When you dream big, people will call you impractical. But you can’t think like everyone else if you want to experience different results. Maybe your goal is what you want to do for a living, or where you want to live, or the house you want, or how often you work, or when you work, or where you work. People will think certain things about your goal—it doesn’t matter. It’s ridiculous to shape your life around what other people think.
Even when it comes to the closest person in your life, your significant other, you only share 4–5 percent of your waking life with them. That’s the closest person in the world to you! Let’s say you hang out with your best friends once a week, which is something that becomes increasingly rare as you age. You’re sharing only about 1 percent of your waking life with your best friends. In theory, your significant other and best friends would be the ones to believe in you and support your goal the most. Beyond them, acquaintances probably share 0.5 percent or less of your life.
People will try to talk you down from your big goal. Expect it, know it will happen, and prepare for it. Decide now not to care what they think. Why let someone else who shares such a tiny part of your life limit your potential? Why let those people tell you that your goal is impractical? You’re the only person who lives 100 percent of your life. This is it. This is your life. The time you’re taking to consume this book is your life, and that’s amazing because you exist right now. You’re alive, and that is incredible. You have but one existence. It’s an utter shame to let what someone else thinks limit you.
One day, I finally grasped this concept. I realized the only thing holding me back was myself and how small my dreams were. If you think a million dollars is a lot of money, you might get one hundred thousand dollars. If you think one hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, you might get ten thousand dollars. It’s about your mindset. It’s about how big you’re dreaming.
I decided it was time to stop dreaming small. It’s too easy to keep your dreams within the constraints of your current reality. What you dream is going to motivate you. If you’re dreaming small, that’s all you’re going to get. I went back to the drawing board. What was my original goal as a kid? I wanted a Lamborghini. Why didn’t I get it? Because I chose to dream small. I chose to lower my target within the constraints of my current reality. Never lower a target.
This time, I decided I was going to dream big. I set my sights high and wrote down the specifics of my goal:
“I am going to buy a Lamborghini in cash and I’m going to buy it when the price represents only 10 percent of my money.”
The Lamborghini Aventador, the model I had my eye on when I set this goal, is a four-hundred-thousand-dollar car. That meant I’d have to make $4 million before I could buy it. My first thought was simply to buy the Lamborghini in cash, but I decided I wasn’t dreaming big enough. I decided to multiply my goal by ten: I’d only buy it when it represented 10 percent of my money.
“A Million Dollars Is . . .”
I’m not a millionaire, but I guarantee you I will be. There’s not a doubt in my mind that that will happen, and there’s not a doubt in the minds of anyone who knows me. I communicate it to them daily. I repeatedly tell them, “A million dollars is not a lot of money.” You have to normalize what is big to you if you want to attain it. The only way to normalize what is big is through repeated exposure. I’ve so often told this to my wife, siblings, friends, and employees that when I say the first part and pause, “A million dollars is . . .” they reply without skipping a beat: “Not a lot of money.”
Here is my simple formula for recognizing greatness before it happens:
Mindset x Action + Time = Greatness
I like to hire based on this formula. I look for people with a positive mindset who are already taking action. I work desperately to foster their talent, invest in them, and nab them as fast as possible for my company because I know greatness is only an inevitability.
The day I sold the Mustang was one of the happiest days of my life. I loved that car, but it was a reminder of when I lowered my target and set a small goal. We bought a dull, gray, economical car—the most boring car you can imagine. Selling my fast, red sports car and buying the grayest, most unimaginative car you can picture was the most motivating thing in the world to me. It charged me up like you wouldn’t believe. It made me hungry for the future I knew would come, and it made me eager to work hard.
Share Your Big Goals
Several years ago, I had a different opinion about big goals. I used to think you should keep your big goals quiet. I was afraid of what other people would think, and I was afraid of being discouraged. That version of me would never have dared to put my Lambo Goal in a book because I’d be too afraid of what you’re thinking right now: He’s irrational. Or, He’s shallow for having a childhood dream of owning a supercar.
