In our dreams we all aspire to be, do and have great things. Yet most of us simply aren't creating the results we want. We don't have enough money, romance, success or joy in our lives. What we need to understand is that greatness exists in all of us, but it is up to us to pull it out of ourselves. It is true that we all have genius. We just need to learn how to apply our genius.
This book is divided into ten sections that parallel the ten strategies that you will need to employ to successfully live your dreams. Each one is an important piece of the overall system that will take you from where you are to where you want to be. Let's get started.
Step 1. Decide What You Want
The indispensable first step
to getting things you want out of life
is this: Decide what you want.
—Ben Stein, actor and author
In order to get what you want, you must first decide what you want. Most people get stuck at this crucial first step because they simply can't see how it's possible to get what they want—so they don't even let themselves want it. Don't sabotage yourself that way! What we now know about how the brain works is that you must first decide WHAT you want, before your brain can figure out HOW to get it.
Be willing to dream big dreams
Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.
When the two of us decided to write Chicken Soup for the Soul, we had a big dream. We wanted to create a book that would change millions of lives. Our dream was to sell 150,000 copies the first year and a million copies by the end of the following year. We were thinking number one on the bestseller lists from the very beginning. We wanted to touch as many lives as possible—to make a big difference in the world. Our corporate mission statement is to inspire and empower people to live their highest vision in a context of love and joy. Through the Chicken Soup for the Soul books we wanted to heal and change the world one story at a time. It was a big dream.
Later, after selling 50 million books, we decided to make the dream bigger. We created what we call our "2020 Vision"—to sell one billion Chicken Soup for the Soul books worldwide and raise 500 million dollars for charity by the year 2020. So far we are approaching 70 titles with almost 90 million copies sold in 39 languages, and almost 4 million dollars contributed to charity.
Two years ago, we set the goal to sell one million books in one day. The main purpose was just to stretch our thinking. We realized if we were going to sell one billion books by 2020, we were going to have to pick up the pace. Only a few weeks later we were at the Book ExpoAmerica in Chicago. Jack was riding the bus taking people back to their hotels when he learned the woman sitting next to him was the head buyer for the WH Smith Stores—the chain that sells books and magazines at airports.
When Jack shared our goal of selling one million books in one day, she quickly said, "I can help you do that!" She then helped formulate an elaborate plan of creating book signings in all of the airport bookstores across the country. It would start early in the morning in the East Coast airports—O'Hare, JFK, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Dulles, Atlanta, Miami and Orlando—and then follow the sun first to the Midwest and eventually the West Coast. We would find an airline partner that would fly all of the Chicken Soup coauthors from airport to airport taking advantage of the peak rush times, thus reaching millions of potential buyers in one day.
We have learned that as soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, not only will your creative mind come up with big ideas to make it happen, you will also start attracting the people you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams inspire you and others to want to play all out. So let your dreams be as big as you want them to be.
Set Goals That Will Stretch You
Another value in giving yourself permission to go after the big dreams is that big dreams require you to grow in order to achieve them. In fact, in the long run, that is the greatest benefit you will receive from pursuing your dreams: mastery over your life. It is not just about the material benefits you receive (the car, the house, the money), but who you become in the process. As we all have seen many times over, the outer symbols of success can be easily lost. Houses burn down, companies go bankrupt, relationships end in divorce, cars get old, clothes go out of style, bodies age and fame wanes, but who you are, what you have learned and the new skills you have developed never go away. These are the true prizes of achieving success. Our friend Jim Rohn advises: You want to set a big enough goal so that in the process of achieving it, you become someone worth becoming.
In the process of building what has become the Chicken Soup phenomenon, we had to stretch and expand in many areas. We had to learn about publishing, marketing, PR, radio and television. As our staff grew from four to sixteen people, we had to learn new business and management skills. As our opportunities and projects grew, we had to learn how to better balance our work life and family lives. We had to hire consultants, take courses, attend conventions, read books, listen to tapes and ask for advice from many quarters. Through all of that, we gained valuable skills, learned many lessons and gained a lot of wisdom. We are better and stronger for it.
¬2003. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Soul Living Your Dreams by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.