THE MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION – CREATING A COMPELLING FUTURE

“Nothing happens unless first a dream.” CARL SANDBURG

Are you ready now to have some fun? Are you willing to be like a kid again and let your imagination run wild? Are you committed to grabbing hold of your life and squeezing from it all the power, passion, and “juice” you know can be yours?

I’ve thrown a lot at you so far. We’ve covered a monumental amount of material in the previous chapters, most of which you can put to use immediately. Some of it, however, will stay tucked away in a comer of your brain, locked in deep storage until just the right moment. We’ve worked hard together to get you in the position to make new decisions, decisions that can make the difference between a life of dreaming and a life of doing.

Many people in life know what they should do, but they never do it. The reason is that they’re lacking the drive that only a compelling future can provide. This chapter is your opportunity to let go and dream at the highest level, to brainstorm out the wildest possibilities and, in so doing, to possibly discover something that will really push your life to the next level. It will help you create energy and momentum.

If you read this chapter actively instead of passively, if you do the exercises and take action, then the following pages will reward you with a vision for your future that will pull you like a magnet through your toughest times. It’s a chapter I’m sure you’ll love returning to again and again anytime you need renewed inspiration for your life. This is your chance to really have some fun and experience your true passion!

What I’m going to ask you to do in the next few pages is to unlock your imagination, throw all “common sense” to the wind, and act as if you’re a kid again—a kid who can literally have anything he wants, a kid who has only to express his heart’s desire, and it will instantly be his. Do you remember the Arabian tales known collectively as The Thousand and One Nights? Can you guess what my favorite story was? That’s right: Aladdin’s Lamp. I think all of us, at one time or another, have longed to get our hands on that magic lamp. All you have to do is rub it, and a mighty genie appears in order to carry out your wishes. I’m here to tell you that you possess a lamp that is not limited to a mere three wishes!

Now it’s time for you to grab hold of this powerful force within you. Once you decide to awaken this giant, you’ll be unstoppable in creating mental, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual abundance beyond your wildest fantasies. Whether your dreams materialize instantly or take shape gradually over time, know that the only limit to what you can have in your life is the size of your imagination and the level of your commitment to making it real.

GIANT GOALS PRODUCE GIANT MOTIVATION

So often I hear people say, “Tony, where do you get your energy? With all that intensity, no wonder you’re so successful. I just don’t have your drive; I guess I’m not motivated. I guess I’m lazy.” My usual response is, “You’re not lazy! You just have impotent goals!”

Frequently I get a confused look to this response, at which point I explain that my level of excitement and drive comes from my goals. Every morning when I wake up, even if I feel physically exhausted from a lack of sleep, I’ll still find the drive I need because my goals are so exciting to me. They get me up early, keep me up late, and inspire me to marshal my resources and use everything I can possibly find within the sphere of my influence to bring them to fruition. The same energy and sense of mission is available to you now, but it will never be awakened by puny goals. The first step is to develop bigger, more inspiring, more challenging goals.

Often people tell me, “My problem is that I really don’t have any goals.” This belief demonstrates their lack of understanding of how goals really work. The human mind is always pursuing something, if nothing more than the ability to reduce or eliminate pain, or avoid anything that could lead to it. Our brains also love to guide us in pursuing anything that can lead to the creation of pleasure. We all have goals. The problem, as I’ve stressed in virtually every chapter so far, is that we are unconscious in our use of these resources.

Most people’s goals are to “pay their lousy bills,” to get by, to survive, to make it through the day—in short, they are caught up in the trap of making a living rather than designing a life. Do you think these goals will give you the power to tap the vast reserve of power within you? Hardly! You and I must remember that our goals affect us, whatever they are. If we don’t consciously plant the seeds we want in the gardens of our minds, we’ll end up with weeds! Weeds are automatic; you don’t have to work to get them. If we want to discover the unlimited possibilities within us, we must find a goal big enough and grand enough to challenge us to push beyond our limits and discover our true potential. Remember that your current conditions do not reflect your ultimate potential, but rather the size and quality of goals upon which you currently are focusing. We all must discover or create a Magnificent Obsession.

GOALS TAKE YOU BEYOND YOUR LIMITS TO A WORLD OF UNLIMITED POWER

When we first set large goals, they may seem impossible to achieve. But the most important key to goal setting is to find a goal big enough to inspire you, something that will cause you to unleash your power. The way I usually know I’ve set the right goal is when it seems impossible but at the same time it’s giving me a sense of crazed excitement just to think about the possibility of achieving it. In order to truly find that inspiration and achieve those impossible goals, we must suspend our belief systems about what we’re capable of achieving.

I’ll never forget the true story of a young boy born into poverty in a run-down section of San Francisco and how his goals seemed impossible to everyone except him. This young man was a fan of football legend Jim Brown, then the running back for the Cleveland Browns. In spite of the fact that this boy was crippled by rickets he had endured as a result of malnutrition, and at the age of six his legs had become permanently bowed and his calves so atrophied that his nickname was “Pencil Legs,” he set a goal to one day become a star running back like his hero. He had no money to attend football games, so whenever the Browns played the 49ers he would wait outside the stadium until the maintenance crew opened the gate late in the fourth quarter. He would then hobble into the stadium and soak up the balance of the game.

Finally, at the age of thirteen, the boy had an encounter he’d dreamed of his whole life. He walked into an ice cream parlor after a 49ers game against the Browns, and whom should he see but his long-time idol! He approached the football star and said, “Mr. Brown, I’m your biggest fan!” Graciously, Brown thanked him. The young boy persisted. “Mr. Brown, you know what?” Brown turned to him again and said, “What is it, son?” The young boy said, “I know every record you’ve ever set, every touchdown you’ve ever scored!” Jim Brown smiled and said, “That’s great,” and returned to his conversation. The young man persisted, “Mr. Brown! Mr. Brown!” Jim Brown turned to him yet again. This time the young man stared deep into his eyes with a passion so intense Brown could feel it and said, “Mr. Brown, one day I’m going to break every one of your records!”

The football legend smiled and said, “That’s great, kid. What’s your name?” The boy grinned from ear to ear and said, “Orenthal, sir. Orenthal James Simpson … My friends call me O.J.”

“We are what and where we are because we have first imagined it.” DONALD CURTIS

O.J. Simpson did indeed go on to break all of Jim Brown’s records, and set some new ones of his own! How do goals create this incredible power to shape destiny? How can they take a young boy afflicted with rickets and allow him to become a legend? Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible—the foundation for all success in life. It’s as if infinite Intelligence will fill any mold you create using the impression of your intensely emotional thoughts. In other words, you can chisel your own existence by the thoughts you consistently project every moment of your life. The conception of your goals is the master plan that guides all thought.

