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Why do some people achieve all their goals while others simply dream of having a better life? Bestselling author Brian Tracy shows that the path from frustration to fulfillment has already been discovered. Hundreds of thousands—even millions—of men and women have started with nothing and achieved great success. Here Tracy presents the essential principles you need to know to make your dreams come true.

Tracy presents a simple, powerful, and effective system for setting and achieving goals—a method that has been used by more than one million people to achieve extraordinary things. In this revised and expanded second edition he has added three new chapters addressing areas in which goals can be most rewarding but also the toughest to set and keep: finances, family, and health.

Using the twenty-one strategies Tracy outlines, you’ll be able to accomplish any goals you set for yourself—no matter how big. You’ll discover how to determine your own strengths, what you truly value in life, and what you really want to accomplish in the years ahead. Tracy shows how to build your self-esteem and self-confidence, approach every problem or obstacle effectively, overcome difficulties, respond to challenges, and continue forward toward your goals, no matter what happens. Most importantly, you’ll learn a system for achievement that you will use for the rest of your life.

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1 Get Started: Unlock Your Potential


The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.


This is a wonderful time to be alive. There are almost unlimited opportunities today for creative and determined people to achieve more of their goals than ever before. Regardless of short-term ups and downs in the economy and in your life, we are entering into an age of peace and prosperity superior to any previous era in human history.

When I was eighteen, I left high school without graduating. My first job was as a dishwasher in the back of a small hotel. From there, I moved on to washing cars and then washing floors with a janitorial service. For the next few years, I drifted and worked at various laboring jobs, earning my living by the sweat of my brow. I worked in sawmills and factories. I worked on farms and ranches. I worked in the tall timber with a chain saw and dug wells when the logging season ended.

I worked as a construction laborer on tall buildings and as a seaman on a Norwegian freighter in the North Atlantic. Often I slept in my car or in cheap rooming houses. When I was twenty-three, I worked as an itinerant farm laborer during the harvest, sleeping on the hay in the farmer’s barn and eating with the farmer’s family. I was uneducated and unskilled, and at the end of the harvest, I was unemployed once more.


2 Take Charge of Your Life


A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with—a man is what he makes of himself.


When I was twenty-one, I was broke and living in a small one-room apartment in the middle of a very cold winter, working on a construction job during the day. In the evening, I usually couldn’t afford to go out of my apartment, where at least it was warm, so I had a lot of time to think.

One night as I sat at my small kitchen table, I had a great flash of awareness. It changed my life. I suddenly realized that everything that would happen to me for the rest of my life was going to be up to me. No one else was ever going to help me. No one was coming to the rescue.

I was thousands of miles from home with no intentions of going back for a long time. I saw clearly at that moment that if anything in my life were going to change, it would have to begin with me. If I didn’t change, nothing else would change. I was responsible.

I still remember that moment. It was like a first parachute jump—both scary and exhilarating. There I was, standing on the edge of life. And I decided to jump. From that moment onward, I accepted that I was in charge of my life. I knew that if I wanted my situation to be different, I would have to be different. Everything was up to me.


3 Clarify Your Values


One Universe made up of all that is; and one God in it all, and one principle of Being, and one Law, the Reason, shared by all thinking creatures, and one Truth.


One of the most important characteristics of leaders, and of the most successful people in every area of life, is that they know who they are, what they believe in, and what they stand for. Most people are confused about their goals, values, and ideals, and as a result, they go back and forth and accomplish very little. Men and women who become leaders, on the other hand, with the same or even fewer abilities and opportunities, go on to great accomplishments in whatever they attempt.

Life is lived from the inside out. The very core of your personality is your values. Your values are what make you the person you are. Everything you do on the outside is dictated and determined by your values on the inside, whether clear or fuzzy. The greater clarity you have regarding your values on the inside, the more precise and effective will be your actions on the outside.


4 Analyze Your Beliefs


The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.


