by RCE Contributor, Dr. Chris Hawkins
One of the first pieces of encouragement that many of us hear from adults is that we can be anything we want to be. As a young kid, we hear this and begin to dream amazing things for ourselves. Some say they are going to become a professional athlete, others astronauts, while many more say they want to become doctors. There is no limit to what our mind can dream for ourselves at that age.
It feels good to dream big when you are young. You really believe you can be anything you want to be.
During this innocent part of your life, you have no idea your life will be full of uncertainty. As you grow older and begin to realize that life isn’t as easy as those adults made it out to be, you begin to let doubt enter your mind. That doubt continues to grow as you begin to resent those adults for telling you something that you now feel isn’t attainable. You also begin to feel life didn’t treat you fairly. Maybe you didn’t have the physical attributes or perhaps you didn’t have the intelligence to do what you once dreamed of doing. Slowly you start to let that doubt bubble in your brain to the point where you verbalize your disappointment. You tell those adults that you can’t be what you want to be. That’s when they tell you that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Notice the subtle change in the message. People once told you that you can “be” anything you want to “be” but now they are saying you can “accomplish” anything you set your mind “to.”
On the surface, this doesn’t sound any different, especially when we think about that statement in terms of our future careers. If you had your mind set on being a doctor and now you realize that isn’t a possibility, you begin to relate that word “accomplish” with your dream of being a doctor. In doing so, you realize you can’t accomplish that goal. So with one quick thought you dismiss the statement that you can accomplish anything you want.
Why did you dismiss this very powerful idea without even thinking about it? The answer is you didn’t trust the person shared that statement. Why should you trust them when they told you that you could become anything you wanted to become?
For most people, they never consider they can accomplish what they set their mind to.
Years down the road, as an adult, a few will begin to ponder that concept. Their life experiences, level of maturity, and the wisdom they have gained will allow them to reconsider what was meant when people told them they could accomplish anything they set their minds to.
As an example, suppose that after years of neglecting their health, they decide to get into shape and lose some weight. Those who become determined realize that it takes them far less time to lose the weight than it took to put it on. When others ask them how they did it, part of their answer is they had to become determined. With one answer, they realize that not only can the body physically accomplish great things in a short amount of time, but the mind is also capable of accomplishing great things mentally.
They begin to see this relationship between the power of the mind and the ability of the body.
They begin to learn how to harness the power of their mind to help them accomplish things in other areas of their lives.
What about those who didn’t lose weight? More than likely, they let their mind convince them they couldn’t do it because they didn’t have the time, it was too hard or maybe because they were feeling some pain or lack of overall motivation. Those are thoughts that kept them for accomplishing their goal of losing weight and getting into shape.
Those who learn how to harness the power of the mind go on to accomplish great things in other parts of their lives. Those who don’t continue to “hope” they can accomplish great things.
The problem is that as a very young child, adults told you a simple version of the story because that was easy for you to understand. If they had told you that you could accomplish anything you set your mind to, you wouldn’t have understood. At a young age, you wouldn’t have the level of experience and knowledge necessary to understand the power of that statement.
Only later when you have the ability to understand do they tell you the real version. The problem is that by then you’ve been conditioned to ignore this because you don’t trust them. By dismissing the advice, most give up on their big dreams. At that point they settle. They never really understand the power of what the mind can accomplish.
The mind creates thoughts. When we channel those thoughts we allow our brain to process and organize those thoughts into a plan of action. That plan doesn’t come overnight. The mind needs time to develop a path that we can act on to accomplish our goals.
Just having a thought one time doesn’t allow the brain enough time to formulate an action plan. Most of us are taught to set goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timed.
Suppose you are in college and you have a goal of becoming a millionaire by the time you are 35. That goal is specific, measurable, and timed. When we ask ourselves how to make it happen or even if it is realistic, doubt tells us that achieving our goal is impossible. We don’t know how to do it and we aren’t sure the goal is realistic. Most people will dismiss that goal. But those who understand how to harness the power of their mind will have no doubt that it can be done. They also realize that even though they don’t’ yet know how to do it, they know a plan will present itself if they give it time.