Will you create a masterpiece or interpret life through the paintings of others? Will you put out a thimble to collect your life’s experiences or a giant rain barrel? The answers to these questions have already been given by the goals you consistently seek.

TURNING THE INVISIBLE INTO THE VISIBLE

Look around yourself right now. What do you see? Are you sitting on a sofa, surrounded by fine art or watching a big-screen television employing the latest technology of laser disc? Or are you seated at a desk that holds a telephone, computer, and fax machine? All of these objects were once just ideas in someone’s mind. If I had told you 100 years ago that invisible waves from around the world could be pulled from the air and fed into a box to generate sounds and pictures, wouldn’t you have considered me crazy? Yet today just about every home in America has at least one television set (the average is two!). Someone had to create them, and in order for that to happen, someone had to envision them with clarity.

Is this true only of material objects? No, it also applies to all kinds of activities and processes: the reason a car works is that some enterprising individuals figured out how to harness the process of internal combustion. The answer to our current energy challenges will lie in the imagination and resourcefulness of today’s physicists and engineers. And the resolution to our social crises, like the alarming spread of racial hate groups, homelessness, and hunger, can only be addressed with the inventiveness and compassion of dedicated individuals like you and me.

WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE SET GOALS?

You might be thinking right now, “Well, this all sounds so inspirational, but surely just setting a goal doesn’t make it happen.” I couldn’t agree with you more. All goal setting must be immediately followed by both the development of a plan, and massive and consistent action toward its fulfillment. You already have this power to act. If you haven’t been able to summon it, it’s merely because you have failed to set goals that inspire you.

What’s holding you back? Surely you’ve been exposed to the power of goal setting before reading this book. But do you have a list of clearly defined goals for the results you will absolutely produce in your life mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially? What has stopped you? For many it’s the unconscious fear of disappointment. Some people have set goals in the past and failed to achieve them and, as a result of their disappointment and their tear of future pain, they stop setting goals. They don’t want to have any expectations that could be dashed. Other people set goals, but abuse themselves by tying their entire level of personal happiness to their ability to achieve goals that may be outside their control. Or they lack the flexibility to notice that as they move in the direction of their goals, there are better, more worthy goals all around them.

The process of setting goals works a lot like your eyesight. The closer you get to your destination, the greater clarity you gain, not only on the goal itself, but the details of everything around it. Who knows? You may decide that you like one of those other possibilities even better, that it inspires you even more, and go for that one instead! In fact, sometimes, as we’ll talk about in more depth later, failing to achieve your goal actually draws you closer to your life’s true purpose.

The drive to achieve and contribute comes in many forms. For some people it’s spawned by disappointment or even tragedy. For others it’s fueled simply by the stark realization one day that life is passing them by, that the quality of their life is lessening with each passing moment. For some, inspiration is the source of their motivation. Seeing what’s possible, anticipating the best possible scenario, or realizing that they’re in fact making significant progress can help them to develop tremendous momentum to accomplish even more.

Often, we don’t realize how far we’ve come because we’re so caught up in the process of achieving. A good metaphor for this is when a friend tells you how much your son or daughter has grown, and you say with honest surprise, “Really?” It’s been happening right under your nose, so you’ve failed to notice it. It’s even tougher to see your own growth, so I’d like to share with you a simple process. Please take a moment to do it right now. It will assist you in tapping one or both of the abovedescribed forces of motivation.

YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW

Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of just how far you’ve already come—or just how far you still need to go in life. Use the following pages to make an accurate assessment of where you stood in these ten critical areas five years ago. Specifically, next to each of these categories, give yourself a score on a scale from 0 to 10, 0 meaning you had nothing in this area, and 10 meaning you were absolutely living your life’s desire in that category.

The second step, after giving yourself a score, is to write a sentence next to each category to describe what you were like back then. For instance, five years ago, what were you like physically? You might write down, “I was a 7,” and then follow up with, “I was in fairly good shape, but definitely needed improvement. Five pounds overweight, was running twice a week, but still didn’t eat healthfully. Mediocre levels of energy.”

Take five to ten minutes and do this exercise now. You will find it quite enlightening!

Five Years Ago Score Sentence
Physically
Mentally
Emotionally
Attractiveness
Relationships
Living environment
Socially
Spiritually
Career
Financially
Creating a Compelling Future

Now, for contrast’s sake, let’s see how far you’ve come, or failed to come, in each of these categories. Answer the same questions based on today. In other words, first give yourself a score of 1 to 10 of where you are today in each of these categories, and then write a sentence or two describing what you’re like in each of these categories today.

Today Score Sentence
Physically
Mentally
Emotionally
Attractiveness
Relationships
Living environment
Socially
Spiritually
Career
Financially
Creating a Compelling Future

What have you learned by doing this so far? What distinctions have you made? Have you improved more than you realized in some categories? Have you come a long way? That feels great, doesn’t it? If you haven’t come as far as you would have liked, or if you think that you were doing better five years ago than you are now in some areas, that’s a great message, too—one that may drive you to make changes before many more years pass you by. Remember, dissatisfaction can be a major key to success.

Now complete the exercise by projecting five years into the future. Again, give yourself a score and a sentence describing what you’ll be like in each of these key categories.

Today Score Sentence
Physically
Mentally
Emotionally
Attractiveness
Relationships
Living environment
Socially
Spiritually
Career
Financially
Creating a Compelling Future

THE KEY TO ACHIEVING GOALS

When you set a goal, you’ve committed to CANI! You’ve acknowledged the need that all human beings have for constant, never-ending improvement. There is power in the pressure of dissatisfaction, in the tension of temporary discomfort. This is the kind of pain you want in your life, the kind of pain that you immediately transform into positive new actions.

This kind of pressure is known as eustress as opposed to distress. Eustress can be a driving, positive force that pushes you forward to constantly increase the quality of your life for yourself and all those you have the privilege to touch. Ponder it; use it to spur you forward. Many people try to avoid pressure, yet the absence of any tension or pressure usually creates a sense of boredom and the lackluster experience of life that so many people complain about. In truth, when we feel excited, we feel a sense of pressure or tension within ourselves. However, the level of stress is not overwhelming, but rather stimulating.

