As children, we held the wildest dreams for our lives. Remember how you wanted to be an astronaut and explore outer space? Or maybe your sights were set on becoming president. I wanted to be a major league baseball player. No goal seemed out of reach… why would it? We were invincible, and we could do anything. The world seemed ripe with opportunity and we were full of optimism. So… what happened?
When did the world become closed off to us? When did we limit our aspirations and begin aiming low? Why is it that during the process of “growing up,” we became “realistic?” Why must we spend our entire youth in school, find a boring but secure job, keep our ambition in check, and live vicariously through action heroes on television and in the movies?
This post is based on the best-selling on the #1 best-selling book,
“Buy Your Own Island,” edited and used here with consent.
In this article, I’m going to teach you the process that I’ve used to dramatically change my life and simultaneously issue you a challenge.
In this website, we feature all kinds of people fearlessly doing inspirational things. These are ordinary people – no different than you and I – who share the same fears, insecurities, and doubts. Yet they all went on to overcome them to reach the other side.
I want you to join them, and to create your own success story. That’s why I’ve decided to share this exercise with you. This comes straight from my best-selling book.
My goal is for you to start believing in your own ability to take real control of your life and circumstances, to shape and improve the world around you, and create the type of future that you really want.
But first, let me ask you something.
When was the last time you visited any major bookstore (the ones that still exist!)? Take a stroll around the self-improvement section. You’ll see dozens of books that talk about the importance of setting goals, how to think like a winner, and so on. It’s all great advice.
Most people merely read the books, form some judgment one way or the other, and then put them down, never to think about them again. Never mind acting on the information.
Don’t let this be you.
Most of us are too busy filling our lives with minutiae – picking up the milk, upgrading to the latest iPhone/iPad/iPod, looking for a new roommate, shopping for clothes, texting friends, checking email, Snapchatting, liking photos, watching porn, etc… that we don’t leave ourselves with the time or mental capacity to focus on the big picture or the direction we want our lives to take.
I think that a big reason more people aren’t doing MORE in life, is because they haven’t spent enough time to really think about what it is they really want. Imagine a ship in the ocean with no particular port as the destination. It simply bobs and floats along, and never really goes anywhere. A person without any direction or goals never really goes anywhere; they simply float along.
Take a moment to think about to it. Ask yourself WHAT you want to do and WHY you really want to do it. Go to the beach, or your favorite park, someplace quiet where you can be alone. Once you finish, come back to this post and keep reading.
3 Steps to Start – Your Action Plan
Now, I’d like to humbly suggest a goal-setting exercise that has radically transformed how I (and several of my successful friends) approach life. It’s made every dream I’ve had of doing thus far completely within my reach, and I know it will for you too.
It’s based on the “Dreamlining Exercise” from the Four Hour Workweek. I’ve taken this fine exercise, and developed a few ways to make this exercise even MORE powerful and to improve the odds that a person will actually follow-through and implement these “dream goals.”
It’s a simple 3-step process, which I’ll share with you now.
Step 1. Have an honest conversation with yourself.
Do you currently harbor alibis holding you back from doing what you know you need to do? Many people – including myself – held these same alibis and went on to overcome them, which is what you also must do.
Finally, spend some serious time contemplating, at a core level, the type of life that you truly wish to create. What excites you, and makes you come alive? That’s a great place to start. Write it all down so you can pick it all apart.
Step 2. Visit the “Ideal Lifestyle Costing” page on the 4HWW blog, you will find a free template that you can download and print out.
Click the link above and you’ll find the page with another link to download the template. Take some quiet time to yourself and think about all of the of the things you dream about:
You want to push yourself to fulfill these “dreamgoals” within a 3 or 6-month period, so it pressures you to begin acting now. Write a star next to the 4 most important goals, and write down the steps you need to take to make them a reality: today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. Also, try to accurately suss the cost required for each dreamgoal, either in terms of time or money needed (or both).
Many of the goals you write down are “periphery” goals that can be accomplished alongside of the main ones. For example, one of my main goals was to train to be a competitive Muay Thai fighter in Bangkok. But other goals included rock-climbing at Railay beach in southern Thailand, hanging out with elephants in the jungles of northern Thailand, visiting the Angkor temples, buying a motorbike and riding it across Vietnam, studying Tai Chi, and learning to play a Chinese bamboo flute.
Within the span of a few months I accomplished all of these. All the dreamgoals I had set required a long trip to Southeast Asia, obviously, so it makes sense to group them together.
In the opposite vein, don’t make goals that conflict with one another within the 3 to 6 month time-period that you’re allotted. If you make plans to compete in the Panama ironman triathlon in February, yet also want to attend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland the next month, you’d be pressing yourself a bit too hard to complete them both within the same time-period.
Remember that it is easy to see the world through a map, but when you travel you have to bring your body along with you. Be kind to it, don’t push yourself too hard. Your experiences will be far more rewarding if you take as much time as possible to absorb and savor them, rather than rushing through your goals at breakneck speed.
Step 3. Now, we’re going to take the concept of goal-setting and dreamlining and make it even BETTER and more powerful.
This is the secret of the most successful lifestyle designers. We need to consciously apply the principle of “Intentional Repetition.” It is not enough to take one evening off and simply write down our goals. All too often, we’ll simply go back into our regular patterns tomorrow and forget to act on them.