Every day, they allow themselves a few minutes to dream. They visualize in their mind having already accomplished the goal. What does their life look like at that point? They repeat in their minds what the goal is. They begin to program their brain to think about accomplishing that goal both on a conscious and unconscious level.
Napoleon Hill interviewed hundreds of successful people over his lifetime and found that most of them had the ability to control their mind to help them accomplish great things that seemed impossible at the time.
He wrote about the power of the mind in his legendary book, Think And Grow Rich.
Bob Proctor took those ideas and has continued writing about the power of the thoughts. His book, Thoughts Are Things, is a fantastic book on this subject. Drawing from their work, I will share with you one of my big goals to help you see how the process works.
By the time I am 50, I want to own a sailboat. The idea of having the freedom to sail my own boat from port to port is something I’ve always dreamed about but didn’t think was possible.
After reading these two books, I began to put into place the practice of truly believing that I could create a lifestyle that was conducive to having this freedom as well as having the funds to buy a sailboat.
Everyday, I visualize in my mind accomplishing all of my goals. Among those are the dream of having a sailboat.
I don’t just visualize the boat but rather I start off by stating in my mind that by my 50th birthday ( I actually say the date), I want to have accomplished (I then visualize my goals), and then a general idea of how I am going to go about accomplishing those goals (through my financial coaching business).
Notice I do give my mind a basic idea of what I am going to do to accomplish my lofty goals but I don’t deal with specific details. I have allowed my mind to figure those out over time.
I’m still not there but I feel I have a better plan now than when I started. Things are becoming more clear.
Visualizing the goals is important. Again, I don’t just want to state them but I want to see myself having accomplished that goal on that date. Perhaps I see myself standing at the wheel, steering as the wind blows through my hair. I’m drinking a cup of coffee and as the sun begins to rise, I break out the sunscreen and begin to put it on for protection. The waves are creating a steady motion in the boat. I’m a few days away from reaching my next destination. The wind shifts and I adjust the sails on the boat.
Now, I won’t continue to give you all the details but I wanted you to understand the level at which I visualize accomplishing my goals. I’ve been doing this for years and I know that in the next few years, this dream will become a reality.
Looking back at your childhood, those adults told you that you could be anything you wanted to be. What they really meant was you can accomplish amazing things if you set your mind to it.
Although your characteristics might keep you from pursuing the career you seek, that doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish big things in your life.
Everyone who allows their mind to work for them can do things they never thought possible.
Just like your body can physically get into shape much faster than it took to get out of shape, your mind can also do things amazing when you allow it.
I want to challenge you to set big goals. I want you to dream big.
Don’t only set goals that are easy to accomplish. Don’t set goals that you already know how to do but rather add in some goals that you have no idea how to accomplish.
Every day, think about those goals.
Set a target date and begin your day by visualizing on that date having accomplished your goals by actually living it out in your mind.
Never allow yourself to doubt that you will accomplish such a big task. Be realistic but stretch yourself.
For example, don’t think you will be a millionaire by the end of the month but don’t think you can never be one either. Perhaps visualize yourself being one in ten years.
That’s a challenge but also something you can accomplish, even if you don’t know how today.
Don’t just think about having the millionaire dollars but think about the life it would allow you to lead.
In your mind, tell yourself that you by November 1, 2027, I want to be a debt-free millionaire who has a paid for a $250,000 house, paid for a rental home and have over $650,000 in mutual funds. This level of financial security will allow me to help those in need, travel when I want, send my kids to college debt-free, etc. I am going to accomplish this by starting and operating a landscape construction business that builds outdoor living spaces.
Again, don’t just say each part but also visualize your paid for house. Visualize your landscaping business. Visualize yourself helping people.
Doing so will program your mind to connect the dots from where you are now to that date in the future.
You will be amazed at the great things you can do when you dream big and truly set your mind to it.
So, go back to being a kid and allow yourself to dream. It’s okay. Permission granted.
Dr. Chris Hawkins is a financial writer, speaker, podcaster and coach who is passionate about helping people of all ages live a financially prosperous life. After turning his financial life around, he began teaching both students and adults how to send their financial problems on a permanent vacation. He is the face behind the brand Dr. Thrift, which focuses on providing both knowledge and hope for those looking to improve their financial situation.