There is a difference between being stressed out and being the master of stress. Use stress (eustress) to drive you in the direction you desire; it can generate tremendous transformation within you. By learning to utilize pressure and make it your friend instead of your foe, you can truly hone it into a tool that assists you in living life to the fullest. Besides, we need to remember that our stress level is self induced. So let’s induce it intelligently.

One of the simplest ways you can use pressure as your ally is to enlist the people you respect as you commit to achieve your goals. By publicly declaring that you’ll do whatever it takes to achieve your deepest and truest desires, you will find it more difficult to stray from your path when frustration or challenge set in. Often when you become tired or uncertain, and you begin to feel like things aren’t working out, memories of your public announcement may keep you going, or your friends will assist you by holding you to a higher standard. You may find this a useful tool to help you continue on the road even when it gets a little bumpy.

FAILING TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOAL CAN MEAN ACHIEVING YOUR REAL GOALS

Years ago, a friend approached me and talked about a fantasy he had of living on an island paradise in Fiji. I had heard the dream many times and loved the concept in principle. But I was a practical man: getting an island paradise in Fiji was purely an opportunity for investment, and I justified to myself that if the world ever went through some cataclysm, it would be a great place for my family to escape to. So I scheduled a “business trip/vacation,” and arranged to go with Becky to examine several properties in the islands to assess whether they might be a viable investment.

It took us a couple of days to start letting go of the hectic agendas we’d brought with us. But nothing was going to stop us from achieving our goal of purchasing some raw land. We were on a mission to find a sound investment, so we decided to charter a plane and explore the remote outer islands of Fiji in search of a sterling opportunity.

We spent an adventurous day, landing in several places including the “Blue Lagoon” (from the film of the same name) before finally landing on a secluded beach in the northern group of islands. We rented the only car available and drove up a coconut-strewn dirt road known as the “Hibiscus Highway” for the next three hours.

Then, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, on the side of the road we spotted a little Fijian girl with unusual red hair that stuck straight out from her head. Becky and I were delighted and wanted to take her picture, but also wanted to be respectful to her. So we searched for her parents to ask their permission before doing so,

As we began to look for her home, we spotted a tiny village on the edge of the sea. As we approached, several villagers spotted us, and a large Fijian man came running in our direction. With a huge smile he greeted us, not in some tribal tongue, but in the Queen’s English. “Hi, my name is Joe,” he said in a booming voice. “Please come join us for some kava.” As we entered the village, we were greeted by what seemed like endless smiles and laughter. I was invited into a large hut filled with thirty Fijian men to participate in a kava ceremony, and Becky was invited to stay outside and talk with the women as was traditional in their culture.

I was bowled over by the enthusiasm of these people. Their unbridled81 cheerfulness was amazing. Inside the hut, the Fijian men were all smiling so brightly, so happy to have a visitor, and they welcomed me with “Bula, bula, bula!”, which roughly translated means, “Welcome, be happy, we love you!” The men had been soaking yanggona (a kind of peppery root) in a bowl of water for several hours, and were proudly stirring and ladling out82 a nonalcoholic drink they called kava (what looked to me like muddy water). They invited me to drink from a half-coconut shell, and as I partook of the kava (it tasted about as good as it looked), the men laughed and joked with me and one another. After only a few moments of being with these people, I began to feel a sense of peace that I had never experienced before.

Marveling at their sense of fun and playfulness, I asked them, “What do you think is the purpose of life?” They looked at me as if I’d cracked a cosmic joke and said, seemingly in unison, “To be happy, of course. What else is there?” I said, “It’s true: you all seem so happy here in Fiji.” One man replied, “Yes, I think that here in Fiji we are the happiest people on earth … Of course, I’ve never been anywhere else!” which set off another round of raucous laughter.

Then they decided to break their own rules and bring Becky into the hut. They brought over the only kerosene lamp in the village, along with ukuleles and mandolins, and pretty soon the bure was filled with the entire village as the men, women, and children sang to us in beautiful four-part Fijian harmony. It was one of the most powerful and deeply moving experiences of our lives. The most incredible thing about these people is that they wanted nothing from us except to share the bountiful happiness they felt for life.

Many hours later and after long farewell wishes, we left the village renewed, with a deep sense of peace and balance in our lives. We returned after dark that evening to a magical resort with a heightened awareness and gratitude for the beauty around us. Here we were, in this regal setting, inside our private little thatched-roof cottage perched atop a lava pinnacle, surrounded by lush greenery and moonlit coconut palms with the sounds of the gently lapping waves outside our door. We’d had an incredible day, and felt our lives deeply enriched by the people of this small village. We realized that we had not achieved our goal for the day, but by pursuing it, we’d come across an even greater gift, a gift of value beyond compare.

We’ve returned to Fiji three or four times a year for over six years now. We expected to achieve our goal of purchasing the ultimate investment on our first trip, but it took roughly twenty trips to Fiji to finally make a purchase—not just as an investment, but as an opportunity to share the joy of Fiji with our friends. Instead of buying raw land, two years ago we purchased Namale, the exquisite plantation resort at which we stayed on our first trip! We wanted to take this place of magic—121 acres and three miles of beach frontage—and enhance it even more so we could share it with our friends and other special people. Owning Namale gives me the same joy that I get from conducting seminars where I watch people transform their capacity to enjoy life. When people arrive at Namale, the same transformation occurs, only I don’t have to do anything! I get to just sit back and watch while people from all walks of life, from honeymooners to retired couples to high-powered CEOs burdened by the frenzied pace of big business, let loose and rediscover what it’s like to be a child again. They happily dodge the fifteen feet of spray shooting from the remarkable blowhole on the reef, play volleyball with the locals, ride horseback down the beach, or participate in a native kava ceremony. I love to see the wonder in their eyes as they discover another world under the sea, or drink in a sunset that rivals those of their greatest fantasies, or their smiles that reflect the spiritual connection they feel with the Fijian people after a Sunday morning church service in the village. I never realized when I pursued the goal of an “investment” that I would instead find an environment that would cause us all to remember what’s most important in life. It’s not just getting a goal that matters, but the quality of life you experience along the way.

LIVE THE DREAM

Many people go through life putting off their joy and happiness. To them, goal setting means that “someday,” after they achieve something, only then will they be able to enjoy life to the fullest. The truth is that if we decide to be happy now, we’ll automatically achieve more. While goals provide a magnificent direction and a way to focus, we must constantly strive to live each day to its fullest, squeezing all the joy we can out of each moment. Instead of measuring your success and failure in life by your ability to achieve an individualized and specific goal, remember that the direction we’re heading is more important than individual results. If we continue to head in the right direction, we may not only achieve the goals we’re pursuing but a lot more!

