All of life is a transition. Friends come and go. You move to one place and eventually move again. Kids grow older. Your financial situation changes. You commit to something, do it, and then commit to something new. You have a purpose and then time passes and you find you have a new purpose. Goals come and go. Those who are the most alive and who make the biggest impact on planet earth know how to update and refocus their obsessions as they mature, as life changes, and as opportunities come and go.
I was once speaking to troops transitioning from military service to civilian life at the Pentagon and told them, “From the moment you are born to the moment you die, your life is in transition. It’s not just the start and the finish that matter; it’s all the stuff in the middle.” It can be tough to redefine who you are as conditions in life change. When goals are achieved it is vital to continue to create newer and bigger goals.
Some people say things like, “If I just had a million dollars, I would retire and play golf every day.” When he gets there, he plays golf 3 or 4 hours in the morning, goes home and watches TV, and quickly becomes bored with his life. The problem is he quits making new goals for himself. When you reach a destination you can’t become stagnant. The grass quickly becomes greener elsewhere when you stop looking after your own lawn.
The fact is we are all in transition, getting older, starting over—and things change. The destination changes, conditions change, and motivation changes. There are disappointments, challenges, wins and losses. If you don’t stay obsessed with where you are going, you will become that person you don’t ever want to be: lost, jaded, and wasting your life away. Purpose is what keeps me from spending a lifetime wandering planet Earth without direction.
Trust me, I know because I’ve been there and done that. I’ve been the guy who made no money, had no purpose, and made trouble for others. When you don’t know why you are getting up each day, it feels like dying inside. Things changed for me when I started writing down my goals the night I returned from rehab, to get focused on what I would create in my life. Since then I have written my goals down every day. And not just at night but also first thing each morning.
When I write these goals it’s not a “to do” list. When I talk about goals, I am not talking about achievable activities either. I am talking about things that are out of reach at this time. I am talking about creating a powerful future that pulls you forward continually. The goals I write down today I can’t achieve today—but they are something to work towards. I write things like “I have $4 billion in real estate holdings.” Currently I don’t even have a billion. It feels a long way off as if it’s unachievable. But I keep writing it down.
Many years ago I would write, “I own twenty apartments or more.” At the time, I hadn’t even bought one apartment and didn’t know anything about apartments, management, or financing. I had no clue how I would accomplish this goal; twenty units seemed as unreal to me then as $4 billion worth does today. Yet today, 20 apartments seem like such a laughably small goal to me. This just illustrates how much we all change over time. What seems huge at one time later becomes tiny.
One day many years ago I wrote down on my legal pad: “I am a best-selling author who has won many awards for my books.” I wrote this daily for years. Now I have written many books that have gone on to sell tons of copies, land on best-seller lists, win awards, and even make me a little bit of money. My newest book is Be Obsessed or Be Average—pick yourself up a copy here.
The world needs you to be obsessed, passionate, driven, and alive. It feels good to know where you are headed and why. We are all in transition, but keeping goals in front of you all of the time will keep you on the right path in transition.
Be obsessed or be average,
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