Most people readily accept the power of setting goals. Life is full of clichés concerning the value of one setting and achieving goals. However, many people just do not know how to put real shoe leather to this technology to get it to work in their lives.
When I was 16 (which was back in 1967), I read the book “I Can,” by Dr. Ben Sweetland. In this book, Dr. Sweetland instructed me to list my wildest financial fantasies on a 3×5 card. Then I was to pull this card out several times a day and daydream about what it would be like to actually own all those things. The exercises went something like this:
Suppose someone rang your doorbell with a certified letter, which stated you had a rich uncle who just died and left you everything on your list. Next, visualize yourself enjoying each one of those things you just received. Then play this game as often as you can each day for 30 days.
I listed on my 3×5 card that I wanted:
- to take a trip around the world;
- own a Lincoln Continental with a car telephone (car telephones were extremely rare then and only people like James Bond had them);
- own a Corvette sports car;
- have $10,000 in the bank;
- have a wardrobe of custom-tailored clothes; and,
- live in a five-bedroom home with a swimming pool.
Not bad goals for a 16-year-old back in 1967!
On my first day, I read the 3×5 card and fantasized about my new goals approximately 10 times. The second day, I did it about seven or eight times, the third day maybe five or six, and then once or twice a day for maybe the next several weeks before I lost the card.
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Four years later, when I was 20 years old, I was moving out of a house in which I lived when I came across a book that contained an old crumpled up 3×5 card. I uncrumpled it and, to my surprise, found it contained my original goal list (long since forgotten). That may have been one of the most riveting moments of my life.
Here I was moving out of a 5,000-square-foot, six-bedroom house with a pool. I was still single but had two cars: a Lincoln Continental with a telephone and a Lotus sports car. (I apparently changed my taste in sports cars.) I had a closet full of custom-made clothes, had $10,000 in my savings account, and I had previously traveled around the world for three and a half months.
I can remember to this day the exact feeling of elation as I grabbed a new 3×5 card and began selecting new goals. These new goals appeared just as absurd to my current financial picture then as the earlier ones were that I had written down when I was 16. What I wrote down on the new 3×5 card was that I wanted to be a millionaire before the age of 25, be worth $10 million before I was 30 and $25 million before age 35. I wrote that I wanted to live in a multi-million dollar estate on prime acreage in the center of Dallas, own a Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible, a limousine and a yacht. Finally, I wanted to have a million dollars in cash in the bank.
Once again, these wishes were completely out of my grasp, and I had no plan of action to get them. But I did follow the exercise that had served me so well in the past and began daydreaming all over. By the time I was 35, I had reached every goal on my list.
I wanted to share Dr. Sweetland’s philosophy with you because it worked for me, and I believe it can work for you.