When it comes to achieving our life’s dream, we must stay afloat through all kinds of weather. Some days are bright and sunny. Other days are so foggy we can’t see what is right in front of us. That is why we need a lighthouse on a tall cliff shining the brightest of all beacons.
This beacon is what Napoleon Hill calls definiteness of purpose. Like the beacon from a lighthouse, our definiteness of purpose is singular and consistent. It can also be a life-saver. In difficult times, we continue towards a fulfilling life if we remain clear about our definiteness of purpose.
Finding a definiteness of purpose starts by erasing all of the what-ifs from your mind. Forget about challenges and obstacles. If you know where you want to go, you will navigate the rocks and the bad weather. Ask yourself what you most want from life. If you were only allowed a single wish, what would that wish be? As you begin a new year, this is a good thought to hold.
As Napoleon explains, your definiteness of purpose must fill you with passion. That passion keeps you going through the good moments and the difficult ones.
When I was 25 years old, I found a definiteness of purpose. I wanted to volunteer in Africa. I wanted this so badly that I was open to all possibilities. At first, I volunteered locally. I joined an organization called Junior Achievement. We went into schools and taught students how to start a small business. I also gave my time to efforts organized by my local church and other charities.
When you have a definiteness of purpose, it guides how you use your time and skills. One day, I was given the opportunity to join a team that was going to Naimey, Niger to set up eye-glasses clinics. Because of my experience gained from volunteering and my ability to speak French, I was able to spend two weeks in Africa as I had dreamed.
We set up eye-glasses clinics in remote areas, sometimes with tribes that only spoke their native language. We needed translators to communicate, but were able to form a human connection. Before our arrival, some of the tribes had not had contact with people outside of their culture. I learned so much from being part of this intercultural experience. It has helped shape the rest of my life.
Arnold Toynbee said, “It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at the goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.” Setting a purpose that is a stretch for you will ignite your passion. This is an act of bravery. The start of a new year is a good moment for letting yourself reach for what matters the most to you.
But it’s not enough to set a difficult goal. You need a plan. Here are 5 tips for doing that:
The best is yet to come. It starts with you.