Finding Purpose and a Definite Chief Aim in Life
In 1984, Mary Retton became the first gymnast from the United States to win the all-around gold medal. A reporter asked, “How does it feel to receive the first perfect 10 for the U.S. Olympic team?”
“Like it’s always felt,” she answered.
“But no one has ever done it before!” he said.
She replied, “I’ve done it thousands of times in my mind.”
The idea of having a "Definite Chief Aim" comes from the writings of Napoleon Hill. He has been called the catalyst of the self development movement and for good reason.
Professional athletes consistently tell their minds exactly what they want their bodies to achieve. They commit themselves to a practice of articulating their goal, visualizing their success, and dedicating themselves to the work of transforming their desire into reality.
In his book, Think and Grow Rich (1937), Hill said, “Anything the mind of man can conceive and believe it can be achieved.” Hill insisted our personal beliefs influence the role they play in our personal success.
Hill analyzed behaviors and beliefs of more than 16,000 men and women. He discovered 95 percent of the individuals he surveyed had no definite chief aim in life. Furthermore, he found the most successful men and women not only had purpose statements that were clearly defined, but specific plans for the attainment for their purposes.
“Any definite chief aim that is deliberately fixed in the mind and held there, with the determination to realize it, finally saturates the entire subconscious mind until it automatically influences the physical action of the body toward the attainment of that purpose” said Hill. Without purpose, Hill believes people often spread their thoughts and energies in so many different directions that “lead not to power, but to indecision and weakness.”
Hill outlined three specific steps that transform desire into fulfillment of a goal: (1) burning desire, (2) definite purpose, and (3) appropriate action to achieve that purpose. All three of these elements are essential if you want to experience success.
Why You Need a Definite Chief AimHow to Write a Definite Chief Aim
A definite chief aim is a specific, clearly-defined statement of purpose. It has the power to guide your subconscious mind. It transforms your attitude from pessimism into positive expectation.
Bruce Lee, a popular martial arts expert and actor during the 1960s and early 70s, was determined to become the highest-paid Asian actor in the United States. He created a definite chief aim after reading Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. In January, 1969, Lee committed his definite chief aim to paper:
I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.
Hill encouraged others to consider three questions to steer the definite chief aim writing process?
1. How much money do you want to acquire?
2. How much time do you want to pass before you have it?
3. What service or plan do you have to acquire it?
Use the following suggestions to write your own definite chief aim:
1. Be specific. Choose words that clearly express your definite chief aim. What do you want to do? What legacy do you want to leave that will inspire others? How can your greatest strengths and gifts breathe good into the world?
2. Choose a specific date that you want to accomplish your definite chief aim.
3. Determine what you will do in exchange for this compensation. Who will benefit from your services or products? What do they want or need? How are they changed?
4. Create a plan for achieving what you desire. It need not be a specific outline; express in general terms how you plan to reach your goals.
5. Combine elements of these statements listed above into one or two sentences. It must include (a) what you desire to do, (b) financial compensation you expect to receive for what you are willing to do, (c) a time deadline, and (d) a plan to reach your goal(s).
6. Sign and date your definite chief aim.
When you complete your definite chief aim, put it somewhere where you can repeat it to yourself every morning when you wake up and before you go to bed at night. Visualize your success as you repeat this statement to yourself. It must fill you with excitement and enthusiasm as you read and feel it.
Be bold when you write your definite chief aim. It must motivate you and challenge your present reality. You must believe it and embrace its potential.
“Your life doesn’t just ‘happen.’ Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you,” insisted Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure.” He added, “Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.”
Pick up a pen and start to work on composing your definite chief aim today. You are one step closer to transforming your dream into reality.