Copyright 2006 David Maillie
Ask any famous person that achieved greatness what they did that was different – they would tell you they made their goals realistic and took action. The rest is history. Napoleon Hill stated “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” He used a positive mental attitude and the use of small, realistic steps to achieve greatness. He went from a poor beginning in a log cabin to one of the best selling authors and an advisor to congressmen, presidents and so on. W. Clement Stone took $100 and with this same use of creating realistic steps and taking action he built one of the largest multi million dollar insurance companies in America.
They may not have the current publicity or notoriaty of Donald Trump, Dale Earnhardt or similar, but they came from much humbler starts. Donald Trump was born into a real estate magnate family. Dale Earnhardt was born into a established race car family in Kannapolis North Carolina. Now thats not to say that Donald Trump and Dale Earnhardt are not great people (Dale Earnhardt formed one of the largest and winningest Nascar teams and was very philanthropic and helped a lot of people through his charitable activities). What I am getting at here is that most of us don’t have magnates or millions in our families, but that in no wy means we cannot achieve greatness, riches beyond our wildest dreams, etc… Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone actually started with much less and in worse times and conditions than we have ever known (the great depression era).
What drove Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone to greatness was two things. (1)They planned realistic steps to reach attainable goals (baby steps). They didn’t just wake up one day and say my only goal is to be rich and retire tomorrow. They made plans and kept slowly raising the bar every time they would attain one of their goals. (2)They took action. You wouldn’t believe how many times I hear people state all the things they are going to do or would like to do. I recently attended a young Cornell Alumni meeting where the talk was mostly about grand future plans, or what they would like to do but they don’t have time, the conditions aren’t right, etc… You have to start somewhere. If you take too big of a step you will probably become defeated and not continue. It is better to take small attainable steps. Each time you attain one of these steps or your goal raise the bar a little. It will slowly move you closer to your dream and give you a great boost in self confidence. You have to plan out little baby steps and then you have to take action. This will seperate you from everyone else – the majority of people live life day to day, pay check to paycheck with little or no action or planning. You can always find these people complaining about how bad the economy is, taxes are too high, etc…
The best thing you can do is find a mentor and surround yourself with positive achievers and realize it will take a lot of effort. Lance Armstrong didn’t win the Tour de France 6 times by accident and battle cancer at the same time. He was driven, set goals, and took action on a daily basis. He also realized greatness would not happen overnight. Greatness didn’t come overnight for Dale Earnhardt either. He raced hard for many years, suffered crashes that would have kept most people off the track and faced fear head on. With his tanacity, fierce vigor and drive he became the greatest Nascar legend of all time. Now his son, Dale Jr., continues his racing legacy and awesome philanthropic and charitable activities. If you take the effort to take action, use baby steps to attain goals and make realistic goals you cannot and will not fail. Failure will not be a word in your vocabulary.
Now you know how to achieve greatness. Set goals for yourself. Make them realistic and take realistic baby steps to achieve them. Take action – this will seperate you from 99.9% of everyone else. They are afraid to take action and will never attain greatness. What do you think Lance Armstrong said when critics said he could not win the Tour de France, or that he could not do a repeat win of it? What do you think Dale Earnhardt said when the critics stated he could not overcome his fathers shadow in racing? They went on to become the greatest of their time. What will you do?
It is never to late to decide to take control of your life and make something great of it. Look at Sam Walton. He didn’t like working with a Ben Franklin franchise and their rules. So he started his own retailing company and became the largest retailer in the world. If you make attainable goals, take action, and lay out baby steps to achieve these goals there is no way you will fail and there’s no telling what you can or will achieve. Some of our greatest achievers have come from the most humbling positions. I wonder what greatness you can and will achieve.