The Wall

Coal Akida:

When I was 15, I wanted a job at McDonald’s.

My dad said to me, “If you want a job so bad, I will pay you $6 an hour,” which was a lot of money 25 years ago. He wanted to pay me to stand and stare directly at the wall. He said, “I will pay you $6 an hour every hour you stand looking at the wall.”

I was so excited my dreams of buying a motorcycle came to the edges of my mouth, and I asked him “for real?”

Then, being young, I asked “Is there a limit to how many hours I can stand?”

“No” he said, “every day, all day.”

My younger brother was jealous and said, “What about me?” My dad said, “You too!” So we both faced the wall in the dining room and he only had two rules: we must pay attention to the wall and not lean on it.

My younger 12-year-old brother lasted less than a half hour and I lasted two and half hours; standing was okay, but focusing on the wall was near torture.

Having no goals […] not trying to exceed your own abilities in any way is simply choosing a way of life that leads to the wall, which then leads to drugs and alcohol to cope.

I can always spot someone who ended up choosing the wall. They have this dead look in their eyes, smeared with a wet glaze as if a hundred tears have built up inside them and yet not a single tear can fall. Be careful of the wall that my father taught us about, for it can lead to some very very bad places.

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Write It Down, Make It Happen

Henriette Anne Klauser on the power of writing down your goals:

Without further ado, before you read the chapters which follow, I want you to compose your own list of goals. Go to an espresso bar and buy a latte or put on a pot of peppermint tea at your own house. Set the stereo for the kind of music you like best and start to write.

Write fast. Do not linger over the page. If you find yourself dismissing a goal as grandiose or farfetched, write it anyway and put a star next to it. That’s a live one.

Do not be afraid of wanting too much. Write down even those ambitions which have no practical means of accomplishment.

Keep on writing. Write from your heart and make the list as long as you like.

Lou Holtz, the famous football coach, did this in1966. He was twenty-eight years old when he sat down at his dining room table and wrote out one hundred and seven impossible goals. He had just lost his job, he had no money in the bank, and his wife, Beth, was eight months pregnant with their third child. He was so discouraged that Beth gave him a copy of The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz to help lift his spirits. Up until then, Holtz says, he was totally lacking in motivation.

“There are so many people, and I was one of them, who don’t do anything special with their lives. The book said you should write down all the goals you wanted to achieve before you died.”

The goals he wrote in answer to that challenge were both personal and professional. Most seemed impossible to a twenty-eight-year-old out-of-work man. His list included having dinner at the White House, appearing on the Tonight Show, meeting the pope, becoming head coach at Notre Dame, winning a national championship, being coach of the year, landing on an aircraft carrier, making a hole in one, and jumping out of an airplane.

If you check out Coach Lou Holtz’s website, along with this list you will get pictures—pictures of Holtz with the pope, with President Ronald Reagan at the White House, yukking it up with Johnny Carson. In addition, a description of what it was like to jump out of an airplane and get not one but two holes in one.

Of the one hundred and seven goals on his list from 1966, Lou Holtz has achieved eighty-one.

So give yourself permission to dream, to be totally unrealistic. (Richard Bolles says, “One of the saddest lines in the world is, ‘Oh, come now, be realistic.’”) Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Endow a university or a hospital. Compose an opera. Start an orphanage. Become a better parent. Play the flute in Carnegie Hall. Discover a cure for an untreatable disease. Get a patent. Appear on TV, or whatever equivalent grandiose schemes you can come up with—if money were no object and time were not a factor. Money is no object, and time is not a factor.

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Success Is Goals

Brian Tracy:

Success is goals, and all else is commentary. All successful people are intensely goal oriented. They know what they want and they are focused single mindedly on achieving it, every single day.

Your ability to set goals is the master skill of success. Goals unlock your positive mind and release ideas and energy for goal attainment. Without goals, you simply drift and flow on the currents of life. With goals, you fly like an arrow, straight and true to your target.

The truth is that you probably have more natural potential than you could use if you lived one hundred lifetimes. Whatever you have accomplished up until now is only a small fraction of what is truly possible for you. One of the rules for success is this, it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; all that matters is where you’re going. And where you are going is solely determined by yourself and your own thoughts.

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200 Hours

Steve Pavlina:

How many goals have you failed to achieve because you didn’t put in the time?

If you throw 200 hours at your #1 goal, could you make a serious dent in it? Very likely you could. Even if you don’t know how to achieve the goal, 200 hours of education would take you pretty far. “I don’t know how” is a nonsense excuse when there are so many educational resources available these days.

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Velleity

Edwin Bliss on goal setting:

I can’t think of a better investment of two or three hours than this process of getting all of your goals on paper. Everything that you can think of that you’d like to accomplish between now and when you’re ninety-five. Write it down.

Don’t stop and think, don’t meditate, just write it all down. The editing of your list is a separate process, that comes later. The first step is to get everything — fill as many sheets of paper as you can with a list of all the things you would like to accomplish in every phase of your life.

And regarding velleity:

Editing your list involves one other thing — in addition to making each of your goals more specific — and that is: you want to eliminate the velleity from your list. Velleity means wanting something, but not wanting it badly enough to pay the price for it. Every time you start making these lists of goals, a lot of velleity creeps in… things you’d love to do, but you’re never going to.

(…)

There’s a price to be paid. Are you willing to pay that price? Are you willing to invest that much time and effort and energy and money to achieve that particular goal? If the answer is “yes”, good. You’ve identified a goal.

If the answer’s “no”, that’s good, too. You’ve identified some velleity, so cross it off. Get it off your list. We don’t want a single thing on that list that you are not committed to. It’s been weighed, you’ve decided, you’re willing to pay the price, and you can go ahead and do it.

The entire recording is well worth listening to.

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Just Start

Pete Michaud:

You will never figure “everything” out. You will never be able to make everything perfect before you start. Just make a decision and run with it. Figure it out as you go along.

You will never live the life you want by wandering aimlessly through hypothetical scenarios. I’ve tried it, it doesn’t work. I’ve also tried just doing something. That worked.

I implore you: find a quiet place in your mind, identify your desires free of caveats, and make a plan to move toward those desires. Don’t try to plan for all eventualities. That will just prevent action.

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