A Successful Frame of Mind: Recognizing and Eliminating Unhealthy Desires From Your Life

As part of my overall strategy for success, I try to keep in mind a number of different things.  It is essential to quantify your success with real world possibilities. A filmmaker should want to produce his first 30 minute visual piece, and an artist should want to create a masterpiece. Those are fine pursuits that many people have, and they are reasonable. A painter should want to produce something beautiful, and professionals should have a goal in mind. My goal was to build TheWealthyWay.com for the world to read my mind, but there were many goals that went into the development of this website.

If you are a famous chef, life is easy. Just put your television show on DVD and write checks for millions. Hurrah!

If you are a famous chef, life is easy. Just put your television show on DVD and write checks for millions. Hurrah!

Some fail to set their goals on appropriate things, and this is what causes most people to fail. For instance, if someone opens a restaurant, their restaurant will fail if they immediately design it for high-end customers ($1000 per plate). Only Wolfgang Puck can pull that one off. All of this may sound vague, but the following lists will make this argument instantly clear (hopefully). In the bullet list that follows this paragraph, you will find examples of reasonable goals that people set for themselves.

Examples of Reasonable Goals:

  • Learning to Fly a Plane
  • Building a Home Addition
  • Learning to Program in C++
  • Creating a Working Video Game
  • Learning to Cook Eggs Well

The above goals are healthy, reasonable goals that anyone can achieve. People set these kinds of goals for themselves all the time – I have the goal of finishing my studies in graduate school. I set them and follow through.

A familiar, healthy goal is good for you.

A familiar, healthy goal is good for you.

A lot of people out there set unreasonable goals for themselves. These are paranoid delusions that can be disruptive to one’s life, and they often go unchecked. Many people fall into the spiral that these delusions create. It is all too easy to do so. It’s simple to understand. We all go down this spiral at one point or another, and the end result is insanity. People can and do end up in asylums telling others that they are God, a rock star in Paris, and a celebrity at the last theater they vomited on stage within. Our lesser versions of this problem are just as serious, and we must break the pattern.

When people set normal goals in their lives, they fully expect to attain those goals. When you were younger, you may have set a goal in your life to learn how to tie your shoelaces. You thought it was hard at first, but you got it done (hopefully!). That kind of goal setting created a pattern in your youth that was burned into your mind: You can do anything if

At the brink of insanity, people truly believe that you can win the lottery, become muscle bound, or a million other things through sheer willpower. The world requires pain and patience, too.

At the brink of insanity, people truly believe that you can win the lottery, become muscle bound, or a million other things through sheer willpower. The world requires pain and patience, too.

you put your mind to it. If you set yourself to do something, you learned, you could do it. This is a basic mantra for success that really works – but it only works when you know how to set realistic goals for yourself.

The following are some examples of unrealistic goals:

  • Making a Million Dollars This Year
  • Becoming Famous Like Britney Spears
  • Getting Huge Muscles
  • Supermodel Girlfriends
  • And More!

Now, I’m really not telling you that these things are impossible. Far from it. I’m working on “getting huge muscles” myself right now – but I know that it takes a great deal of time. Nobody walks into a gym, does a few curls, and walks out with a ripped chest and big arms. It never ever happens that way, and the same is true for people who exclaim that they will “make a million dollars” because of such and such a reason. You’re selling a new product, or you’re doing this or that. One plan does not always lead where you expect it should. You will become whatever you believe that you will become, but you can’t always go about it in the way that you think you should. After all, if everything worked the way you think it ought to, then you would have been a millionaire years ago. Therefore, plan your life according to the concept of failure as well as success. Embrace both.

Or haven’t you ever heard yet that the successful ones are the ones who fail repeatedly and are never bothered by it? I fail all of the time at things I do. I’ve built loads of websites only to have three people read them. I’ve built products that nobody wants to purchase! Does it bother me? Yes, very much. Does it stop me? No. I will continue to do these things, because I know they only work a small portion of the time.

internet salesSo if you want big muscles, you need to set a goal like this: I will learn how to lift weights properly by the end of the week. Then, I will keep at it for a month straight. My ultimate goal will be to see some reasonable gains in my arms, chest, legs, and other areas. They will look and feel firmer.

