Think Powered by a Big

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote, "What a different story men would have to tell if only they would adopt a definite purpose, and stand by that purpose until it had time to become an all-consuming obsession." Motivation matters. Napoleon Hill believed it, and so do I. In fact, this is something I learned a long time ago, and ever since, I've made it my practice to study the lives of successful people to discover their motivation to achieve. I clip news articles, read biographies, and watch documentaries on their lives. What I try to decipher from their individual stories is a common pattern for achievement. What did these people do differently? Were they smarter or better educated? Did they come from high-achieving families? Were they exceptionally gifted or hardworking? The primary characteristic I've found in the lives of high achievers is that they had a strong drive to succeed. They had a compelling, personal reason to achieve. It's what I call a Big Why.

One of the many articles I clipped was from a management study in which the authors made an interesting discovery: "When tested in national surveys against such seemingly crucial factors as intelligence, ability, and salary, level of motivation proves to be a more significant component in predicting career success."1 The authors went on to state that while the level of motivation was strongly correlated to individual success, it didn't matter where the motivation came from. In general, I've found this to be true so long as the motivation is powerful and lasting.

The Millionaire Real Estate Investors we spoke to while researching this book shared with us the fact that their motivation arose from a desire to be free from their jobs, have more choices in their lives, achieve self actualization, and gain the security that comes with abundance. They shared a similar drive to reach for their potential, asking questions like: "How much am I capable of?" and "What's possible for me?"

1 Bashaw and Grant, Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, 1994. Think a Million

High achievers—Millionaire Real Estate Investors—are powered by a Big Why. Striving to be your very best will have you following in their footsteps on the path to Big Success. A Big Why can redefine your life in ways you might not have imagined, but to qualify as a Big Why, your motivation should move you from thinking in terms of electives to acting in terms of imperatives. What I mean is that you stop thinking of success as something you want to achieve and start feeling that it's something you need to and in fact have to achieve. Life is very different when you move from want-tos to have-tos, and a truly significant Big Why causes you to make that transition.

Are you plugged into

"When someone is struggling finan- your Big Why? Are you tap-

cially, there are two things going on. ping into the energy it can They have limited financial training, and they have a weak spirit. The spirit has to be extremely strong if you're going to succeed. There are a lot of people with the right financial ably have a strong motiva-knowledge, but they lack guts." tion for seeking financial

Robert Kiyossaki wealth. I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the things in your life that motivate you the most. Try to think beyond material goals. You may be working hard to pay off college loans or credit card debt or maybe to get a new family car, but as big as those things seem now, they are really short-term sources of motivation. Any benefits you receive from a focus on them today are unlikely to outlive your achieving them tomorrow. Maybe your greater motivation is financial freedom.

Take a moment now and write down your thoughts. What are the big reasons that drive the choices you make? When you're finished, look for a natural hierarchy. Do some things motivate you more than others do? Is there a higher motivation beyond what you've written down? Ask your bring to your life? Chances are, you're reading this book for a reason. You prob-

Best-selling author and millionaire investor

Scottsdale, AZ

self, what would that choice do for me? What would it mean to me to have that or do that? What would it allow me to become? Do your best to rank all these things in terms of their importance to you.

Hopefully, at the top there is something along the lines of "I want to be as financially wealthy as I can be" or "I want the largest life possible for me." Big Whys related to achieving your highest potential are in my experience the most powerful. Reaching one's personal financial potential is a limitless pursuit; after all, there's no cap on that potential. This is important because the power and reach of your motivation often dictate the level of your success. Having no motivation will lead you nowhere. A small source of motivation will bring you small success. Big Success, in contrast, requires much, much more. It requires a Big Why— an evergreen, ever-growing Big Why!

Figure 2

In the end, you shouldn't be too judgmental about your honest answers. Your highest and best calling is your highest and best calling— it's not comparative, and it's not competitive. Life isn't, and neither are your reasons for living it. The goal of this exercise is simply to look for and articulate the factors that drive you to take meaningful and persistent action. Once they are put on paper and written in your heart, they will become a powerful guiding force in your life. The natural next step is to ask yourself, "Do my professional goals line up with that vision? What's the best way to finance my Big Why? Are my relationships in line with these goals?" What you'll discover is that a Big Why brings clear answers to these probing questions and helps you see how the choices you're making help or hinder you on your quest.

Possibly the most tangible gift of a Big Why is that it requires and enables you to prioritize your needs as well as the choices and actions that will fulfill them. Simply put, when you say yes to one thing, you're clearly saying no to anything that works against it. If your Big Why is to seek the limitless opportunities that come with financial wealth, you soon may realize that some of your current spending decisions are working against your long-term financial aspirations. Keeping your focus on the big prize is a great way to avoid missteps or distractions. It's like the Olympic athlete who tapes a picture of a previous gold medal winner to her bathroom mirror to remind her why she is rising before dawn to train for hours while her friends are still in bed. All great achievements are the result of sustained focus over time—all of them. A Big Why brings incredible power and enormous stamina to your financial focus, and big financial success requires that.

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