Truly, we learn as we go. Sometimes what looks like frustration is actually preparation. Just ask Persistence the Chicken.
No Overnight Successes
Four or maybe five years ago, my friend and I read Napoleon Hill’s famous book, Think and Grow Rich.
We carefully followed its instructions, including these from Chapter 2:
The method by which DESIRE for riches can be transmuted into its financial equivalent, consists of six definite, practical steps, viz: First. Fix in your mind the exact amount of money you desire. It is not sufficient merely to say “I want plenty of money.”
First. Be definite as to the amount. (There is a psychological reason for definite- ness which will be described in a subsequent chapter).
Second. Determine exactly what you intend to give in return for the money you desire. (There is no such reality as “something for nothing.)
Third. Establish a definite date when you intend to possess the money you de- sire.
Fourth. Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire, and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.
Fifth. Write out a clear, concise statement of the amount of money you intend to acquire, name the time limit for its acquisition, state what you intend to give in return for the money, and describe clearly the plan through which you intend to accumulate it.
Sixth. Read your written statement aloud, twice daily, once just before retiring at night, and once after arising in the morning. AS YOU READ-SEE AND FEEL AND BELIEVE YOURSELF ALREADY IN POSSESSION OF THE MONEY.
My Statement and Why It Was Worth the Trouble
My written statement looked something like this:
“I will acquire one million dollars by January 1, 2020. I will produce content writing in return for this money…”
And then I kind of trailed off there. I didn’t really have a plan. Or if I did, I don’t remember it.
Sometimes the Plan is to Find a Plan
Hill tells lots of stories in his book and one of them is about a Reverend Gonzales who wanted to find a million dollars to open a new kind of school. For two years, he dreamed about his school and thought about how to get the money.
The way Hill tells it, one night the Reverend made a firm decision that he was going to get that money within a week. And you know what? He did!
It sounds like you could get the money just by making a solid decision, right? Except it doesn’t seem to work exactly like that in real life. If it did, we could all just decide we were going to acquire a fixed amount of money and voila! We would have it.
No, in real life it takes time to learn enough to know what practical steps are needed to reach your goal. Sometimes it takes A LOT of time.
Change Your Name, Change Your Life
We have all kinds of ways in which we imagine we can change our fortunes, but I think they all boil down to one thing.
In order to change your life, you have to change yourself. You have to change the way you think and act. We, as human beings, are entirely capable of deliberate growth and there are many ways to do it. You can learn new things, hire a coach, read good books or do lots of other things.
It took Reverend Gonzalez two years to become a man who could raise a million dollars. It’s taken me at least eight to become the kind of writer who can earn a million dollars. When I started this project, I didn’t even know about the kinds of writing I know about now.
And if I had known about them, I wouldn’t have known if I could do them.
Persistence the Chicken
I have a chicken named Persistence. I call her that because long after the other chickens outgrew trying to eat human beings, Persistence continues to peck us. I imagine at night, when she’s nestled in the coop, she visualizes the day she finally brings her vision to life and eats one of us.
Persistence may not live long enough to realize her dream, but you and I probably will. To paraphrase something my mother says, maybe it will take you ten years to bring your vision to life, but you’re going to be ten years older anyway.
Remember, when you’re working toward a goal, all of your so-called “failures” are really just preparation for success. The only surefire way to fail is to quit.
Just ask Persistence the Chicken.