It’s simply silly to say that you will do this or that or the other thing without a plan. You’re just setting yourself up for mistakes to happen. With no plan, you’re just living in a fool’s paradise.

Then, someday when it begins to make sense, tell yourself that you will have big muscles soon. But the day when that really becomes a possibility will start to become more obvious the more success-minded you become.

People who lack success in their lives will set their goals as high as possible as soon as possible, and then give up.

If you plan to be a millionaire, then you need to also set reasonable goals in that area. Tell yourself that you are going to start making double what you make right now – and for most, that isn’t much. But it’s a start. And if you can go from making $1,000 to $2,000 per month, then I would say you’re well on your way. Maybe it is time to set a higher goal.

The people that fail set truly unreasonable goals, and they get disappointed or stop completely when they fail to meet them. How many people do you know that tell you they will be making a million dollars or dating a supermodel by the end of the month/week/year/decade? Does it ever happen? Set your goals incrementally. You can still believe in the fact that you will be a millionaire – and I would say it is important to believe in that – but you need to be very realistic with yourself about how you will go about it. And – always have backup plans. Your main plan isn’t always going to work, but having three or four plans may work out in the end.

When people set these kinds of lofty goals, like going from scrawny to muscle-bound in a week, they are in all actually preparing for failure. Why? Because these goals are not attainable when you set your mind to them. These goals are the product of a healthy mindset and outlook on life, but they are not things that you can always plan for. Life is way too chaotic for these amazing things to simply happen out of the blue due to diligence or some other strategy. We live in a day and age where people believe that anything is possible – and it is, but you need to be realistic with yourself. Believe in a process, not an end result. That is the key here. Set your goals on sections of the process you are working on.

Listen to the following meditation video, and see how it makes you feel while you read this. A good healthy state of mind is one of the key aspects to achievement in life. Real achievements are books, knowledge, and discoveries – not money.

Music can be a very powerful and uplifting force in your life if you allow it to be.

Again: Instead of saying “I am going to have huge muscles,” tell yourself that you are going to lift weights three times a week. Tell yourself that you are going to study weight lifting for a couple of hours every week. If you set these kinds of goals, you will eventually have huge muscles. That is how it works in the real world. The goals that you set for yourself should not be the final result, but rather – goals which occupy sections of the process. The final result is the reason for having these  goals in your life – and it isn’t something you should worry about having or not having. Huge muscles would be great, but being fit and healthy doesn’t require them.

Therefore, never say something like, “I am going to learn how to be a pilot this month. I’m taking my tests and I’m going to be the best.” Instead, tell yourself (and others, too!) that you will “Learn how to take off and land a plane properly this month.” Now that is a realistic goal. And sure, people can and do gain a pilot license in a month and become great pilots –  but more often than not these successful people set realistic goals during their training. “If I can just land this plane for the first time, then I’ll learn all about navigation.” That’s how you set your goals along the path to greatness.

If I can make more money than I need this month, then I’ll open my business and do my best to triple my income. That is the path to becoming a millionaire.

Doesn’t that sound a lot more realistic than saying to yourself, “After a month, I’ll be one of the best pilots there is. I can learn anything.” It’s just wishful thinking with no substance. If this same person told me that he or she was going to learn how to use radio navigation no matter what this week, and that someday he or she would be a great pilot – I would be much more inclined to believe that the end result they seek is possible. But as it stands, telling someone that you’re going to be the best or the richest or the fastest without setting goals that make up a plan of attack – well that’s stupid.

You may be brilliant, and you may be designing something unique. That doesn't mean that you are also a good businessman. Making money is the sum of many parts, and there is a reason only one percent of us are fortunate enough to have most of it in the US. I suppose.