Perhaps the most important of all mental laws is the Law of Belief. This law says that whatever you believe with conviction becomes your reality. Wayne Dyer says, “You do not believe what you see; you see what you already believe.” You actually view your world through a lens of beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, and preconceived notions. You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.

Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” This means that you always act on the outside based on your innermost beliefs and convictions about yourself.

In Matthew 9:29, Jesus says, “According to your faith, it will be done unto you.” This is another way of saying that your intense beliefs become your realities. They determine what happens to you.

Dr. William James of Harvard University said in 1905, “Belief creates the actual fact.” He went on to say, “The greatest revolution of my generation is the discovery that individuals, by changing their inner attitudes of mind, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”


5 Create Your Own Future


You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.


In more than thirty-three hundred studies of leaders conducted over the years, there is a special quality that stands out, one quality that all great leaders have in common. It is the quality of vision. Leaders have vision. Nonleaders do not.

Earlier I said that perhaps the most important discovery in all of human history is that you become what you think about most of the time. What is it then that leaders think about most of the time? The answer is that leaders think about the future and where they are going and what they can do to get there.

Nonleaders, on the other hand, think about the present and the pleasures and problems of the moment. They think and worry about the past and what has happened that cannot be changed.

We call this leadership quality “future orientation.” Leaders think about the future and what they want to accomplish and where they want to arrive sometime down the road. Leaders think about what they want and what can be done to achieve it. The good news is that when you begin to think about your future as well, you begin to think like a leader, and you will soon get the same results that leaders get.


6 Determine Your True Goals


Realize what you really want. It stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work digging gold.


There is perhaps no area of life where self-discipline is more important than in setting goals and working toward them every day.

We have known throughout the centuries that all human action is purposeful. Humans achieve goals automatically, as long as they set them in the first place. Once you become absolutely clear about what it is you want and then discipline yourself to do more of those things that move you toward this goal, your ultimate success is virtually guaranteed.

Here’s the question: If goal achieving is automatic and built into your system, why is it that so few people have goals? As mentioned in chapter 1, one of the main reasons people don’t set goals is that they don’t know how to. This is what we will deal with in the pages ahead.

There are seven keys to goal setting. These are general principles that apply to virtually every goal. When you find a person who is not achieving his or her goals, it is because of a deficiency in one of these seven key areas.


7 Decide upon Your Major Definite Purpose


There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.


Since you become what you think about most of the time, a major definite purpose gives you a focus for every waking moment. As Peter Drucker said, “Whenever you find something getting done, you find a monomaniac with a mission.”

The more you think about your major definite purpose and how to achieve it, the more you activate the Law of Attraction in your life. You begin to attract people, opportunities, ideas, and resources that help you to move more rapidly toward your goal and move your goal more rapidly toward you.

By the Law of Correspondence, your outer world of experience will correspond and harmonize with your inner world of goals. When you have a major definite purpose that you think about, talk about, and work on all the time, your outer world will reflect this, like a mirror image.

A major definite purpose also activates your subconscious mind on your behalf. Any thought, plan, or goal that you can clearly define in your conscious mind will immediately start to be brought into reality by your subconscious mind (and your superconscious mind, as we will discuss later).


8 Start at the Beginning


Your problem is to bridge the gap between where you are now and the goals you intend to reach.


Imagine that you were going to take a long trip across the country. The first step you would take would be to choose your destination and then get a road map to determine the very best way to get there. Each day before you started out, you would locate yourself on a map relative to where you were and where you planned to go in the hours ahead. Life is very much the same.

Once you have decided upon your values, vision, mission, purpose, and goals, the next step is for you to analyze your starting point. Exactly where are you today, and how are you doing, in each of the important areas of your life, especially as they relate to your goals?

Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric for many years, once said that the most important quality of leadership is the “reality principle.” He defined this as the ability to see the world as it really is, not as you wish it were. He would begin every meeting to discuss a goal or a problem with the question, “What’s the reality?” Peter Drucker referred to this quality as “intellectual honesty,” dealing with the facts exactly as they are before attempting to solve a problem or make a decision. Abraham Maslow once wrote that the first quality of the self-actualizing person was the ability to be completely honest and objective with himself or herself. It is the same with you.


