“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Viktor E. Frankl (Psychologist & Author, Man’s Search For Meaning)
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Zig Ziglar (Motivational Speaker & Author)
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
Aristotle (Greek Philosopher)
I like to think of myself as stranded on a deserted island sometimes.
Part of this is a positive fantasy for me…
How great would my life be without an obligations?
How great would my life be without any possessions to take care of, whatsoever?
What would that kind of freedom feel like?
It’s a good reminder that buying more crap won’t make me happy.
The other part of this is training for me…
How would I approach daily life on the island?
Would I go crazy and try to kill myself like Tom Hanks in Cast Away?
Or would I build a cabin, start a farm, write a hundred different books, and eventually escape on a handmade raft?
Either way, my outcome would depend on my perspective.
Where I end up would depend on correctly identifying where I was at the moment and what I had at my disposal.
What It’s Like To Be Stranded On A Deserted Island
In 1704, a Scottish sailor named Alexander Selkirk was stranded on a deserted island off the coast of Chile.
Selkirk’s ship was destroyed by the sea, leaving him with nothing but a rifle, a small knife, and some carpentry tools.
After regaining some of his strength, Selkirk explored the interior of the island looking for supplies, but all he found were goats, cats, and large rats.
Feeling hopeless, Selkirk returned to the shoreline and slept in a cave, where he quickly became depressed and sick.
He drowned his sorrows in what might have been, hoping to change the past and cursing his friends and family for not finding him.
Then one day, Selkirk was forced to go back to the island’s interior or be killed by migrating sea lions.
This time, instead of feeling sorry for himself, Selkirk started to evaluate his current position without regard to his past or his emotions.
He instantly saw opportunity.
First, remembering the carpentry tools he had, he built a series of huts out of the native woods.
Next, he domesticated the cats, training them to protect him from the large rats.
Finally, he taught himself to hunt the goats and to make clothes out of their hides.
Selkirk thrived on the island until his rescue many years later.
This truth is thought to be the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s book, Robinson Crusoe.
But what’s the point?
The point is that what you want in life does not matter until you figure out where you are right now.
You can’t get to a future position until you determine your current position.
Think of the GPS in your car or on your phone.
If you enter a destination and lose wireless service, whether in a parking garage or a large city, you can’t get to the destination, not because the destination disappeared but because the GPS can’t determine your current location.
Your brain is the same way.
You need to figure out where you are right now before you can move forward to higher levels of success and happiness.
3 X 30-Year Facts About Goal Setting And Motivation
Over 30 years of scientific papers and reviews on goal setting and task motivation has established principles of human motivation and achievement that are consistent.
- Conscious motivation impacts performance and levels of achievement, particularly for people who have goals centered around a meaningful purpose and the belief that they can achieve it.
- Goal setting success and achievement is maximized when the goals are specific and measurable, but they also have to be challenging.
- What you want in life, the goals you set, have to have meaning to you personally — they have to matter — and they have to be big enough to fire you up.
Bigger goals that seem unrealistic will actually make you perform better and reach higher achievements faster than all those smaller goals you set that are a sure thing.
In other words, you can achieve more than you think possible in a shorter time frame if you set bigger goals, based on the belief that you can achieve them and that they have deep meaning for you.
A study out of Stanford University published in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology added the importance of self-efficacy to success, stating…
“People have the power to actively control their lives through purposeful thought; this includes the power to program and reprogram their subconscious, to choose their own goals, to pull out from the subconscious what is relevant to their purpose and to ignore what is not, and to guide their actions based on what they want to accomplish.”
If you don’t have mental and emotional focus and resiliency, you won’t achieve your goals.
Moreover, your end goals are not enough on their own. This study showed that motivation and achievement are highest when both performance goals (your outcome) and learning goals (the process) are linked.
A life of purpose and passion WITH personal transformation along the way.
How To Get What You Want, From Where You Are
Decades of research confirms that the bigger your goal, the higher your performance.
This research also confirms that the bigger your goal, the more motivational energy you will have to achieve it.
Here’s the key — establishing your goals includes an accurate assessment of not just your end point, but your starting point.
Where are you right now and how did you get here?
Reverse engineering your goals leads you to where you are in this moment and what you can start using to your advantage right now.
It also gives a humbling look at where you need to improve and what you need to let go of or ignore.
Here are 3 factors in figuring out where you are now (so you can get to where you want to be)…
1. Be ruthless in your personal inventory.
Be ruthless… because if you’re not really honest about your strengths AND your weaknesses, you’ll always be held back by your blind spots.
Look at where you are in your life right now.
This requires you to take careful stock of your assets and liabilities, as well as your strengths and limitations.
Don’t favor one over the other.
Don’t opinion poll everyone about this either because most people will just tell you what YOU want to hear.
Others will tell you what THEY want to hear so you can live the kind of life THEY are living.
If you’re having trouble assessing yourself accurately, check in with yourself first.
Then, check in with one or two people who know you well and will be ruthlessly honest with you.
In reality, we don’t see ourselves the way others do.
We are all subjective, no matter what.