You may be brilliant, and you may be designing something unique. That doesn’t mean that you are also a good businessman. Making money is the sum of many parts, and there is a reason only one percent of us are fortunate enough to have most of it in the US. I suppose.

I used to have a good friend who wasn’t quite honest with himself about his goals. He used to draw intricate and ingenious designs every single day – he was an inventor and an excellent artist. He came up with all sorts of wacky but useful ideas – they were the kinds of things that you would see on infomercials late at night. He wanted to sell his creations and become a millionaire. That is a healthy objective to have, but you have to set goals in order to get there. Instead of setting goals that were reasonable, though, he would simply design the things and then tell me that they were finished. It was ready to sell. He would contact various companies and demand millions of dollars for his inventions, and that was that. It’s just impossible for a person who engages in this mental masturbation to ever succeed, and that is why I am cautioning you against engaging in it.

If you look to far into the future or the past, you’ll miss out on the present. Setting realistic goals has more to do with a mindset in the present than the future. You’re trying to forget about why you’re working towards something, and rather, being happy about the process of working towards something. If you can be satisfied with the process that you are going through in order to attain something great, then you will realize that it is 100% possible. If you can double your salary, why can’t you make a million dollars too? If you can make a great video for YouTube, why can’t you earn a living there? If you can lift weights all month long and do it properly – then why can’t you have big muscles?

You’ll begin to truly believe in yourself when you embrace the process of life over the fruits of your endeavors.

Well, my friend never did make any money. That is because he didn’t set any actual goals for himself. A realistic goal in his situation would have been one of the following: Building the invention, creating a YouTube video about the invention, creating a PowerPoint presentation about the object, sending business mail describing the object to various firms, etc. Those are goals that one sets in this situation, but my friend was simply content to state two things: How much he expected to earn from his pencil sketch, and how amazing and ingenious he was for inventing it. Anything else wasn’t worth his time, because his creations were far too amazing.

Don't you wish it was easy to make bundles of money? Well, it's not. Wake up.

Don’t you wish it was easy to make bundles of money? Well, it’s not. Wake up.

Now, I use this particular example because it is so obvious that his goal is impossible. People don’t draw sketches on paper and instantly make a million dollars based on them – but it is easy to fall into a trap where you think that such a thing is possible. Maybe you are selling items on eBay and expecting to earn a living, but you haven’t done the math yet. Regardless of what you do, do it with forethought.

Set goals for yourself that are logical progressions. You want to do things that are natural, and in this way you will be pleased with yourself. If you want to build something and sell it for a living, don’t build it with the goal of living off the proceeds in mind. Build that object with the intent of selling it at a fair price, and then see how many you can build in a reasonable amount of time. Do math before you set goals, because we often tie our goals to monetary gains. You’ll get in over your head without planning things out.

Keep yourself from getting stressed out when you plan for the future. Sometimes the answers to our most complex questions can be – in all truth – simple. The final thing to take from all of this is simple – do NOT set impossible goals for yourself.

Do you fail at something a lot? You will succeed one day. This website is a good example - I have made many others.

Do you fail at something a lot? You will succeed one day. This website is a good example – I have made many others.

Everyone that I know who fails or is a failure has this same characteristic. Another person that I know, bless her heart, always talk about her writing talent, prose, and ability to tell stories. She talks about writing books, but never publishes one.

If you want to publish a book, don’t  set your goal on the book itself. Set your goal on writing 500 words per day, because that is how a book is completed. In everything that you do, you must do it a little bit at a time. I set a goal of writing about 1,000 words per day, and my books are all nearing completion. Another person that I know has written nothing and will publish nothing, because she does not set daily goals.

How high should you set the bar for yourself?

This is an interesting question to think about. Take note of your own friends, and ask them about their goals in life. Think about what they say in relation to who they are. Yet another friend that I had used to talk about how he designed a golf course, but he had no money. Avoid liars, and find yourself some successful friends. Friends are very important, and I myself could use more!  Honestly though, your closest friends should be intelligent and – most of all- friendly.

Try to be an awesome person for everyone's sake.