But there are two problems with that kind of thinking. You can’t think like everyone else if you want to see different results. I kept the Lambo Goal quiet for a long time. I didn’t want to share my big dream because I was afraid of what other people would think. That’s the wrong thing to worry about. What you should be more concerned about is people not knowing your goal at all. If the people in your life aren’t helping you get closer to your goal, they’re taking you further away from it. If the people in your life don’t even know your goal, how can they possibly help you get closer?
When I shared this goal publicly, people did say things—unkind things. They called me names. They insulted my character. They accused me of being shallow, unreasonable, arrogant, and more. Others I used to consider friends stopped associating with me. They didn’t all publicly speak out against me, but they quietly unfollowed me online or stopped talking to me altogether—all because I shared a big goal!
Isn’t it amazing the judgments people make? My greatest fear was realized. I always said you should keep your big goals to yourself and share them with only a few people who will believe in you, and now look what happened. But I haven’t told you what else happened.
I also gained a lot of new friends. The people around me who did believe in me became enthusiastic. They were inspired. They started setting their own Lambo Goals and working toward them. They thanked me for motivating them. I started getting letters from people saying my story about small goals and the Mustang resonated with them. They too had been setting small goals all their lives and feared what others thought. They listened to my shows and said their lives had changed. Others said they’d finally quit the job that was draining their life away. People were moving across the world, starting their own business, and sharing incredible stories with me about how setting big goals had changed their lives!
I realized it didn’t matter what the wrong people thought about me. Successful people don’t spend an ounce of energy criticizing others’ goals. What mattered were the lives that were positively impacted. I’m never going to hold back from sharing a big goal again.
What You Have to Do Every Day Until You Reach Your Goal
There’s still something I haven’t told you: Remember the note you created when I asked you to write down your goals?
- Go back to your goals document. You’re not going to work on accomplishing all of these goals. You’re going to work on just one.
- Which single goal, if you could accomplish it now, would make the biggest positive impact on your life in the next year? Of all the goals you wrote, which one would make the greatest difference? Highlight that goal. Underline it or make it bold.
- Create a new note and write the goal again at the top of that page. This time, write the date that’s one year from today as your deadline. That may seem ambitious, but we’re not done.
- Create a bullet list with twenty steps that will get you to that goal. These should be twenty action items that will get you a step closer to your goal. Coming up with the first five will be easy. Ten is going to be hard, but I want you to press through. You must press on until you get to twenty at a minimum. Do not stop until you get to twenty. The twentieth thing might be the one that works, so don’t stop short.
- Every day, accomplish one item on your list of twenty. This is the most important part: every single day, you need to be doing one of the things on your list. Don’t go a day without doing something on your list. If you haven’t done one of the things on your list, don’t watch TV, play games, or go out with friends. You must sacrifice.
If you want to achieve big things, you have to do what other people aren’t willing to do. Normal people watch TV or movies, play games, get drinks, or go bowling. You can’t compare yourself to normal people if you want to achieve the extraordinary. To be great is to be distinguished. If you do what everyone else does, you will get what everyone else gets. Greatness does not come by following the status quo.
Successful people know what they want, and they invest every ounce of their energy in going after that one thing. You can achieve many great things in life, but you can achieve only one truly great thing at a time. If you try to pursue many goals at once, you will not succeed at any of them.
You need clarity. You have to set a single goal for yourself—not multiple goals, a single goal. You have to know what you want in order to get what you want. For there to be a chance of getting what you want, you must focus all of your efforts on that one thing.
I settled for the Mustang because it was something within my reach. Why do I want a Lamborghini? It’s a cool car, it’s red, it goes fast, and it’s fun to drive. If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that all of those things are also true about a Mustang. The Mustang is a lesser version of my goal, yet it shares all of the same attributes.
Unsurprisingly, one of Merriam-Webster’s definitions of settle is “to sink gradually.”
Once you have your lofty goal, notice that if you write down all the reasons you want that thing, you will find a lesser version of your goal that satisfies all of the criteria—every time.
The question is, “Are you going to settle?”
- You’re the only person who lives 100 percent of your life. Don’t let what other people think limit your life.
- If you want to achieve big things, you have to do what other people aren’t willing to do.
- If you do what everyone else does, you will get what everyone else gets.
- Greatness does not come by following the status quo.