“Hey…don’t let ever somebody tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. Alright?

You got a dream? You gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves they want to tell you you can’t do it.

You want something? Go get it! Period!”

Many people in my life know that Will Smith, yes the rapper and actor, has and continues to be one of my biggest role models. The quote above comes from one of my favorite scenes in The Pursuit of Happyness. Check out the scene below:

This powerful scene relates to a tale from my past that Id like to share with you today. It really demonstrates how tiny instances in life can become strong motivators!

When one family member said I needed to be more realistic

As a college student, the world is truly your oyster waiting to be cracked as soon as that graduation day comes! The vision you have is nothing but wonderful experiences, traveling, buying expensive things you’ve always wanted, and enjoying life just as you should. Almost bond-esque if you humor me for a second.

Now since then, my view of the epitome of a gentleman has changed; I am proud to say it has. But the difference isn’t in wanting to become wealthy, only in how I use that wealth. 

SN – My newfound use of wealth will be to better society, achieve positive results for my family, and maximize happiness. This differs from my past principles of wanting nice things, like flashy cars and Armani suits. The celebrity lifestyle no longer matters to me!

The story:

With that in mind – I recall a specific moment that occurred during one evening a few years ago. A few family members were conversing around the table, when life goals were brought into the conversation. At that point, being a millionaire was absolutely part of my life plan and still is today.

I interjected that goal into the convo: “I will be a millionaire one day.”

The silence in the room was deafening, almost like I admitted to a ridiculous crime….

The response was totally unexpected: “You really should be more realistic…”

I felt the blood rushing as my initial thoughts came to mind: WHAT!!?? Realistic in your dreams and goals? ARE YOU CRAZY?

But then I remembered that not everyone has watched all of the Will Smith interviews I have…

Here’s one of his famous quotes from one of those interviews:

Image result for will smith quote on being realistic

Image from: https://www.azquotes.com/quote/894240

I didn’t even respond. Sometimes no response is a response, and thankfully the conversation moved on.

That Moment Still Motivates Me Today

You are the sum of the decisions you’ve made in your life. Whether that is to go to college, start a business, live with your parents while you pay off debt, incur huge student loans to become a doctor, or start working as soon as your high school graduation ceremonies end.

Once I graduated college, reading personal development books became a habit. Learning how to be more productive, a better person, and defining my goals helped me live life more clearly. I will become a millionaire somehow, someway, and I have a few ways I plan to do so.

The best methodology to achieve the dreams you have is actually quite simple:

  1. Decide on what your dreams are – not the ones society pushes on you, but those that will allow you to live life with the most happiness
  2. Use inverse thinking to find the steps required to transform those dreams into reality
    1. Inverse thinking means to take the result you want, and think backwards to find the steps required to reach that result. Further, during that same exercise you note down the big mistakes you want to avoid!
    2. Example – obtain a corporate job as a software engineer at Google
      1. Excel in the technical interview to be offered the job
        1. Graduate from college to meet the common requirement of having a degree
          1. Graduate from high school with a high GPA to get acceptance into a reputable university
          2. Apply to scholarships to reduce debt upon graduation
            1. Build your high school resume by taking on volunteer activities for your community and passions
            2. Build grit and other life lessons through athletics
            3. Manage time by taking advantage of high school planners
        2. Take your studies seriously to meet at least the minimum required GPA for working at Google
          1. Meet with teachers
          2. Create study guides
          3. Determine your productivity methods that achieve maximum results
        3. Take electives in the areas that Google has interest in
          1. Machine learning
          2. Web development
  3. Create goals and milestones for each step of the journey, and always keep in mind that they are subject to change
  4. Avoid the big mistakes that can be detrimental to that goal
    1. Getting kicked out of college for drugs — in other words AVOID THEM!
    2. Getting kicked out of college due to academic probation — TAKE STUDIES SERIOUSLY
    3. Losing your scholarships because of XYZ.. — PAY ATTENTION TO THE REQUIREMENTS
  5. Celebrate achieving those goals!

Anyone can do this! 

Anyone can start from an example like “I will become a millionaire”, break it down to how, and then begin making the decisions with effort to get there.

The challenge is that MOST PEOPLE DON’T.

There are people who want to achieve strength in their finances, or graduate college, or learn how to cook, but they let the fear of failure override their courage to just do it!

People See You Through Their Lens

Becoming a millionaire to some people might actually seem impossible.

They may have been handed difficult situations in their cards of life, and I don’t believe in that being an excuse for giving up, I do understand the difficulties around it. In other words, I fully empathize with you if you were put on this earth into tough situations (single parent, low income, etc.). Even so, those difficulties do not give you any excuse for giving up!

Being born into poverty, or not having the same opportunities as others in your age cohort based on where you live, the school systems that you are required to attend, or severe illnesses – all of these do indeed make the journey much harder.

Members of your family or friend group may have summed up great debts in their net worth or made irresponsible decisions when they were younger that frame their point of view from a different perspective. My girlfriend reminded me that Stephen Covey mentions this in his famous effective habits book. People take their perspective, see you in that perspective, and try to put that perspective on you. You must guard against this like a moat keeps the enemies away from your kingdom!

Remember your goal – make it clear and visible regularly. Hang it up on your wall – “I will become a millionaire or I will become debt free.”

Don’t Let People Be Your Dream Catcher

YOU CAN’T LET ANYONE DEFINE YOUR GOALS AND DREAMS FOR YOU. That’s what dream catchers do. You can listen and respond to the perspective of others, but you can’t let them change your goals or your life.

You own those and you own achieving them.

Just like the video above mentions….protect your dreams, keep them safe, and by all means do what it takes to achieve them!

And with that, I will practice what I preach to keep the goal visible for me on Duke of Dollars – “I will become a millionaire one day!”