One man whose life I believe represents the power of a compelling future to change one’s abilities, and whose life also reminds us that not achieving our intended goal may actually cause us to achieve a greater one, is the late Michael Landon. Why was this man beloved by so many? He represented many of the highest values within our culture: a strong sense of family, doing the right thing, consistency and integrity, and persistence in the face of adversity, along with a sense of deep caring and love.

This man who brightened so many lives became a cultural hero through a rather indirect route. He grew up in a physically and emotionally abusive environment where his parents fought constantly, his father being Jewish (and hating Catholics) and his mother being a Catholic (who was also anti-Semitic). His mother frequently staged melodramatic suicide attempts and often pursued Michael to the local teen hangout, where she’d jump out of a taxi to beat him with a coat hanger.

A chronic bed wetter by the time he reached high school, Michael was afflicted with uncontrollable facial tics and was making involuntary gulping sounds. He was skinny and filled with fear. This doesn’t sound very much like the confident, self-assured patriarch of the Ingalls family he portrayed on TV’s Little House on the Prairie, does it? What changed his life?

One day, in his sophomore year in high school, the gym teacher took the class out onto the football field to take a shot at throwing an old, rusty javelin. Michael was about to have an experience that would reshape his view of himself forever. When his turn came, he approached the javelin with the same fear and lack of confidence with which he had approached everything else in his life up until then. But that day a miracle happened. Michael hurled that javelin forward, and it flew out of the track area thirty feet farther than anyone else had ever thrown it. In that moment, Michael knew he had a future. As he was to say later in an interview with Life magazine, “On that day, I had found something I could do better than other people, something I could grab on to. And I grabbed. I begged the coach to let me take that javelin home for the summer, and he let me. And I threw it and threw it and threw it.”

Michael had found his compelling future, and he pursued it with a ferocious intensity. The results were absolutely amazing. By the time he returned from summer vacation, his body had begun to transform. In his sophomore year he began doing exercises to build his upper body. And by his senior year, he had broken the U.S. record for high school students in the javelin throw, winning an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California. To put it in his words, the “mouse” had “become a lion.” How’s that for a metaphor?

The story doesn’t end here. Part of Michael’s strength emanated from a belief he developed by watching a movie about Samson and Delilah. He believed that if he grew his hair long, he’d become strong. Indeed, it worked while he was in high school. Unfortunately, his belief was in for a rude awakening when he arrived at USC in the crew-cut era of the fifties. A group of short-haired athletes slammed him to the ground and cut off his long, leonine locks. Even though intellectually he knew better, his strength immediately disappeared. In fact, his javelin throw dropped by more than 30 feet. As he pushed himself to match his past performances, he injured himself so badly that he was out for the year, and the athletic department made it so difficult for him he was compelled to leave. In order to support himself, he had to unload freight in a manufacturing plant. It looked as though his dream had died. How would he ever meet his vision of being an international track star?

Fortunately, one day he was spotted by a Hollywood talent agent who asked him to try out for the part of Little Joe Cartwright in what would be the first color western on television. Bonanza. After that, there was no looking back. Michael’s career as an actor, and eventually a director and producer, was launched. Missing his dream had given him his future. But the pursuit of his original goals, and the direction they took him, sculpted both his physical body and his character, two of the elements of growth that were necessary to prepare him for his ultimate future. Sometimes we need to trust that our disappointments may truly be opportunities in disguise.

THE KEY TO ACHIEVING GOALS

Does this mean that if you pursue your goals and meet with initial failure and frustration, you should move on and do something else? Of course not. No one ever achieved a goal by being interested in its achievement. One must be committed. In fact, in studying the source of people’s success, I’ve found that persistence overshadows even talent as the most valued and effective resource in creating and shaping the quality of life. Most people give up a maddening five feet from their goal!

I believe that life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret.

I’m a student of those who have learned to take the invisible and make it visible. That’s why I respect poets, writers, actors, and entrepreneurs—people who take an idea and bring it to life. One of the people I believe is an outstanding role model of creativity and ever expanding personal growth and success is Peter Guber, the chairman of the board and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. (formerly known as Columbia Pictures). At the age of 48 Peter has become one of the most powerful and respected men in the motion picture industry. He and his partner, Jon Peters, have racked up a combined total of over 52 Academy Award nominations. His work includes films from Midnight Express to Missing, from Rain Man to Batman. In 1989 their joint company, Guber-Peters Entertainment Company, was purchased by Sony for over $200 million in order to get the duo to take charge of the Columbia Pictures empire. How does someone at such a young age achieve such impact in an incredibly competitive industry? The answer is through vision and absolute, never-ending persistence. One day I had the privilege of receiving a phone call from him and finding out that he was a great fan of my Personal Power™ audiotape program. Each morning as he worked out, he listened to my tapes so that as he got his body in shape he could simultaneously get his mind in shape! He wanted to thank me because he’d never made a purchase like this before from television, and certainly never listened to tapes such as these. As a result of this conversation, I got a chance to meet Peter and develop a friendship with him.

I have found that one key ingredient of his incredible success is his ability never to let go once he locks on to a goal. Back in 1979, he and Ion Peters had bought the rights to produce Batman, but it wasn’t until 1988 that they could begin production. Along the way, virtually every- body tried to kill the film. Studio executives said there was no market for it, and that the only people who would see it were kids and comic book nuts (who became inflamed when Michael Keaton was selected to play the powerhouse role of Batman). In spite of continuous disappointment, frustration, and considerable risk, the team of Guber and Peters made Batman one of the biggest blockbusters of all time, netting the highest opening-weekend revenues of any film ever released. Proceeds from the film and all ancillary products are estimated to have produced over $1 billion!

Another example of Guber’s persistence was making the film Rain Man. This film should never even have survived. At various stages of its completion, the script was handled by five writers, and three directors walked off the project, including Steven Spielberg. Some of them wanted Peter Guber to change the script by adding some action, some murders, or at least some sex. They argued that no one would ever watch a film that featured nothing but two guys sitting in a car and traveling across the country, especially when one was “retarded.”

