If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.Andrew Carnegie
I was brought up by my mom with the following philosophy: Study well and get a good job. You will have a good future.
All throughout my college years and much later too, I was under this impression that if I did well academically, I was set for life. So when I did graduate from Loyola College, Chennai (one of the top 5 colleges in India), I thought, my life was set and that I did not have to worry anymore about my life, my income, my career.
At that particular time in my life, I had no goals in my life. This went on for way too long, till my early 30s. I had no particular interest in having any goals in life, let alone a purpose. I took life as it came to me; without realizing how I was whiling away my time.
If you do not already know ‘time’ is the most precious resource that you will ever have. Money, you could deposit in your bank. But there is nothing called a bank for your time.
Time can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
Well, coming back to my situation…..I mean, life wasn’t bad. I had a good job, good income, good friends etc. But, I did not have fulfillment. That void you feel when you look at someone who has already achieved what you wished in life. This is not jealousy.
So how did I come to realize my mistakes or shortcomings?
I met Jerry (name changed to maintain confidentiality).
Jerry was a successful businessman based in Dubai with his own venture and a sizable stock market portfolio. I thought I was the smartest person. But when I saw what Jerry had achieved, I felt like a slight pain in my chest.
- A simple business
- Invest the profits from business into passive income generating assets
- Reinvest the profits
And the cycle goes on!
This is not tough by any means. I replicated his system and found immense success. But it was not without any struggles. My goal was to achieve at least 1% of what Jerry had done, in much lesser time.
My main constraints were: Time and Capital (money).
My main goals at this time were:
- Making Money
- Personal Growth
Here are the points which helped me achieve goals the same way but faster:
#Be A Contrarian
I’ve never walked the same path other people found comfortable and I’m not going to start now.Lora Leigh
If you do what everyone else is doing, you will be like everyone else!
This is the most important lesson I have ever learnt . And I learnt it the hard way. In my quest to chase stock market returns, I used to follow several online forums where stock tips were traded dime a dozen. Needless to say, none of them worked. And I lost money too.
I always reasoned that if a large enough group concurred, it must be true or happening. The reality is exactly the opposite. One of my MBA professors used to say the following: ‘Stock market is not bull market or bear market; it’s a sheet market. Where one goes, everyone follows.’ So true.
After being bitten several times, I took matters to into my own hands. After all, I was the driver of my life. No one else.
I became a contrarian. If I came across an idea that everyone was discussing, I went the other way. If everyone told about how risky Tesla stock was, I would deep dive into it, asking the question, “where would this company be in the next 10 years?”
The herd mentality will lead you to average returns, both in the stock market and your life. Remember the time when every other guy was pursuing MBA!!! Do you really need an MBA to pursue your career or life? Most did MBA because most others did. I am not demeaning MBA by any gauge. (Confession: I am an MBA too!!)
Some of my contrarian bets that really paid off in the medium term:
- Investing in Tesla, when short sellers were saying otherwise
- Investing in bitcoin, when many said it was a scam
- Investing in several Indian stocks (long list!)
- Starting my first blog, when everyone said blogging was dying!
Being a contrarian does not mean going against the general trend. It means taking a step back and taking a deep dive into something that you truly believe in.
#Learn From Those Who Have Already Achieved What You Want
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.Mahatma gandhi
When I was 24, I wanted to learn about how to invest and make money through stock market. I delved into all the books, research papers, SMS tips and whatever came my way. After a long study and feeling that I was equipped with all the knowledge, I started investing.
And you guessed it right. I lost money.
I applied whatever I learnt. But nothing worked. This went on for more than 5 years. With a hurt ego and a low bank balance, I had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide.
Fortunately for me, I met Jerry. As I mentioned, Jerry is an entrepreneur and an investor. He has been investing in the stock market for the last 25 years with great success.
I instantly realized that in the first place, I should have approached someone like Jerry, who has already succeeded in investing. What I learnt from Jerry are some the most ingenious ways to look at a company.
Same scenario with my personal growth. I delved into books, digests, Wikis searching for that ONE trick or tip that would improve myself. I knew where I had to go. I knew where I had to reach. But I did not know the way!
Again Jerry helped me here.
I looked up to him to give my life a better trajectory. He particularly offered following tips:
- Have a Vision Board – your 3 year, 5 year, 10 year vision
- Have specific goals and strict timelines to achieve them
- Track you goals monthly, bi-annually, annually
- course correct if you have swerved away from your goals
These are just tip of the iceberg for achieving success. Success and achieving goals takes some real hard work.
#Be Brutally Honest With Yourself
The real source of inner joy is to remain truthful and honest.dalai lama
We have all done this. We are all guilty. The best of us have faltered. Having goals may be be easy. But taking steps towards achieving these are not as easy as they sound. I have done it myself and know that most do falter.
But what matters is the honesty with yourself.
This year, I had the a serious goal on physical fitness. But as you’d guess, being motivated to do those jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups is easier said than done. Your mind plays these tricks to keep you away from the exercises that you have promised to yourself. (Don’t know why this happens!!)
I did falter. But then as soon I realized, I did double the amount of exercise I was supposed to do or missed out on.
Another one of my goals was to use my mobile phone for less than 40 minutes a day. I am yet to achieve this feat. But I am getting there. In the previous months, my total daily time spent on mobile was more than 2.5 hours everyday.
At the end of the day when I do review this, I am amazed at how I have cheated on myself to unlock my phone several times a day.
I know my weaknesses and I am trying to correct these. It’s here that I have become brutally honest with myself. Being honest with yourself means to keep an eye on your goals and if you do get distracted, telling yourself to correct the actions. It’s simple.
On your way to achieve whatever your goals are, know at every point, where you are. If you are not in the place where you were supposed to, meaning, you are lagging behind, be honest with yourself and correct your mistakes.
#Be a Life Long Learner
Learning something new comes as a default if you’d like to achieve your goals faster. Further, learning with a clear purpose will help you learn anything you want quickly. What comes with learning new skills is the clarity in your vision for your life.
As a part of my continuous learning, I learnt about SEO which helped me immensely in my personal life as well as as a blogger. This is an added bonus learning when you start blogging.
Your learning does not need to be in a complex subject. There are many simple things you can learn that will enhance the quality of your life. Learning to meditate, learning to write, learning to read faster, learning different forms of physical exercise, learning to read financial statements of companies, leaning to code PHP etc.
I always say that the internet has made the world a level playing field. Anyone with an internet access can learn some of the wonderful stuff around for FREE. Only things that you require are, burning desire to learn and specific goals.
Simply learning will not be of any use. Instead, do what Military Training Centre of US recommends:
- Learn a concept
- Practice and use the concept in a real world scenario
- Get coaching and feedback
- Repeat until it becomes part of your unconscious
- Get coaching and feedback
The feedback loop is quite important. Otherwise you would not know whether what you are doing is on the right path or the wrong!
Achieving success or your goals, is not a straight line. You may have seen the following picture:
You don’t need to hurry up to get success. Combining all these above steps, I was able to get closer to my goals, which otherwise would have taken me a much longer time. Speak to people about your goal. Put it out there in the public. Share it with your friends. Share in a Whatsapp group. Share it with your friends, your family. This will keep you at the top of your goals.
There are no shortcuts to achieving success. Have a lofty goal, keep at it. Keep working. Create something. You will be successful and you will reach your goals faster than ever.
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