As a result, we often see in ourselves only what we want to see.
So, we either rattle off our strengths easily and readily while minimizing or ignoring our weaknesses…
Or, we default to false humility and wallow in a pit of weaknesses.
Both scenarios keep you from moving forward because you’re stuck in this odd little purgatory of self-inflicted doubt and deception.
Look — no one cares about what you want in life as much as you do.
Everyone is in it for themselves and focused on their own self-interests to a large extent, and this is a good thing.
Healthy self-interest, competition, and fighting for yourself and your kin is good for everyone.
Other people were not put on this Earth just to do your bidding, or to ensure that you get what you want.
You have to take care of yourself.
As such, stop being dependent on other people’s opinions of your life and who you are.
No one is going to do this work for you — you have to be bold enough to know yourself as honestly and accurately as possible.
You’ll never go anywhere if you’re too afraid to know and own who you are.
You’ll never achieve any success if you’re confused about what you’re good at and where you’re challenged.
You won’t know what resources and knowledge you need to get better, and you’ll waste what you do know with your weak mindset and lack of confidence.
Be real with yourself and pinpoint what weaknesses you’re going to strengthen and what strengths you’re going to leverage.
Don’t let your self-reflection turn into rumination (which can cause depression).
Don’t waste your time with self-flogging (that won’t make you better either).
Instead, create an accurate personal inventory and then move immediately onto taking positive action.
2. Be persistent in your focus.
Forget the past.
Reign in your emotions.
Focus exclusively on what you have at your disposal right now.
This is the trifecta of leveraging where you are now to help move you forward in life.
Most importantly, never let your emotions rule over you.
The problem with having your emotions rule you is that they will always keep you from being in control of your life.
They will often keep you hinged to the past.
They’ll keep you fixated on ‘what ifs’ and rabbit-holed thinking.
They’ll interfere with your clarity and focus.
Are you in a bad place right now?
Are you not where you wanted to be in your life at this time?
Did something unfair happen to you?
Did you lose your way?
Welcome to the rest of humanity.
You can keep whining about your problems with everyone else, or get an emotional grip and start making a plan.
Where are you right now? What led you there? What have you learned?
Don’t let your answers make you too emotional.
When you get too emotional, you lose the ability to accurately assess your current situation.
When you get too emotional, you lose the ability to look forward.
These uncontrolled emotions will drain you and wipe out your motivation to actually change.
A better strategy is to eliminate distractions and anything that pulls your focus from the tools and strengths you have right now.
The reason most people fail is because they allow themselves to be distracted, especially by drama.
They don’t protect their focus.
They allow their emotions to pull them in every direction.
When you don’t discipline your mind and protect your vision, you end up distracted by anything and everything.
You go nowhere and you lose motivation, forgetting what you wanted in the first place.
You get stuck in negative emotions and dramatic relationships because you’ve allowed your mind to become weak and undisciplined.
Stop being undisciplined in your thoughts and emotions.
Stop allowing toxic obligations and toxic people in your life.
Get focused again and start setting strong boundaries — start only allowing like-minded people into your life.
3. Be fixated on your end game.
The ending is everything.
Take what you have — your current strengths, skills, relationships, and assets — and ferociously leverage them towards your goals.
Be fixated on your path and take daily action.
Set goals that are big enough to fire you up and drive you like an obsession.
But make sure that you aren’t just striving for performance goals that only exist down the road at accomplishment.
Maintain your daily motivation by setting smaller process-oriented goals too.
Your goal should be to pick a mountain peak for yourself — one with endless, deep meaning and purpose — and to map out checkpoints on your current hiking trail to the top.
These checkpoints will keep you going day in and day out when things get annoyingly tough.
The mountain peak itself — your deep purpose — will keep you going when things get devastatingly tough.
You have to give a care about the process in your purpose as much as the celebration at the end.
Living the life you want and reaching your goals isn’t a smooth trajectory of minimal effort and maximum return.
That’s called luck — or lottery — and it’s not going to happen.
The pathway from where you are to where you want to be has to include meaningful personal development and the rewriting of your old life stories to matter.
The discipline for daily action and perseverance will come from leveraging every resource you have at your disposal and including all of them as you map out your path.
Where are your checkpoints? How are you going to know when you’ve made progress?
How are you going to protect against decision fatigue, herd mentality, and burn-out?
Where are you going to get extra support and resources when you need it?
How are you going to negotiate setbacks and overwhelm?
You need to investigate these challenges and come up with plans for overcoming them in advance.
Not only do you need to know where you’re going and how to get there, you need to be armed with an arsenal of solutions BEFOREHAND.
This is how you protect yourself from the challenges and negative influences that throw most people off of their path in life… but not you… not now… not ever.
It doesn’t matter what you want in life if you have no plan on how to achieve it. You can’t create a plan to move forward until you have an accurate assessment about where you are right now. This means getting bold about your strengths and getting dirty with your weaknesses. It means being strategic and unemotional in your ownership of both. Once you have an accurate inventory of your resources, you can start leveraging them to create the life you want.
To learn more about how to find out who you really are and get what you want in life, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.