9 Set and Achieve All Your Financial Goals


Money may not be the most important thing in life, but it’s way up there with oxygen.


One of your biggest responsibilities in life, something that you and only you can take care of, is to manage your money, control your finances, and achieve financial independence in the course of your working lifetime.

This is not something that can be left to chance. The acquisition and deployment of money is governed by specific rules, principles, laws, and factors that are immutable and unchanging. Just as if you wanted to learn medicine, mechanics, or law you would have to study the subject in detail for a long time in order to master it, you must give a lot of thought to money and finances or you will have shortfalls and problems in these areas all your life.

Avoid self-delusion. Many people who have tried and failed to achieve their financial goals fall into a mental trap where they rationalize their failures and frustrations by saying, “I don’t really care that much about money. I am a superior type of person who is more concerned with higher things.”


10 Become an Expert in Your Field


The uncommon man is merely the common man thinking and dreaming of success and in more fruitful areas.


Like the army recruiting poster, one of your goals is to “be all that you can be.” The market pays excellent rewards only for excellent performance. It pays average rewards for average performance and below average rewards, underachievement, failure, and frustration for below average results.

In our economic system, your income will be determined by three factors: first, what you do; second, how well you do it; and third, the difficulty of replacing you.

One quality of the most successful people is that at a certain point in their careers they decided to “commit to excellence.” They decided to be the best at what they do. They decided to pay any price, make any sacrifice, and invest any amount of time necessary to become very good in their chosen fields. And as a result of this decision, they pulled away from the pack of average performers and moved themselves upward into the income category where today they earn three, four, five, and ten times as much as their peers who have not made this commitment.


11 Improve Your Family Life and Relationships


The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be released and channeled toward some great good.


The quality of your family life and your relationships will determine most of your happiness or unhappiness. Your goals in this vital area of your personal life cannot be left to chance.

Men and woman are often different when it comes to their attitudes toward their relationships. Going back thousands of years, men were hunters while woman tended to the hearth and took care of the children.

Men derived their feelings of self-esteem and self-worth from demonstrating their proficiency as hunters, having the ability to bring back game and provide for their families. A man’s status in the tribe was determined by how good a hunter he was in comparison with the other men.

Jump ahead to the twenty-first century and very little has changed. Men still achieve their primary source of value and self-esteem by demonstrating their ability to hunt, to earn a good living, and to provide for their families. Men still compare themselves with other men in terms of their hunting ability. They seek out and admire symbols of success that tell others that they are good hunters and providers, such as cars, clothes, expensive watches, homes, and other material objects.


12 Optimize Your Health and Wellness


The weakest living creature, by concentrating his powers on a single object, can accomplish something: the strongest, by dispersing his over many, may fail to accomplish anything.


Your goal should be to enjoy high levels of health, fitness, and energy; to feel terrific about yourself; and to live a long, happy, pain-free life.

Fortunately, in the twenty-first century, much of what you accomplish or fail to accomplish with your health is under your control. The lifestyle habits you form and the decisions you make can have an enormous impact on the quality of your life and how long it lasts.

But very little happens by chance, and this is especially true in regard to your health and fitness. Just as you cannot expect your finances and your relationships to take care of themselves without your active intervention, you cannot expect to enjoy superb levels of health and fitness without your active involvement and participation every day of your life.

In the 1990s, Barry Sears wrote an excellent book on nutrition called The Zone. In this book, he explains how your body is like a factory and how every food you eat is like a chemical that goes into the production process of the factory. By changing the foods, or chemicals, you can change the process and the results.


13 Measure Your Progress


There is no road too long to the man who advances deliberately and without undue haste; there are no honors too distant to the man who prepares himself for them with patience.