But Peter understands the power of emotion; he consistently chooses to produce movies that move the human spirit. He knows what touches people’s souls, and he refused to budge, telling everyone that this was a film about a relationship, that this story of two brothers getting to know each other was all the action the film needed, and that Rain Man would in fact win an Oscar. The best minds tried to convince him otherwise, including Spielberg, but he would not relent. Sure enough, the 1988 film went on to gamer four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Persistence pays. Guber believes that with every new film you’re starting over, that in Hollywood you’re only as good as your last film. Doesn’t this create a lot of fear? You bet! But he says he uses his fear and the stress of the environment not to paralyze, but rather to propel himself forward. Too often people never even begin to pursue a goal out of their fear that they’ll fail. Or worse, they start pursuing a goal, then give up too soon. They may have been on track to achieve what they want, but they fail to maintain the patience of the stonecutter. Because they’re not getting immediate feedback, they give up far too soon. If there’s any one skill that I’ve seen in champions—people who have really achieved their highest desires—it’s an unbelievable level of persistence. They’ll change their approach as necessary, but they won’t abandon their ultimate vision.

UNLEASH THE POWER OF THE RETICULAR ACTIVATING SYSTEM TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

What is the power that a Peter Guber or a Michael Landon taps into? What is this seemingly extrasensory perception they have to notice anything and everything that relates to their goal or can be used to achieve their heart’s desire? I believe that in each case, these individuals have learned to use a mechanism in their brains known as the Reticular Activating System.

It sounds complex, and undoubtedly the actual process is, but the function of your RAS is simple and profound: it determines what you will notice and what you will pay attention to. It is the screening device of your mind. Remember that your conscious mind can focus only on a limited number of elements at any one time, so your brain expends a lot of effort deciding what not to pay attention to. There are countless stimuli bombarding you right now, but your brain deletes most of it and focuses on what you believe is important. Its mechanism for achieving this is the RAS. Thus your RAS is directly responsible for how much of reality you consciously experience.

Let me offer you an example. Have you ever bought a new outfit or car, and then suddenly noticed it everywhere you looked? Why was that? Didn’t they exist before? Yes, of course they did, but you’re noticing them now because your purchase of this item was a clear demonstration to your RAS that anything related to this object is now significant and needs to be noted. You have an immediate and heightened awareness of something that actually has always been around you.

This shift in mental posture aligns you more precisely with your goals. Once you decide that something is a priority, you give it tremendous emotional intensity, and by continually focusing on it, any resource that supports its attainment will eventually become clear. Therefore, it’s not crucial to understand exactly how you’ll achieve your goals when you first set them. Trust that your RAS will point out what you need to know along the way.

“Climb high; Climb far. Your goal the sky; Your aim the star.” INSCRIPTION AT WILLIAMS COLLEGE

Eight years ago, in 1983, I did an exercise that created a future so compelling that my whole life changed as a result. As pan of the overall process of raising my standards, I established a whole new set of goals, writing down all the things I would no longer settle for, as well as what I was committed to having in my life. I set aside all my limiting beliefs and sat down on the beach with my journal. I wrote continuously for three hours, brainstorming every possibility of what I could ever imagine doing, being, having, creating, experiencing, or contributing. The time line I gave myself for achieving these goals was any time from tomorrow to the next twenty years. I never stopped to think whether I could actually achieve these goals or not. I simply captured any possibility that inspired me, and wrote it down.

From that beginning, I refined the process six months later when I was invited along with a group of parapsychologists to the USSR to study psychic phenomena directly from university experts throughout Russia. As my group traveled the country, I spent many hours on the train from Moscow to Siberia and back to Leningrad. With nothing to write on but the back of an old Russian map, I wrote down all my long-term goals for my spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, and financial destinies, and then created a series of milestones for each one, working backward. For example, in order to achieve my top spiritual goal ten years from now, what kind of person would I have to be, and what things would I need to accomplish by nine years from now, eight years, seven years, and so on, reaching all the way back until today? What specific action could I take today that would lead me on that road to the destiny of my choice?

On that day, I set specific goals that transformed my life. I described the woman of my dreams, detailing what she would be like mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. I described what my kids would be like, the huge income that I would enjoy, and the home that I would live in, including the third-story circular office area that would overlook the ocean.

A year and a half later. Life magazine was in my home, interviewing me as to how I had made such incredible shifts in my life. When I pulled out my map to show them all the goals I had written down, it was amazing to see how many I’d achieved. I had met the woman I described, and married her. I had found and purchased the home I’d envisioned, down to the finest detail, including the third-story office in the turret of the castle, overlooking the ocean. When I wrote them down initially, I had no assurances whatsoever that these goals could be achieved. But I had been willing to suspend judgment for a short period of time in order to make it work.

TAKE YOUR FIRST STEP NOW!

What we are going to do now is take the first step in turning the invisible into the visible, in making your dreams a reality. By the time we are finished, you will have created for yourself an anticipation so great, a future so compelling, that you can’t help but take the first steps today. We’ll be covering four areas:

1) Personal development goals,

2) Career/business/economic goals,

3) Toys/adventure goals, and

4) Contribution goals.

For each of these you’ll have a set period of time in which to brain-storm. Write rapidly—keep your pen moving, don’t censor yourself, just get it all down on paper. Constantly ask yourself, what would I want for my life if I knew I could have it any way I wanted it? What would I go for if I knew I could not fail? Suspend the need to know precisely how. Just discover what it is you truly want. Do this without questioning or doubting your capability.

Remember, if you get inspired enough, the power you’ll unleash94 from within will find a way to manifest your desire. Also, initially, don’t waste time getting overly specific with things like, “I want a split-level house on Nob Hill, in San Francisco, with all-white, contemporary furniture and a splash of color here and there—oh, and don’t forget the Victorian rose garden.” Just write, “Dream house. Big garden. San Francisco.” You’ll fill in the details later.

So right now, put yourself in a state of mind of absolute faith and total expectation that you can create anything you want. I’d like you to imagine that you are a kid again on Christmas Eve. You’re in a department store, about to sit on Santa’s lap. Do you remember what this was like? If you talk to kids before Christmas, they have no trouble at all coming up with a fun, outrageous list; they’ll say, “I’ll tell you what I want. I want a swimming pool. In fact, I want two swimming pools: one for you, and one for me!” An adult would probably turn to them and say, “What? You’ll be lucky to get a tub in the backyard!” We’ll get practical later, but for now, the point is to be a kid: give yourself the freedom to explore the possibility of life without limits.

