Want Success? Get a Definite Chief Aim
Post written by Joe Barnes.
What do you want from life?
Now I realize that in asking this question I may be preaching to the converted but even the most knowledgeable motivational enthusiast can’t turn down the opportunity to revisit this all important concept. After all, we’re supposed to belong to the 2% of the world’s population (according to Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich) that actually know what they want from life. So I thought it was time to shed some new light on the power of having a Definite Chief Aim (DCA) and share some of my own personal experiences in putting this concept into practice.
The DCA first featured in Napoleon Hill’s 1937 classic Think and Grow Rich. He told readers that it was an absolute must for them to have their major purpose in life written down and to read this statement on a daily basis with real passion and conviction. Being a book written to educate the reader on how to acquire their own fortune, the thrust of the statement was to be financial. The user of the DCA had to write down.
- The sum of money they desired
- The date by which they wanted to attain it
- The service they were prepared to give in return for these riches
Daily repetition of this statement would then create the desire and belief needed to follow through with a plan for acquiring mass riches.
A Definite Chief Aim with Kick
After my first reading of Think and Grow Rich, I have to say that I wasn’t entirely convinced by the DCA. How could anyone place a date on when they were going to acquire a fortune? And more to the point, how could acquiring money be a person’s chief purpose in life? Skeptical of Hill’s advice, I decided NOT to create a DCA and continued my quest to live a self-determined life by other means.
Many years later, though, I stumbled upon the concept again. This time I discovered it in a biography about Bruce Lee. A big personal development and philosophy fan, Lee had created his own DCA in line with his goal of becoming a famous martial artist. It read as follows,
‘I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental superstar in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970, I will achieve world fame and from then onwards till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.’*
Now I was interested. There was something about the boldness of this DCA that really struck me. At the time of writing it, Bruce Lee was not recognized as the legend he was soon to become. In fact, he was faced with a string of obstacles that seemed almost impossible to overcome. He couldn’t get any acting roles as Hollywood had no idea what to do with him. He was confined to bed and unable to train after damaging a sacral nerve in his back. And he was spiraling into debt with a family to support and a mortgage to pay. Yet here he was, making outrageous demands about world fame and $10,000,000.
Then it hit me. This brashness, this certainty in what you are going to do, is what gives the DCA its power. By repeating the statement over and over it seeps into your subconscious mind and turns you into a person who has the confidence to go for what they want in life. It sets you apart. The system we live in teaches us to be timid, not ask for too much and hope that one day our life will improve. To succeed, you have to separate yourself from this directionless majority and there’s no better way of doing this than becoming a person of purpose.
So we’re back to our original question, ‘What do you want from life?’ Although we’re supposed to know the answer, this first step can present a sticking point for so many people. However, what I learned was that you don’t need to know the full picture to begin using the DCA.
Now this may seem to run contrary to the idea of having a ‘definite’ chief aim, but hear me out. I started small; my purpose in life was to find my purpose in life. I made this my DCA and it worked fantastically well. Then, once I had established this, I made achieving the first step along the path to fulfilling my purpose my next DCA. I continued to build in this fashion, one step at a time, until I reached the point where I could see the full picture.
Once I had this locked in, there was no holding back. Repeating the statement became a twice daily ritual and was performed with the enthusiasm of a Hollywood audition. Furthermore, any spare moment when my mind wasn’t occupied by the business of the day was turned to the contemplation of my DCA. Although not mentioned in Think and Grow Rich, I found this mental discipline priceless as it built the intensity of my desire to continue growing.
Having a definite chief aim has become something invaluable to my life. However, the manner in which I use it differs greatly from the original concept laid out in Napoleon Hill’s book. Here’s what I learned;
- The power is in the purpose. It doesn’t matter what your chief aim is, you just need to have one. It could be finding love, creating a successful business and yes, acquiring a certain sum of money.
- It’s got to be bold. There is no room for timidity when creating a DCA. You need something that is going to motivate you and unless it challenges your present reality it’s unlikely to do so (look back over Bruce Lee’s if you need guidance here).
- It will change. Don’t worry about creating the perfect DCA that will stay with you until old age. Circumstances and events will change but it’s important to remember that a person with a purpose always has a focus which they can move towards.
- Bruce Lee’s DCA is taken from the book, Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit, by Bruce Thomas
Joe Barnes is author of the book ‘Screw the System: A modern guide to greatness’ and runs the www.screwthesystemnow.com website. He is committed to helping as many people as possible ‘unplug’ from the system’s reality and live life on their own terms. He also runs a successful hypnotherapy and NLP practice.