Thursday, February 12, 2009
Define Your Goals
by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
What is your goal in life?
We should constantly ask ourselves, "Why was I born? For what purpose did I come into this world? What am I supposed to do here?" Your goal should be well-enough defined so that you can unhesitatingly state it to others. And everything you do should be dedicated to your goal. When that happens, you bring meaning into your life.
Once you establish your goals, how do you reach them? By the application of a twin principle: to will and to believe. Will power is the process by which you utilize an enormous force that is within you. Believing is the process by which you surrender yourself to the power of God. So "to will" means to bring out your personal power; "to believe" means to bring out God's power. And, if you really begin to practice this principle, your achievements can be astonishing.
A friend of mine tells this story about a young California couple. Things were difficult for them, but they had a goal: They wanted to have a home that would be filled with love and beauty. And they talked about the house they wanted. It was the big goal in their early life.
One night the wife sat down and drew a picture of the house —a complete floor plan, upstairs and down, and a garden plan—just the way she wanted it. She showed it to her husband and said, "This is my dream house."
Though the couple had little money, he said, "Let's hold to our dream and to the belief that one day we'll have that house." They looked everywhere trying to find such a home. Real estate agents showed them one house after another, but they did not find it. So they sat down and prayed about it and visualized themselves being led to it.
One night they were talking with friends about their dream house. One of the friends said, "Why, the house you are describing is well known to me; it belongs to a Mr. Davies. His wife died, but he continues to live there. He has turned down offers for three times its price. He won't sell it until he finds a couple who will love the house as he and his wife did."
"Please take us there," the couple asked. When they saw the house, the man and his wife were overwhelmed. It was exactly as it had been pictured in their diagram. Mr. Davies, a kind man, saw the love for this house in the eyes of this young couple. "I've turned down everyone else, waiting for the couple to come along for whom this house was intended," he said.
They were thrilled. But they had to face reality; it was beyond their means.
"Some things are more important than money," said Mr. Davies. "This is your dream house, isn't it? All right, you write your own terms, and I will help you to have this house." The contract was drawn. This couple had practiced the great law: belief is visualization, dreaming, conviction, will. As a result, they reached their cherished goal.
Believe, dream, will, and put it all in the hands of God. Work, struggle, visualize! These are the great principles bound up in the text, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27). Get it into your mind and get going, and you will reach your greatest goals.
If these techniques fail, as they sometimes will, ask yourself: "Have I failed because I have some dirt in the mind?" By "dirt," I mean wrongdoing. If you allow this miserable thing called sin to grow in you, it will defeat you. Because, you see, dirt clogs, accumulates, creates "carbon" in the mental processes and corrodes the soul.
A young salesman once came up to me and said, "I've concluded that I do not succeed because something is wrong with me personally. I wish you would talk with me and see if you can get at it." Well, the fellow's conversation was filled with profanity. It was clear that his drinking was out of control. And he told me he was "mixed up with a couple of women."
It so happened I had a quotation in my pocket that I had copied from an advertisement for a certain brand of motor oil. It was coincidental that I had it with me, but God works in coincidences. I handed the young man the slip of paper. On it was written: "A clean engine delivers power." I could tell, from the look on his face, that he got the message.
Whatever your goal —if it is a good and honorable one —you have it in you to attain it. If you will be specific, if you will clarify your goal and blueprint it, and if it is within God's righteousness, you can attain your goal. This I sincerely believe.
This article was adapted from a booklet by the Dr. Peale.