I. Personal Development Goals

Step 1: On the chart provided (or on additional sheets of paper when you need more room) write down everything that you’d like to improve in your life that relates to your own personal growth. How would you like to improve your physical body? What are your goals for your mental and social development? Would you like to learn, for example, to speak another language? Become a speed reader? Would there be value in reading all of Shakespeare’s works? Emotionally, what would you like to experience, achieve, or master in your life? Maybe you want to be able to instantly break patterns of frustration or rejection. Maybe you want to feel compassion for those people you used to feel anger toward. What are some of your spiritual goals? Do you want to feel a greater sense of connection with your Creator? Or have an expanded feeling of compassion for your neighbor?

The key in writing these goals is to write down everything and anything you can imagine without letting your mind stop. They can be short-term goals—something you want to accomplish this week, this year—or they can be long-term goals, something you want to accomplish any time between now and the next twenty years. Brainstorm for a minimum of five minutes. Don’t stop writing at any time. Be silly, be crazy, be a kid—sometimes a weird idea leads to a great destiny! Here are a few questions you may want to review just before beginning, but after you review them, go to work and begin your goal setting right now!

What would you like to leam?

What are some skills you want to master in your lifetime?

What are some character traits you’d like to develop?

Who do you want your friends to be?

Who do you want to be?

What could you do for your physical well-being?

Get a massage every week? Every day?

Create the body of your dreams?

Join a gym—and actually use it?

Hire a vegetarian chef?

Complete the Iron Man Triathlon in Honolulu?

Would you like to conquer your fear of flying?

Or of public speaking?

Or of swimming?

What would you want to learn?

To speak French?

Study the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Dance and/or sing?

Study with violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman?

Who else would you like to study with?

Would you like to take in a foreign exchange student?

Step 2: Now that you’ve got a list of goals for your personal development that you can get excited about, take a minute now to give a time line to each and every one of these. At this stage, it’s not important to know how you’re going to accomplish these goals. Just give yourself a time frame from which to operate. Remember that goals are dreams with a deadline. The simple act of deciding when you’ll achieve a goal sets in motion conscious and unconscious forces to make your goals a reality. So if you’re committed to accomplishing a goal within one year or less, put a 1 next to it. If you’re committed to accomplishing it within three years, put a 3 next to it, and so on for five, ten, and twenty years.

Step 3: Now choose your single most important one-year goal in this category—a goal that, if you were to accomplish it this year, would give you tremendous excitement and make you feel that the year was well invested. Take two minutes to write a paragraph about why you are absolutely committed to achieving this goal within the year. Why is this compelling for you? What will you gain by achieving it? What would you miss out on if you didn’t achieve it? Are these reasons strong enough to get you to actually follow through? If not, either come up with a better goal or better reasons. The most important distinction that I made about goals years ago was that if I had a big enough why to do something—a strong enough set of reasons—I could always figure out how to achieve it. Goals alone can inspire, but knowing the deepest reasons why you want them in the first place can provide you with the long-lasting drive and motivation necessary to persist and achieve.

II. Career/Business/Economic Goals

The next step is setting your career/business/economic goals.

Step 1: Write down anything you want for your career, business, or financial life. What levels of financial abundance do you want to achieve? To what position do you want to rise? Take five minutes now to create a list that’s worth a million! Do you want to earn: $50,000 a year? $100,000 a year? $500,000 a year? $1 million a year? $10 million a year? So much that you can’t possibly count it?

What goals do you have for your company? Would you like to take your company public? Would you like to become the leader in your industry?

What do you want your net worth to be? When do you want to retire? How much investment income would you like to have so you no longer have to work? By what age do you want to achieve financial independence?

What are your money management goals? Do you need to: Balance your budget? Balance your checkbook? Get a financial coach?

What investments would you make? Would you: Finance an exciting start-up business? Buy a vintage coin collection? Start a diaper delivery service? Invest in a mutual fund? Set up a living trust? Contribute to a pension plan?

How much do you want to save toward giving your kids a college education? How much do you want to be able to spend on travel and adventure? How much do you want to be able to spend on new “toys’?

What are your career goals? What would you like to contribute to your company? What breakthroughs would you like to create?

Would you like to become a supervisor? A manager? A CEO? What would you like to be known for within your profession? What kind of impact do you want to have?

Step 2: Now that you’ve written down all your most compelling career, business, and economic goals, take a minute to give a time line to each one, as you did with your personal development goals. If you’re committed to accomplishing that goal in the next year or less, write a 1 next to it. If you’re committed to achieving it within the next five years, write a 5, and so on. Remember, what matters is not whether you know how you will attain that goal, or whether the time line is reasonable, but whether you are absolutely committed to attaining it.

Step 3: Next, choose your top one-year goal in the category of business and economics, and take two minutes to write a paragraph about it, explaining why you are absolutely committed to achieving this goal within the year. Be sure to stack up as many reasons as you can for achieving this goal. Pick reasons that will really drive you, that make you passionate and excited about the process. Again, if these reasons aren’t compelling enough to get you to actually follow through, then come up with either better reasons or a better goal.

III. Toys/Adventure Goals

If there were no limits economically, what are some of the things you would like to have? What are some of the things you would like to do? If the genie were before you and any wish you made would immediately be fulfilled, what would you want most in the world?

Step 1: Take five minutes to write down everything you could ever want, have, do or experience in your life. Here are some questions to get you going:

Would you like to build, create, or purchase a: Cottage? Castle? Beach house? Catamaran sailboat? Private yacht? Island? Lamborghini sports car? Chanel wardrobe? Helicopter? Jet plane? Music studio? Art collection? Private zoo stocked with giraffes, alligators, and hippos? Virtual Reality machine? Would you like to attend: An opening of a Broadway play? A film premiere in Cannes? A Bruce Springsteen concert? A Kabuki theater production in Osaka, Japan?

Would you like to: Race any of the Andrettis at the next Indy 500? Play Monica Seles and Steffi Graf, or Boris Becker and Ivan Lendl, in a doubles match? Pitch the World Series? Carry the Olympic torch? Go one-on-one with Michael Jordan? Swim with the pink dolphins in the oceans of Peru? Race camels between the pyramids of Egypt with your best friend? And win? Trek with the Sherpas in the Himalayas? Would you like to: Star in a Broadway play? Share an on-screen kiss with Kim Basinger? Dirty dance with Patrick Swayze? Choreograph a modem ballet with Mikhail Baryshnikov?

