The Success Principles by Jack Canfield: Principle 3

By Sheikh Idris Watts

Principle 3: Decide What You Want

You have to decide where you want to be in life. What does success look like to you? You can’t be successful if you don’t know what it is.

Inside of you is the potential to be what you meant to become. Unfortunately, you have buried this seed deep within yourself and forgotten it in response to your parents, teachers, and other adult role models as you were growing up. You started as a baby knowing exactly what you want. You knew when you were hungry. You spat out foods you did not like. When you needed something, you simply cried – with no inhibitions or holding back – until you got what you wanted. As you grew older, you crawled around and moved closer to interests for you. You headed to what you wanted with no fear. So what happened? Somewhere along the way someone said: “Don’t touch that!” “You don’t really want that!” “You should be ashamed of yourself!” “Stop crying. Don’t be such a baby!” And as you got older you heard: “You can’t have everything in life!” “Can’t you think of anybody but yourself?” “Stop that and do this!”

After years of this, most of us lose touch with the needs of our bodies and the desires of our hearts and we end up trying to live our life around what other people want us to do. We start trying to get others’ approval instead of living our own life.

  • We go to med school because that is what Dad wants.
  • We get married to please our mother.
  • We get a ‘real job’ instead of pursuing our dream career.

In the name of being sensible, we end up becoming numb to our own needs. Most teenagers today do not know what they want to do in life because they have been suffocated by ‘shoulds, ought to’s and you’d betters’. How do we change this?

You have to stop saying “I don’t know, I don’t care; it doesn’t matter to me; or whatever.” When you are confronted by a choice, no matter how small, act as if you have a preference. Ask yourself in every situation what you would like. Not being clear makes other people’s needs seem more important and you end up making that the habit in your life. You have to break that by doing the opposite. Don’t settle for anything! Strive to get what you want.

Make a list of 30 things you want to do, 30 things you want to have and 30 things you want to achieve before you die. Ask yourself or get someone to ask you what you want and jot the points down. At first the points will not be profound but as you go on you will discover that the real you will start speaking: “I want to change my job. I want to make a difference…” The wants that are a true expression of your core values will appear.

Make a list of 20 things you love to do and then think of ways you can make a living doing some of them.

God has placed within us a navigational system that guides us to our goals. Once you decide where you want to go in life by clarifying your vision, goal setting, affirmations, visualizing and then starting to move in the right direction, your inner GPS will start unfolding for you your route as you go along to where you should be heading. Once you are clear what you want and focus on it, the how will keep showing up – sometimes just when you need it and not a moment earlier.

People of success believe anything is possible and they believe they have an integral part to play in bringing it about.

People will try to talk you out of your vision. They will tell you that you are crazy. They will laugh at you and try to bring you down to their level. These are called dream-stealers. Don’t listen to them.

How do I clarify my vision?

Sit in a room which is comfortable and quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Then, close your eyes and ask your subconscious mind to give you images of what your ideal life is.

Focus on:

Your financial life
Your career
Your free time
Your physique
Your relationships with family and friends
Your personal life and hobbies
Your community

How would these things look in the perfect world you would like to live? You can write down your answers as you go or you can imagine it and then later on write them all down. Everyday review the vision you have written down and your inner navigation system will draw you to ways to better these areas of your life. However, you must act upon those guides.

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