We’re creatures of habit, and many of the things we do tomorrow will be the exact same things we did yesterday. So if we want to change, we need to create a routine for coming back to these goals often, and create an accountability group – a MASTERMIND group.
If you apply only one thing from this article, do THIS. It will make a difference.
Napoleon Hill, in chapter 10 of his landmark work “Think and Grow Rich,” calls the master mind “the driving force” towards the accumulation of power. If the subject of a mastermind interests you and you care to explore the concept further, download “Think and Grow Rich” and read chapter 10. Hill’s book is a work in the public domain, so you can find a free copy easily if you search online.
To paraphrase, though, Hill says that by the mere act of joining a master mind, you’re already half way towards reaching your objective. Hill defines a master mind as: “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
Andrew Carnegie commissioned Hill to write this book, and what Hill had discovered was remarkable: Carnegie himself had assembled a “master mind” group of fifty men, to which he attributed responsibility for accumulating his entire fortune. Hill states, emphatically, that the shared power of great minds is the only principle towards which great power can be attained.
“This form of cooperative alliance has been the basis of nearly every great fortune.” Hill writes.
He explains that an individual would have great difficulty succeeding if they had to rely upon their own intelligence and experiences alone. He says that by having a supportive and select group of individuals, the collective intelligence, accumulated experience, and capability to gather new facts and ideas, is multiplied several-fold through the creation of the master mind.
Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s most brilliant early minds, formed his own mastermind group, which he called the “Junto.” An association formed for the mutual improvement of its members, there are still a variety of Junto chapters operating around the world today. Tom Peters, a renowned modern-day author on business management, also advocates assembling one’s own “board of directors” to empower each other to rise out of wage slavery.
I will tell you now: if it weren’t for my own mastermind group, this book may never have been written. It probably would have, but without a group of my closest and most supportive friends checking in each month to keep me accountable, I would have taken my time about it – and again, it may NEVER have gotten finished.
How to Create Your Own Mastermind Group
Within your network, think about the most ambitious, upbeat, and forward-thinking people that you know. They may only be loose acquaintances or friends of a friend. But you can usually notice these people out by what they’re achieving in their own lives, and the ideas and thoughts they express. Find four or five of these individuals, and create your own “mastermind” group.
While you can meet everyone in person, it’s hard to do this regularly. If you want to keep things going over the long-term, it’s best to go virtual. Use Google Hangouts – it’s a free group video conference that integrates with Google+.
You just sign into your Google+ or Gmail account, click “Start a Hangout,” and then you can invite your friends individually (by the way – quick update – Google is always messing with the interface of their Google Hangouts, including the name. After writing this “Start a Hangout” has been amended to “Start a Video Party” but the function is basically the same).
Sounds easy enough, right? So why don’t more people do it? I’ve noticed a lot of people struggle to put together a successful mastermind group, and I think a big reason why is that the format they put together lacks any structure. There’s no clear objective, no real major purpose to the group.
That’s why I encourage you to follow the dreamlining process, and use it to form the basis of your group. Each person in your mastermind should be challenged by the other members to make tangible, measurable progress towards each dream goal.
Also – keep your mastermind selective and don’t let your mastermind group get too big. Screen each member carefully and only invite ones who are serious and have big goals – these are the people you want to have around.
The goal of a mastermind group is to have a strong and supportive group that contributes and helps each another for the benefit of all individuals involved. It is very hard to make it in this world alone. The higher you set your goals, the more support that you will need.
Take Things Further – Make Your Mastermind Even Better
Once you’re mastermind group is up and running, take an active interest in improving upon the model. Ask your members for suggestions and allow everyone to contribute to the growth and success of the group. In my particular mastermind group, there are a couple of simple things that we’ve tried that have worked very well.
First, ask that during the interim between meetings (our group meets once a month) that each member of the group do something to help out another member in some way with their goals.
It could be anything – making an introduction, recommending a book or two to read, or calling them up to give them some advice. The process of helping someone is just as rewarding as receiving help. Basically, you want to engender a spirit of cooperation among supportive individuals who will sync together harmoniously.
Another great way to improve the masterminds and increase the value that it provides to members is to invite guests onto the call. Find leaders whom you respect and admire, and reach out to them. I’ve never had anyone I’ve invited to a mastermind say no to me.
Our very first mastermind guest was an INC magazine cover model. I simply read his article, Googled him and found his blog, and began the conversation from there. We had a lot in common, became fast friends, and we still keep in touch to this day. About a year and a half after he joined our mastermind call – we finally met for the first time in San Francisco and went out for an awesome night on the town, and he let me crash on his couch.
This is just one example. But it’s a brave new world. Start dreaming, set dream goals, and get people around you who will support you. Wherever you’re at is fine. Success and gratification don’t come instantly, but you can begin putting together the pieces and network that will lift you upward until you become the ultimate master of your destiny.
So there you have it. You now have the plan and path laid out before you. The question is, will you take action? I can’t personally help you, but there are others who can, and you can help them too. Invite them into your mastermind group.
Follow these 3 steps, in exactly the order I mentioned them, and I guarantee that you’re already halfway towards making your dreams reality. Within 1-2 years, you’ll see growth and progress of such magnitude that it may seem impossible at the moment.
What do you think? Any questions, or feedback? I welcome your comments below this post 🙂