You have incredible mental powers that you habitually fail to use to their full extent. By systematically setting goals for your life and making detailed plans to achieve them, you will save yourself years of hard work in reaching the same level of success. Goal setting enables you to use vastly more of your thinking powers than most other people.

Your conscious mind is the “head office” of your life. Its role is to deal with the information in your environment, identify it, analyze it, compare it against other information, and then decide what actions to take.

But it is your subconscious mind that contains the great powers that can enable you to accomplish vastly more than you ever have accomplished before. Most of your mental powers are “below the surface.” It is essential that you learn to tap into these powers to motivate, stimulate, and drive you forward toward the achievement of your goals.


14 Remove the Roadblocks


The person interested in success has to learn to view failure as a healthy, inevitable part of the process of getting to the top.


Often, people give up on their goals before they make the first try. And the reason they give up is because of all the obstacles, difficulties, problems, and roadblocks that immediately appear as soon as they decide to act.

The fact is that successful people fail far more often than unsuccessful people. Successful people try more things, fall down, pick themselves up, and try again—over and over again—before they finally win. Unsuccessful people try a few things, if they try at all, and very soon quit and go back to what they were doing before.

You should expect to fail and fall short many times before you achieve your goals. You should look upon failure and temporary defeat as a part of the price that you pay on your road to the success that you will inevitably achieve. As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is merely an opportunity to more intelligently begin again.”


15 Associate with the Right People


Your outlook upon life, your estimate of yourself, your estimate of your value are largely colored by your environment. Your whole career will be modified, shaped, molded by your surroundings, by the character of the people with whom you come in contact every day.


Everything in life and business is relationships. Everything you accomplish or fail to accomplish will be bound up with other people in some way. Your ability to form the right relationships with the right people at every stage of your life and career will be the critical determinant of your success and achievement and will have an inordinate impact on how quickly you achieve your goals.

The more people you know, and who know you in a positive way, the more successful you will be at anything you attempt. One person, at the right time, in the right place, can open a door for you that can change your life and save you years of hard work.

A key part of goal setting is for you to identify the people, groups, and organizations whose help you will require to achieve your goals. To accomplish goals of any kind, you will need the help of lots of people. Who are they?


16 Make a Plan of Action


Thoroughness characterizes all successful men. Genius is the art of taking infinite pains . . . All great achievement has been characterized by extreme care, infinite painstaking, even to the minutest detail.


Your ability to set goals and make plans for their accomplishment is the “master skill of success.” No other skill will help you more in fulfilling your potential in achieving everything that you are able to accomplish.

All major accomplishments today are “multitask jobs.” They consist of a series of steps that must be taken in a particular way in order to accomplish a result of any significance. Even something as simple as preparing a dish in the kitchen with a recipe is a multitask job. Your ability to master the skill of planning and completing multitask jobs will enable you to accomplish vastly more than most people and is critical to your success.

The purpose of planning is to enable you to turn your major definite purpose into a planned, multitasked project with specific steps—a beginning, middle, and end—with clear deadlines and subdeadlines. Fortunately, this is a skill that you can learn and master with practice. This skill will make you one of the most effective and influential people in your business or organization, and the more you practice it, the better you will get at it.


17 Manage Your Time Well


Time slips through our hands like grains of sand, never to return again. Those who use time wisely are rewarded with rich, productive and satisfying lives.


To achieve all your goals and become everything you are capable of becoming, you must get your time under control. Psychologists generally agree that a “sense of control” is the key to feelings of happiness, confidence, power, and personal well-being. And a sense of control is only possible when you practice excellent time-management skills.

The good news is that time management is a skill, and like any other skill, it is learnable. No matter how disorganized you have been in the past or how much you have tended to procrastinate or to get caught up in low-value activities, you can change. You can become one of the most efficient, effective, and productive people in your field by learning how others have gone from confusion to clarity and from frustration to focus. Through repetition and practice, you can become one of the most result-oriented people in your field.


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