afraid to enlist some help when needed. It is better to give up some cash than to fall behind schedule. I have discovered that money is a replenishable resource - time is not! Once you lose a minute, it's gone forever, and cannot be replaced. Ain't no such thing as getting to the Pearly Gates and saying, "Lord, I would like to renew my subscription. Or could you just extend me a loan of a few more years?"
Nope! If given a choice between losing time or losing money, I will always opt for losing the money. Because if I have time, I can make more money. But having money cannot buy me more time. When my number is up, it's up, and that's it.
I do not allow myself to retire at night until I have, at the very least, made some progress toward my goals. And my goals are always in a state of flux - liquid - ready to be changed at a moment's notice. I do this because things change, and I change. I may set a goal for ten years hence, and in three years I may discover something that "outdates" my previous goal. As an example, in 1991 I had finished writing "The Simple Man's Guide to Real Estate", and my goal was to find a publisher and have it in the stores by 1993. In 1992, we began hearing about something called the Internet, and more mysteriously, the World Wide Web. My goals changed dramatically - why settle for a small royalty when I could have the whole pie? And by the time 1993 rolled around, I had already sold more copies on the Internet than I had ever expected. Eventually, I turned the rights over to IntelliBiz, which I founded with some investor friends and began offering the entire program - including software and personal mentoring - at cost (not-for-profit). Why? Because by keeping the price down to cost, more programs would get distributed, more people would earn good money, and they in turn will throw more money at me when I am ready to publish my next book, "Success By Design". I will gladly give up a million in order to bring in three million. Again, it is the same principle behind this free book. And this principle can make you wealthy. As it says in a great book I have read many times, if you want a great harvest, you must plant good seed in fertile ground. Give, and you shall receive. And you need not be a Christian - or even religious - to find the proof in that.
By the way, here's another secret that is understood by few, but if you take it to heart, it will improve every aspect of your life: Love, respect and happiness all have one ironic trait in common - you can only have them when you give them away.
Secret #10 Summary: Plan the work; work the plan. Plan in reverse to insure success rather than willy-nilly forward movement. And remain flexible, because life is not stagnant.
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