While we know that goals can be a waste of time, and simply wishful thinking without a plan and action, knowing what you want, with complete clarity, is very important.
I’m talking about long-term.
Not the goal for today, tomorrow, next week, or even this year. I’m talking about your ultimate goal.
This goal could be something you’re looking to achieve in 5, 10 or even 20 years from now. Usually, it’s something like “retire early at age 40” or “build a school for kids in Uganda”. It might even be something more ambitious such as “become the president of the United States”.
Having vision of your long-term goal for yourself, makes short-term goal setting and planning a lot easier. It also allows you to pick your battles a lot better.
If you have complete clarity and focus, you’ll know what to say “yes” and “no” to. You’ll avoid timewasters, you’ll consume less useless information, and avoid getting caught up in things that ultimately don’t matter or align with your ultimate goal. You’ll know what you should be working on. You’ll know what skills you’ll need to learn and develop. You’ll know who you should be friends with and what groups to network within.
A master plan contains two parts: your ultimate goal which details exactly what you want down the line, and how it will happen, and your master plan contains your grand strategy, which outlines what you will need to do, learn, and focus on to get you to your ultimate goal.
Setting Your Ultimate Goal
This is the tough part.
Some people set an ultimate goal so boring, that they aren’t motivated enough to even follow through on it for years, or remember it after a few months. Make sure your goal is ambitious.
Other people set an ultimate goal so vague, that it doesn’t help them focus. For example, “I want to be rich” is too vague. Even “retire early at age 40”, my earlier example, is not specific or clear enough. A more clear version of this goal would be:
Achieve financial freedom: Have $2mill or more, saved and invested, to retire early by age 40 and live off of interest (appr. $5,000/mo)
Lastly, most people set a goal that’s too ambitious and not grounded enough in reality. This causes people to get really excited at first, but then quickly discouraged at the first sign of a roadblock.
You should only have one ultimate goal. Resist the temptation to over complicate this part. Again, we want to be focused. Having a single ultimate goal that we have a laser focus on for years, will also force us to create sub-goals along the way, that work to get us to our ultimate goal.
It also needs to be well thought out and well written. Take as much time as you need to, to figure out what your ultimate goal is. Also, have it somewhere that you can always easily revisit it, read it, and revise it. Mine is within a document on my Google Drive called “Master Plan”. The first paragraph is my ultimate goal, and the rest that follows is my grand strategy.
If you’re not sure what your ultimate goal should be, look at your current skills and interests, and look at what you’re most drawn to. That will provide you clues. Think about what will bring you the most happiness.
It’s okay to get selfish here. You’re the only one who will know your ultimate goal, so save yourself from trying to appear virtuous or righteous. Focusing on yourself can allow you to later help your friends, family or a cause you truly care about.
Also, to add to the last point, you should be the only one that knows your ultimate goal and overall master plan. There are studies that show telling people your goals subconsciously makes you feel like you’ve achieved them, which will lower our will power to follow through. But perhaps, more importantly, hold your cards close to your chest. People may try to discourage you, sabotage you, or begin to be jealous of you. It doesn’t help you to tell everyone what you’re trying to ultimately accomplish, unless it is absolutely certain they can help you get there.
Once you know what you want, you’re able to further develop your “master plan”.
Our master plan not only contains our ultimate goal, but it lays out our grand strategy.
What are the things you need to know, what are the things you need to focus on and what do you need to do to get you to where you want to be? How will you do it? What are the steps to get there? What is the timeline?
If your plan is to retire early and achieve financial independence, what kind of business do you need to build? How will you built it? What do you need to learn? Who do you need to know?
Now, we’re beginning to reverse engineer our goal.
Our grand strategy to achieve our ultimate goal will also touch other parts of our lives. Even though in this case it’s a business goal, how will our master plan affect our health? Relationships? Current career? Hobbies? Family?
This means we need to determine our grand strategy for each life category, to ensure it helps us reach our ultimate goal.
For example, I might focus on hobbies, or learn new hobbies, that will help me build the kind of business I need to build to achieve financial Independence.
I might focus on the career path at my current job that will provide me the skills and network to achieve this ultimate goal.
I might build closer relationships with certain friends, I might focus on my health more so I have more energy to work on building this business, etcetera. Hopefully, you get what I’m trying to get at.
With our ultimate goal, and our grand strategy to get there, suddenly everything else that’s important in our life gains more clarity as well.
Your master plan now allows you to calculate and plot ahead of everyone else around you. While everyone else gets caught up in things that ultimately don’t really matter (since they’re not focused), you can look beyond the moment and concentrate on what you want to achieve.
Every action you take should be a part of your grand strategy and ultimate goal.
You’re no longer thinking in terms of individual projects or events in your life, but of a master plan.
Remember to stay the course and don’t be impulsive when it comes to decisions in your life. Take the time to ensure that every decision you make, big and small, aligns with your grand strategy and moves you to your ultimate goal.
Now that you know what you will need to learn, focus on, and what skills to develop, I highly recommend finding the books and information you need. Blinkist is what I use and recommend. It allows me to consume information quickly, that way I can spend more time on action. Blinkist takes the best books out there, and creates easily digestible audio and text summaries of them. Their library is huge and constantly growing, so there’s likely to be several books you could consume within a few hours to give you a head start.