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Do you want to be a millionaire? Most people would say, “yes.” What’s more, if I asked you how you’d achieve that goal, your answer would be surprisingly similar to most: “I’ll buy a lottery ticket, play the stock market, launch a business, or invent the next big thing.” Do you want to be a millionaire?
Most people believe that the best way to win BIG is to swing for the fence — and hit a home run. That being said, even though hitting singles scores runs, too, it’s simply not as glamorous as hitting a home run.
It’s so easy to set bold goals, such as “I’ll lose 25 pounds within the next few weeks.” But while lofty goals make you feel good, they’re often abandoned. (Think New Year’s resolutions.) Even though most people have great intentions at the start, they throw in the towel before crossing the finish line. That’s not productive. There’s a better way…
If you tried to run a marathon today, how would you do? If you’re anything like me, you’d call it quits after a few miles. On the other hand, what if I asked you to run as far as you could — and run a little more the second day and a little more the third. That’s doable, right? You’d be training your body as well as your mind.
When you strive for progress, you make headway every day. Every step you take in the right direction moves you one step closer to your ultimate goal. Therefore, rather than going for “all or nothing,” your key to success is striving for continuous improvement. Before you know it, little victories produce big wins.
You may be thinking, “Does this philosophy apply to other large undertakings?” It does! In 2011, Congressman Connie Mack IV and Senator Mike Enzi introduced the Penny Plan. It would require Congress to cut just one penny out of each dollar it spends. These gradual cuts over the next six years would balance the multi-trillion-dollar federal budget.
This strategy can be applied to other areas of your life.
Household budget. Get your family budget under control. If the Penny Plan can address a multi-trillion-dollar budget deficit, just think what it can do for you at home.
Financial freedom. Save for your retirement. If you save $25 dollars each week, you’ll become a millionaire in 53 years.* (This assumes an 8% rate of return.) Just think how much you can save in 20 or 25 years. The key is to save when you don’t need it, and it’ll be there for you when you do.
Healthy lifestyle. Feel like a million dollars. Address your health and fitness challenges through small changes in your lifestyle rather than an on-again, off-again strategy.
Big problems. Tackle large challenges. Break big problems into small, manageable pieces. Each piece may seem small, but the sum of those pieces will yield big results.
Expertise. Become an expert in your field. Personal development is a building process in which everything you learn is cumulative. That doesn’t happen overnight. Personal excellence requires disciplined learning on a continuous basis.
Fears. Conquer your fears. Leave your comfort zone and try something new. In so doing, strive for small, short-term wins. They offer confidence and momentum as you pursue your long-term goals.
Reputation. Build a solid reputation. You can’t build a reputation by learning how to play-act or by giving yourself a makeover. Make big strides with small steps. Gain people’s trust by consistently displaying honorable behavior.
Many people believe that the only way to address a large challenge is to think BIG. They think that small wins are a waste of time. The truth is that success is a game of inches. When you achieve progress day in and day out, the cumulative impact is huge. The next time you face a big challenge, rather than swing for the fence, create ambitious yet achievable short-term milestones — and give it all you’ve got. Remember, whether you want to be a millionaire or feel like a million bucks, the best way to achieve something big is to think small.
Frank Sonnenberg is an award-winning author and a well-known advocate for moral character, personal values, and personal responsibility. He has written seven books and was recently named one of “America's Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of “America’s Most Influential Small Business Experts.”
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