What exotic places would you visit? Would you: Sail around the world like Thor Heyerdahl in the Kon-Tifei? Visit Tanzania and study chimpanzees with Jane Goodall? Sail on the Calypso with Jacques Cousteau? Lounge on the sands of the French Riviera? Sail a yacht around the Greek Isles? Participate in the Dragon Festivals in China? Take part in a shadow dance in Bangkok? Scuba dive in Fiji? Meditate in a Buddhist monastery? Take a stroll through the Prado in Madrid? Book a ride on the next space shuttle flight?

Steps 2 and 3: Again, give a time line to each one, choose your top one-year goal in this category, and take two minutes to write a paragraph explaining why you are absolutely committed to achieving it within the next year. Back it up with strong reasons, and, of course, if these reasons aren’t compelling enough to get you to actually follow through, then come up with either better reasons or a better goal.

IV. Contribution Goals

These can be the most inspiring, compelling goals of all, because this is your opportunity to leave your mark, creating a legacy that makes a true difference in people’s lives. It could be something as simple as tithing to your church or committing your household to a recycling program, or as broad as setting up a foundation to offer opportunities to disadvantaged people.

Step 1: Take five minutes to brainstorm out all the possibilities. How could you contribute? Would you: Help build a shelter for the homeless? Adopt a child? Volunteer at a soup kitchen? Read to the blind? Visit a man or woman serving a prison sentence? Volunteer with the Peace Corps for six months? Take balloons to an old folks’ home? How could you help to: Protect the ozone layer? Clean up the oceans? Eliminate racial discrimination? Halt the destruction of the rain forests? What could you create? Would you: Come up with a perpetual motion machine? Develop a car that runs on garbage? Design a system for distributing food to all who hunger?

Steps 2 and 3: As before, give each goal a time line, select your top one-year goal in this category, and take two minutes to write a paragraph explaining why you are absolutely committed to achieving it within the next year.

“There is nothing like dream to create the future. Utopia today, flesh95 and blood tomorrow.” VICTOR HUGO

Now you should have four master one-year goals that absolutely excite and inspire you, with sound, compelling reasons behind them. How would you feel if in one year you had mastered and attained them all? How would you feel about yourself? How would you feel about your life? I can’t stress enough the importance of developing strong enough reasons to achieve these goals. Having a powerful enough why will provide you with the necessary how. Make sure that you look at these four goals daily. Put them where you’ll see them every day, either in your journal, on your desk at the office, or over your bathroom mirror while you’re shaving or putting on makeup. If you back your goals up with a solid commitment to CANI!, to constant and never-ending improvement of each of these areas, then you’re sure to make progress daily. Make the decision now to begin to follow through on these goals, beginning immediately.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR GOALS REAL

Now that you have a set of compelling goals and clear-cut reasons for their achievement, the process for making the goals real has already begun. Your RAS will become sensitized as you consistently review your goals and reasons, and will attract to you any resource of value toward the achievement of your clearly defined desire. To ensure the absolute attainment of your goals, you must condition your nervous system in advance to feel the pleasure they will surely bring. In other words, at least twice a day, you must rehearse and emotionally enjoy the experience of achieving each one of your most valued goals. Each time you do this, you need to create more emotional joy as you see, feel, and hear yourself living your dream.

This continuous focus will create a neural pathway between where you are and where you want to go. Because of this intense conditioning you’ll find yourself feeling a sense of absolute certainty that you’ll achieve your desires, and this certainty will translate into a quality of action that ensures your success. Your confidence will allow you to attract the appropriate coaches and role models who will guide you in taking the most effective actions to produce results quickly rather than the traditional trial-and-error method that can take decades or more. Don’t wait another day to begin this process. Start today!

THE PURPOSE OF THE GOAL

Often as we pursue our goals we fail to realize their true impact on the environment around us. We think that achieving our goal is the end. But if we had a greater understanding we’d realize that often in the pursuit of our goals, we set in motion processional effects that have consequences even more far reaching than we ever intended. After all, does the honeybee deliberate on how to propagate flowers? Of course not, but in the process of seeking the sweet nectar from the flowers, a bee will invariably pick up pollen on its legs, fly to the next flower, and set in motion a chain of pollination that will result in a hillside awash in color. The businessman pursues profit, and in so doing can create jobs that offer people a chance for incredible personal growth and an increase in the quality of life. The process of earning a livelihood enables people to meet such goals as putting their kids through college. Children in turn contribute by becoming doctors, lawyers, artists, businessmen, scientists, and parents. The chain is never ending.

Goals are a means to an end, not the ultimate purpose of our lives. They are simply a tool to concentrate our focus and move us in a direction. The only reason we really pursue goals is to cause ourselves to expand and grow. Achieving goals by themselves will never make us happy in the long term; it’s who you become, as you overcome the obstacles necessary to achieve your goals, that can give you the deepest and most long-lasting sense of fulfillment. So maybe the key question you and I need to ask is, “What kind of person will I have to become in order to achieve all that I want?” This may be the most important question that you can ask yourself, for its answer will determine the direction you need to head personally.

Please take a moment now, and write a paragraph describing all the character traits, skills, abilities, attitudes, and beliefs that you would need to develop in order to achieve all of the goals you’ve written down previously. Certainly you’ll have to take action to achieve those goals. But what qualities will you need to have as a person in order to turn this invisible set of commitments into your visible reality? Before going on, take a moment right now and write this paragraph.

THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP

For years I had set goals and not followed through. I’d get inspired in the moment, get all pumped up, but three weeks later I noticed I wasn’t following through on anything I’d written down. Writing a goal is certainly the first step, and most people don’t even do that; just the action of committing your ideas to paper begins to make them more real. But the most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum. The most important rules that I ever adopted to help me in achieving my goals were those I learned from a very successful man who taught me to first write down the goal, and then to never leave the site of setting a goal without first taking some form of positive action toward its attainment.

As I emphasized in Chapter 2, a true decision is one that you act upon, and one that you act upon now. Use the momentum you’ve built up in coming up with your top four one-year goals. The most powerful way to continue this momentum is to take immediate action as soon as you finish this chapter. Even the smallest step—a phone call, a commitment, sketching out an initial plan—will move you forward. Then develop a list of simple things you can do every day for the next ten days. I can promise you that ten days of small actions in the direction of your goals will begin to create a chain of habits that will ensure your long-term success.

If your number-one personal development goal for the next year is to learn jazz dancing, for instance, “let your fingers do the walking” through those yellow pages today. Call the dance studio for a schedule, and enroll in a class.

