I think you will get value from this article and story by Rainer Zitelmann, that can help you possibly think even bigger and achieve even more, so 2021 will be your best year ever.
Erik Weihenmayer has climbed the Seven Summits – the highest mountains of each of the seven continents. Almost everyone told him this was impossible.
“A couple of other people said things like I didn’t belong on the mountain or anybody could get to the top of the mountain with 13 guide dogs,” he told me when I interviewed him for my latest book. “I heard one guy say he was going to follow me to the summit and take a picture of my dead body just to make some money with the media.”
The reason why hardly anyone believed he could achieve his goal is that Weihenmayer was born with an incurable eye condition and has been blind since the age of 13. On 25 May 2021 it will be 20 years since he became the first blind person in history to climb to the summit of Mount Everest – an achievement that earned him a place on the cover of Time magazine.
I asked him what mindset had enabled him to achieve his extraordinary goals. His answer: “I’d spend 15 minutes every day, just envisioning myself standing on the summit, to the point where I’d hear the snow crunching under my crampons. I’d hear the slacks, I’d feel the sky, just feel the cold, and I’d feel the hearts of my teammates, I’d feel the tears, I’d literally start tearing up because I was there. When I summited Everest, I had already summited it 100 times in my mind.”
For Weihenmayer, visualising his goals and “programming” them into his subconscious was an important technique in order to achieve them.
According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, only 8 per cent of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions by the end of the calendar year. US clinical psychologist, Joseph Luciani, says around 80 per cent have already failed to live up to their good intentions by mid-February.
Given findings such as these, some ‘experts’ advise people that it is better to set no goals at all, or to set smaller, more easily achievable goals, in order to avoid guilt-driven remorse and frustration. Indeed, when it comes to setting goals, the terms ‘small’ and ‘realistic’ are frequently used as synonyms. By this logic, small goals are seen to be reasonable and attainable while ambitious goals are unrealistic and unachievable.
However, goal-setting theory suggests exactly the opposite: in many ways it is actually easier to achieve challenging goals than small ones because bigger goals are the source of far greater motivational power. Numerous scientific studies into goal-setting theory have confirmed that demanding, specific goals lead to better outcomes than easy, vague ones (e.g. ‘do your best’).
Howard Schultz was born to an unskilled labourer in Brooklyn in 1953 and grew up in a deprived neighborhood. He turned his company Starbucks into a leading brand with more than 31,000 branches worldwide. He prefaced his autobiography by advising readers: “Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible.”
Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, is a strong proponent of what he calls “a healthy disregard for the impossible.” He lives by the maxim: “You should try to do things that most people would not.”
For my book The Wealth Elite, a study into the psychology of the rich, I conducted in-depth interviews with 45 exceptionally successful individuals, most of whom were self-made entrepreneurs with net assets of between $30 million and $1 billion.
For many of the interviewees, committing to their goals in writing was crucial. They set themselves specific financial goals and exact deadlines for achieving them. An overwhelming number of interviewees described a process of detailed goal-setting, which they carried out once a year. They took the time to define milestones for the next year, while also reviewing the goals they had set for the previous year in order to assess what they had achieved.
The only reason some people don’t set ambitious goals is because they’re afraid they might fail to achieve them. Gordon Moore, the IT pioneer and co-founder of Intel, once observed that, “If everything you try works, then you are not trying hard enough.”
Elon Musk, who recently overtook Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man said: “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
Being a winner doesn’t mean being somebody who never fails. On the contrary, winners set themselves ambitious goals and experiment until they achieve them. They don’t ask for foolproof guarantees before trying something. They realise and accept that a lot of the things they try won’t work.
So, set much bigger goals for your life – and start now. If you don’t do this because you are afraid of failure, then the truth is that you have already failed.
—This article was written by Rainer Zitelmann is the author of The Wealth Elite, Dare to Be Different and Grow Rich.
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