Try to be an awesome person for everyone’s sake.

When you set a goal for yourself, don’t set it too high. I used to have a goal set for writing 10,000 words per day, and I quickly got burned out on that plan. Oh, I was able to do it, but it sucked the life out of me. I know of another author on the internet who wrote 80,000 words over the course of one weekend. That’s an amazing example of willpower, because he did it. Will he be able to do that again someday? I would have nightmares about keyboards for the rest of my life!

Be kind to yourself. The most successful authors (and yes, you must apply my writing knowledge to your own field — security, football, etc) – authors always have a planned work day. If you work on your own at a business or something else, you should plan out your work day. For me, I play video games, stop – work – and repeat. It helps me to stay away from getting exhaustion. Set your goals at a reasonable level.

Dr. Isaac Asimov

Dr. Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov wrote a chapter or two of his books every day, and he wrote over 500 books! Asimov was amazing, and you can be amazing, too. Just do the work on a daily basis, and things will come together in the end. It’s that easy. Now, if you say – I am going to write a book every month like Asimov! Well…. now you’ve missed the entire point of what I wrote here. If your mantra is, “I’m going to accomplish something important and reasonable to accomplish every day” – you will win. Set your bar accordingly. I write anywhere between 1,000 and 10,000 words per day, and I am satisfied with writing 2,000 or so. That is a day’s worth of work for me, and I also study. I enjoy reading, and I enjoy working.

Make Your Work Enjoyable!

If your work is fun, you won't worry about money as much. Why isn't this your work environment?

If your work is fun, you won’t worry about money as much. Why isn’t this your work environment?

They always say if you find the right job, you’ll never work a day in your life. People love teaching, but professors who assign 20 page papers also have to read all that extra stuff. There is a lot of give and take in life, and you should make your work as easy as possible. I sometimes write in 100 word pieces. This is good for an hour of work! Why stress out? If you write 100 words per hour, you’ll have a lot of writing finished after 15 hours.

You should apply this ethic to whatever it is that you want to do. If you build bird houses, try to do one simple thing at a time – like cutting one board per hour. If you stick to something slow and steady, you’ll still win the race at some point.

Music for Work Enjoyment

Music is your friend during the busy workday, and I have experimented with many different kinds of music. The important thing to realize is that vocal music can be very distracting.

Keep your music tonal - stay away from lyrics. They force you to start thinking about the song.

Keep your music tonal – stay away from lyrics. They force you to start thinking about the song.

Instrumental music is what you should be listening to, because it contains no distracting words. Whether you are writing, fixing a bathroom (I have done this to music many times), painting, or doing math homework – vocal music is universally quite distracting.

Experts say that Moart’s music can help increase your IQ, and they studied the effect of a particular piece of music on various people. The piece was a Rondo for two pianos written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You can take a listen to it at this YouTube link right now:

Mozart: Sonata for Two Pianos, K. 448: III: Rondo: Molto Allegro

Did that make you smarter? Try listening to K. 448 before doing some sort of work (or during your work) in order to see if it helps you do better or worse. I am of the belief that you should enjoy the music that you listen to, so if you like rock music – try to find some instrumentals to listen to. I recommend an old favorite called Jessica, and here is a YouTube version of it:

Allman Brothers – Jessica

Vocal music always makes you distracted. Save your listening of that type of music for non-work related activities. I know this is a hard step to take, but you will be able to concentrate on your daily work much better if you cut out vocal music.

Know When to Dive In

If you don’t have any ideas – I do creative work after all – sometimes it is necessary to turn off the music, television, movies, record player, etc. You need to give your full attention to a project in order to get it off the ground, but there will be fill-in-the-blank gruntwork to do eventually. Turn your music on accordingly, an you will get much more completed. Some authors really can pump out 80,000 words over the course of a weekend, but I prefer to coast on the thousands that I produce daily.

Ultimately, you have to pay attention to many different factors during your work day. Music is one of the most distracting things when it has vocals, but you can also distract yourself with meaningless tasks.



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