How to Get What You Want
3 things that changed my life
I’m extremely interested in understanding how people achieve incredible things. Jim Rohn, arguably one of the greatest motivational speakers to ever live, once said that “Success leaves clues”. I suppose you could say that I’ve been a clue hunter for the better part of a decade.
Unfortunately, our modern way of life has led us to believe that there are shortcuts to success. There are countless listicles detailing the 5, 10 or 20 things that you need to do to be successful right f%cking now! Better yet, there’s the bullet proof advice of getting up at 4am each day to get your hustle on. I refuse to link to these articles but I’m sure you’ll trust that they exist. As a self titled success clue hunter, I loathe these lists. In fact, I’d trade everything I own to hear Jim’s perspective on our modern approach to success. I digress…
My source of information comes from books. Some old, some new. A few examples being Psycho-Cybernetics, The Power of Positive Thinking, How to Get What You Want (title inspiration!), and Mastery . There are many, many more but each of the above had a profound impact on me. Reflecting on the ~100 “self help”, “motivational”, “vision authoring” books I’ve read I’ve come to find that there are three common themes throughout almost every book.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that most people only take advice from people they believe are “ultra-successful”. I’m not a billionaire nor do I lead the free world. However, I have experienced success in my life and I attribute everything I’ve been able to accomplish to the following themes.
Let’s jump in…
Theme 1: You need a map to reach your destination
I’ll admit, for the better part of my life I didn’t have a documented vision. I functioned month-to-month. I always had lofty goals that I was chasing and I could spit out a “five year plan” but it wasn’t methodical. Let’s just say there was a lot of hope and luck built into my no-plan plan.
A common theme shared across all of my studying is that you need to document your vision. You need to get what you want out on paper so you can look at it and truly ingest it.
There are a million ways to do this. Michael Karnjanaprakorn* wrote an amazing post on this topic. I created a very similar process for myself years back. Michael has beautifully documented his and it’s well worth a read.
*Michael’s the founder of Skillshare. See what I mean about the success thing? I bet that link looks mighty appealing now!! ;)
The reason why you should define your vision is that there’s a belief that your body and mind will drive you towards your goals if they know what they are. There’s different names for this “system” but think of it like a process that runs in the background of your mind and body that is always thinking and working on the thing you want to achieve. That process can’t begin and function if it doesn’t know what it’s pointing at. In “How to Get What you Want” Dr. Sidney Bremer calls it “Auto Suggestion”.
The lesson: Define what your dreams are so your brain and body can work towards them on your behalf.
How: You could try Michael’s approach or you could start by simply writing our what you want your life to look like in 10 years and work backwards from there. There’s no wrong way to do it. I like the practice of writing out what my day will look like in 10 years.
Theme 2: Your thoughts determine your results.
This is the #1 trend across everything I’ve read, been taught by my coaches, and experienced in my life. Your thoughts determine your results. It feels too obvious to be that profound but it’s a powerful lesson. In “How to Get What you Want” Dr. Sidney Bremer shares a related messages … “Whatever comes to us in life we usually create first in our mentality”.
The lesson: Create a daily practice of imagining what you want in your life.
How: In Psycho Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz describes a practice called “Cinema of the mind”. It’s a practice where you dedicate ~30 minutes a day to visualizing what you want in your life. Whatever your thing is, practicing cinema of the mind will trick your mind into thinking it already exists and thus make you function as though it does. This will kickstart theme #1. The belief being that if your body and mind believe it to be true theywill direct you towards those things automatically.
Theme 3: You have the power to change yourself
Seems obvious right! People lose weight, change their food preferences or become become uninterested in an activity they once loved. While that’s relevant…slightly… what I mean by “change yourself” is actually changing who you are. I strongly believe you can change how you act, feel, function, and perform. It’s within your power to be exactly what you want to be.
This is an important part of achieving what you want because we usually believe there’s something about ourselves that’s blocking us from getting what we want. Maybe it’s a fear of public speaking, maybe it’s a lack of self confidence or maybe it’s the distraction of processing a traumatic event. Whatever that blocking thing is, you can eliminate it why your mind. More specifically, you can eliminate it by crafting what you tell your mind.
In “The Power of Positive Thinking” Norman Peale notes that “In the busy actives of the daily existence thought disciplining is required if you are to re-educate the mind and make of it a power-producing plant”. He lays out a 10 step plan to achieve a mind that produces power. In summary, the steps can be boiled down to creating a vision (theme #1), crafting affirmations to affirm the vision (theme #3), and committing to reviewing the vision and affirmations daily (theme #2).
The lesson: Use affirmations to sculpt the person you want to be.
How: Reflect on your vision and document what qualities the person who would achieve the things you want to achieve would have. Maybe it’s unwavering confidence or the ability to sell. Take those qualities and craft affirmations around them. For example an affirmation to build self confidence could be “I believe in myself. I will succeed”. I know this sounds goofy but it works. Your brain only knows what you allow into it. Start telling it the things you want it to know and you’ll see a shift. Personally, I do this every single day. I dedicate 5 mins in my morning and evening to my affirmations. I can genuinely say that my daily affirmations have completely transformed who I am.
I use ThinkUp to manage my affirmations. I highly recommend!
Needless to say, the above themes and lessons have had a profound impact on my life. I learned this lesson the hard way but it takes little to no effort to kickstart a process of genuine self exploration yet it has an outsized impact on one’s life.
I welcome you to try these techniques and if you do please reach out to share your experience!
Happy visioning ✌️