If your top toy/adventure goal for the next year is a Mercedes-Benz, call your local dealership for a brochure, or visit them this afternoon and take a test drive. I’m not saying that you need to buy it today, but at least find out what it costs or drive it so that it becomes more real. Your intensified desire will help you to start putting together a plan.

If your top economic goal for the next year is to earn $100,000, then start evaluating now what steps you must take. Who’s already earning this kind of income who can teach you the keys to their effectiveness? Do you need to get a second job in order to earn this kind of income? What skills do you need to hone in order to achieve it? Do you need to start saving more than you spend, and invest the difference so that your income can flow from more than just your work? Do you need to start a new venture? What resources do you really need to gather?

Remember, you need to experience the feeling of achieving your top one-year goals in each of the four categories at least once a day. Ideally, you’ll look at them once in the morning and once at night. Review your entire list every six months to ensure that your goals stay vital. You may want to go through the brainstorming process again in order to create some new goals, and I’m sure you’ll want to add and delete goals as your life takes on exciting new shape.

An additional distinction that’s critical for long-term success is that achieving our goals can be a curse unless we have already set up a new set of higher goals before we reach the first. As soon as you find yourself about to achieve a goal, you need to make sure that you design the next set of goals immediately. Otherwise you’ll experience something we all need to avoid: outrunning our dream. How many times have we read about people who achieve their ultimate life goals only to say, “Is that all there is?” because they feel they have no place to go from the top?

A classic example of this is several Apollo astronauts who prepared their entire lives for the ultimate mission: to land on the moon. When they finally did it they were euphoric, but after returning to earth, some of them developed a level of emotional depression beyond what most people could imagine. After all, there was now nothing to look forward to. What could be a bigger goal than making it to the moon, doing the impossible, and exploring outer space? Maybe the answer is in exploring the equally uncharted frontier of inner space of our minds, our hearts, and our souls.

I’ve heard about young women who plan their weddings for months, sometimes years, pouring all of their creativity, resources, and even identity, into a perfect fairytale fantasy. They pin all their hopes and dreams on what they expect will be a once-in-a-lifetime event. After the glow wears off, the young bride, like the astronaut, feels let down. How do you follow up the peak moment of your life? She needs to look forward to the more important, never-ending adventure of building a relationship. How do people achieve their heart’s desire and still feel the excitement and passion that come from aiming toward a goal? As they approach what they’ve pursued for so long, they immediately establish a new set of compelling goals. This guarantees a smooth transition from completion to new inspiration and a continued commitment to growth.

Without that commitment, we’ll do what’s necessary to feel satisfied, but never venture outside our comfort zones. That’s when we lose our drive: we lose our desire to expand, and we begin to stagnate. Often people die emotional and spiritual deaths long before they ever leave their physical bodies. The way to break out of this trap is to realize that contribution may be the ultimate goal. Finding a way to help others—those we care about deeply—can inspire us for a lifetime. There is always a place in the world for those who are willing to give of their time, energy, capital, creativity, and commitment.

Consider Robin Williams, for example. Here is a man who has a great advantage over his late friend John Belushi because he has discovered a way to make sure he never runs out of goals. Robin and his friends, Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal, have found a mission that will continually tap their greatest resources: helping the homeless. Arnold Schwarzenegger has found a similar emotional reward in his relationship with the Special Olympics and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. All these successful people have learned that there’s nothing quite so compelling as a feeling of sincere contribution.

Make sure your next level of dreams will continually pull you forward in a constant, never-ending search for improvement. A commitment to CANI! is truly the universal insurance policy for life-long happiness. Remember that a compelling future is the food on which our souls thrive—we all need a continued sense of emotional and spiritual growth.

PROGRAM YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS

Now that you have goals that truly inspire you, that will drive you forward, you’ve got to make them so compelling that they feel real in your nervous system. How do you develop that ironclad sense of certainty? First, clear away any roadblocks by figuring out up front what could possibly prevent you, and deal with them now rather than fifty miles down the road. Then, make commitments to people you know will hold you to your higher standard. Reinforce your new neural pathways by continuous rehearsal, with repetition and emotional intensity. Imagine your goals vividly again and again. Incorporate the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements that will make your goal a reality!

THE ULTIMATE LESSON

The most important lesson in this chapter is that a compelling future creates a dynamic sense of growth. Without this, we’re only half alive. A compelling future is not an accessory, but a necessity. It allows us not only to achieve, but to partake of the deep sense of joy, contribution, and growth that gives meaning to life itself.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish … .”

I remember reading about the astounding number of people in this country who die within three years of retiring, which proves to me that if you lose the sense that you are producing or contributing in some way, you literally lose the will to live, and that if you do have a reason to hang on, you will. In fact, studies have found that elderly or ill people who are close to death often hang on until just after the holidays. As long as they had something like Christmas and the family visit to look forward to, they had a reason to live, but after it passed, they had no compelling future. This phenomenon isn’t true only of our own country; it’s been noted in cultures around the world. For example, in China the death rate drops off right before and during major festivals, and picks up again as soon as the festivals are over.

It doesn’t matter if you’re eighteen or eighty—you’ll still need something to drive you forward. The inspiration you seek is found within, waiting to be called upon by an unforeseen challenge or inspired request.

Colonel Harlan Sanders found it at age sixty-five, when his meager Social Security check arrived. His anger drove him to action. We don’t have to wait for an event in order to have the inspiration. We can design it.

Venerable funnyman George Bums understands the importance and power of a compelling future. When asked to sum up his philosophy of life, he once replied, “You have to have something to get you out of bed. I can’t do anything in bed, anyway. The most important thing is to have a point, a direction you’re headed.”* Now in his nineties, he’s still sharpening his wit, still taking on movie and TV projects, and I recently heard that he booked himself at the London Palladium in the year 2000, when he’ll be 104 years old—how’s that for creating a compelling future?! Use your power. You now know what to do to inspire yourself. It’s time to do it. If you’ve read this chapter passively up until now, go back and do the exercises. They’re fun, and they’re easy. First, get your list of your top four one-year goals. Second, get clear on the “why.” Third, develop the ritual of reviewing your goals and rehearsing the joy of their achievement daily for ten days. Fourth, surround yourself with role models and those who can help you develop a plan that will guide you in making it all real. Each of these steps will help you to program your RAS and sensitize you to all the possible resources you can incorporate to bring your goals to fruition. This consistent review will also provide for you the sense of certainty that you need to get yourself to take action. So let’s turn to the next chapter, and let me share with you a way to break up any obstacles that would stop you by taking on …

-Tony Robbins

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