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How to Get Exactly What You Want

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J. Paul Getty was quoted for his formula for success: "Rise early, work hard, strike oil." I'm a massive supporter of the practice of rising early (and if you're not, you probably should be). But regardless of when you wake up, the other two actions in this formula are "work hard" and "strike oil."

When I first ran across this quote ten years ago, I laughed because it looked like Getty was saying you must work hard and hope to get lucky. But a decade later, I can see the more relevant meaning, and I'm about to share with you why Getty's concept, perhaps more than anything else you might ever read, could be what gets you everything you want for the rest of your life.

It's all about your expectations
In short, it all comes down to your expectation of whether or not you will strike oil. That's it. That's where it all starts. I can say this because that's how reality works - you're not going to get anything if you don't work hard to achieve it. But you'll not work hard in the first place unless you have a strong enough expectation that you'll be successful (or at least be successful at learning from the experience).

This is just how life works. Your motivation to take action, and to follow through until the job is done, is directly proportional to your belief that you will succeed. (Side note: In some cases, the confidence in success isn't even necessary - instead, you might be motivated by the fact your action will serve a higher cause, such as a 'failed' protest sparking a more significant public awareness down the road).

If you break this concept down to the simplest parts, what you have is this: When you believe strongly enough that you will succeed at something, success is practically guaranteed - not because your belief creates the result, but because you don't give up taking action on a massive level until you get what you want.

When you believe that success is inevitable, you can put aside the idea that "failure" is a bad thing in the conventional sense. Instead, it's just a specific attempt you can learn from—another life lesson to be accepted and consumed, not feared.

When you believe that success will result from never giving up, you will attack your objective with more incredible energy, a more extraordinary passion, and a more excellent work ethic. You will be excited about what you're doing because you know it matters. You know that whatever you're doing, it's adding value that will eventually translate into the desired result.

That unwavering belief lets you focus your thoughts on questions like "How can I … ?" rather than "Why can't I - ?" The perspective of certainty allows you to see obstacles not as things that stand in your way but as challenges that fuel your growth.

I've paid my dues
I experienced this myself as a ten-year-old kid in Brooklyn, New York. A horrible turn of events led to my mother getting murdered, my father going to prison for life, and me ending up all but homeless until I was taken in by a relative who was both an alcoholic and a drug user.

Years later, after I escaped the constant surroundings of drugs and violence, people remarked to me how surprised they were that I had avoided getting involved in drugs, alcohol, or any gang activity that was so pervasive during those years. Rather than that, I was a straight-A student who stayed out of (too much) trouble.

I always found it a bit humorous that while some people believed it was a solid foundation of strength that kept me on the straight and narrow, the thing that kept me safe was that I didn't accept the idea that I could get involved in any of those things in the first place. I didn't know any better - I thought I was supposed to avoid them!

I didn't see it as possible or reasonable for me, so I never thought about it. Those were problems "other people" got involved in, but not me. I viewed the daily challenges I faced as tests that were there to make me stronger so one day, my life could make some difference. And poof - that's precisely what happened. :

The point is that a firm belief drove my actions that I would succeed eventually. I would get through it all and come out okay. On the other side that I would strike oil. And it's no different than the mindset you have to adopt to make any of your goals/dreams/objectives a reality.

There's an old saying, "What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" While it sounds good on the surface (and it is, doesn't get me wrong), it's not perfect. Sure, you could say what you would attempt if you knew you couldn't fail, but that doesn't help you when your brain shouts, "Hey dummy, you're probably going to fail, don't you realize that?" The original question is a good start but must be taken further.

Instead of wishful thinking about what "could" happen, I've found a better question is more along the lines of "What will you attempt knowing that you will ultimately succeed, despite all the 'failures' that are sure to come along the way?"

Because face it, life will throw some rough stuff over to you. You'll have more "go wrong" than you'd ever hoped. But striking oil is about drilling deeper, even if you hit a few rocks along the way. The expectation is that you have to do a lot of drilling before you tap into that pocket of oil.

So let's talk about setting expectations. In its most literal sense, an expectation is a certainty that a specific result will occur.

If you've got a primary goal you want to achieve, you need to have at least five things straightened out before you can attack it full force.

#1 - You have to expect that you, specifically, can achieve this goal.

This one is a biggie. People typically have a lot easier time believing something is "possible" than thinking it's "possible for them." They don't fully believe they will be capable of achieving a goal because they are missing something - the time, the talent, the resources, whatever. They have an unwritten expectation that they will not be one of the people who "has what it takes."

That's a load of garbage. If you believe that, even just a little bit, it will seriously damage your ability to take action. You'll never give 100% and stick with it until the job is done. If this is you, you need to fix this first. (Stay tuned for an upcoming article on how to do just that. I'll link to it here when it's ready).

#2 - You have to expect that you will close the resource gap, no matter how wide it is.

This one is also a biggie. It's easy to look at a big goal and feel like the distance between it and you are too broad. After all, how can you compete with the biggest successes in the world, who are already established? You can find out how by studying the people who do it every day, like skinny, broke college kid Michael Dell who took on IBM and Hewlett-Packard (and is still winning). If you're reading this years from now, a hundred other stories like his will have come and gone.

You have to, have to, have to believe any resource gap can be closed. A lack of time, money, workforce, connections - it all doesn't matter because there are several creative solutions out there that you'll come up with to overcome all that.

If you don't believe the resource gap can be closed, it won't because you won't take full-out action to make it happen. But if you expect that it will eventually be resolved, guess what happens? (Again, stay tuned for an upcoming article on how to do just that. I'll link to it here when it's ready).

#3 - You have to expect to find a solution to every problem that will inevitably come your way. Every one.

You can't guarantee a problem-free life. But you can ensure that you see a 'problem' as an opportunity, so you are energized rather than drained by the challenge. Chew on this and decide how you will make this shift in thinking. (In the meantime, bookmark this post and check back later to find a link to an upcoming article on how to do this.)

#4 - You have to expect that every action you take matters. Every damn one.

This is critical. When you think taking action won't matter in the long run, you won't do it. But when you recognize that measure accumulates - that the pyramids are built brick by brick, and everyone matters, you'll be willing to take action even when you don't feel like it, and your heart's not in it.

Remember, everything you matter. You need to make that shift if you don't think it does. Stay tuned for an article on that.

#5 - You have to believe that you can accelerate the process of getting to your objective.

This one's my favorite. As you improve the discipline of following through and taking action consistently, you'll want to find new forms of leverage to make the journey to completion much shorter. This is what "Million Dollar Leverage" is all about.

By holding onto the firm expectation that you can find ways of leveraging all your resources, you'll be subconsciously looking for ways to make that happen, and as a result, you'll find a lot more of them. And that will get you to your goal faster. Much faster.

So, I hope I've sold you on the power of expectation to get what you want - to strike oil, whatever that means to you. If not, read this article again and again until it sinks in. And then put your expectations to the test and get them correctly aligned. It's a bit of work, but if you do it, you'll start seeing better results than you've seen before in less time than you might imagine (unless you expect to see results right away :).

So get a pen and paper and get your expectations put in writing so you can drill them into your brain and use them to your advantage. Do it now - you'll thank yourself for it.






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