The starting point of great success and achievement has always been the same. It is for you to dream big dreams. There is nothing more important, and nothing that works faster than for you to cast off your own limitations than for you to begin dreaming and fantasizing about the wonderful things that you can become, have, and do.
As a wise man once said, "You must dream big dreams, for only big dreams have the power to move the minds of men." When you begin to dream big dreams, your levels of self-esteem and self-confidence will go up immediately. You will feel more powerful about yourself and your ability to deal with what happens to you. The reason so many people accomplish so little is because they never allow themselves to lean back and imagine the kind of life that is possible for them.
A powerful principle that you can use to dream big dreams and live without limits is contained in what Elihu Goldratt calls the 'Theory of Constraints.' This is one of the greatest breakthroughs in modern thinking. What Goldratt has found is that in every process, in accomplishing any goal, there is a bottleneck or choke cord that serves as a constraint on the process. This constraint then sets the speed at which you achieve any particular goal.
What Goldratt found is that if you concentrate all of your creative energies and attention on alleviating the constraint, you can speed up the process faster than by doing any other single thing.
Let me give you an example. Let us say that you want to double your income. What is the critical constraint or the limiting factor that holds you back? Well, you know that your income is a direct reward for the quality and quantity of the services you render to your world. Whatever field you are in, if you want to double your income, you simply have to double the quality and quantity of what you do for that income. Or you have to change activities and occupations so that what you are doing is worth twice as much. But you must always ask yourself, "What is the critical constraint that holds me back or sets the speed on how fast I double my income?"
A friend of mine is one of the highest-paid commission professionals in the United States. One of his goals was to double his income over the next three to five years. He applied the 80/20 rule to his client base. He found that 20 percent of his clients contributed 80 percent of his profits, and that the amount of time spent on high-profit clients was pretty much the same amount of time spent on low-profit clients. In other words, he was dividing his time equally over the number of tasks that he did while only 20 percent of those items contributed 80 percent of his results.
So he drew a line on his list of clients under those who represented the top 20 percent and then called in other professionals in his industry and very carefully, politely, and strategically handed off the 80 percent of his clients that only represented 20 percent of his business. He then put together a profile of his top clients and began looking in the marketplace exclusively for the type of client who fit the profile; in other words, one who could become a major profit contributor to his organization, and whom he in turn could serve with the level of excellence that his clients were accustomed to. And instead of doubling his income in three to five years, he doubled it in the first year!
So what is holding you back? Is it your level of education or skill? Is it your current occupation or job? Is it your current environment or level of health? Is it the situations that you are in today? What is setting the speed for you achieving your goal?
Remember, whatever you have learned, you can unlearn. Whatever situation you have gotten yourself into, you can probably get yourself out of. If your real goal is to dream big dreams and to live without limits, you can set this as your standard and compare everything that you do against it. The three keys to living without limits have always been the same. They are clarity, competence, and concentration.
Clarity means that you are absolutely clear about who you are, what you want, and where you're going. Write down your goals and make plans to accomplish them. Set very careful priorities and do something every day to move toward your goals. And the more progress you make toward accomplishing things that are important to you, the greater self-confidence and self-belief you have, and the more convinced you become that there are no limits on what you can achieve.
Competence means that you begin to become very, very good in the key result areas of your chosen field. You apply the 80/20 rule to everything you do and you focus on becoming outstanding in the 20 percent of tasks that contribute to 80 percent of your results. You dedicate yourself to continuous learning. You never stop growing. You realize that excellence is a moving target. And you commit yourself to doing something every day that enables you to become better and better at doing the most important things in your field.
Concentration is having the self-discipline to force yourself to concentrate single-mindedly on one thing, the most important thing, and stay with it until it's complete.
The two key words for success have always been focus and concentration. 'Focus' is knowing exactly what you want to be, have, and do. Concentration is persevering, without diversion or distraction, in a straight line toward accomplishing the things that can make a real difference in your life.
When you allow yourself to begin to dream big dreams, creatively abandon the activities that are taking up too much of your time, and focus your inward energies on alleviating your main constraints, you start to feel an incredible sense of power and confidence. As you focus on doing what you love to do and becoming excellent in those few areas that can make a real difference in your life, you begin to think in terms of possibilities rather than impossibilities, and you move ever closer toward the realization of your full potential.