Remember when you were 15? Can you recall some of the dreams you had then? How many have you accomplished?
My reflection on that is what attracted me so strongly to the story of John Goddard, of whom the LA Times called, “The real life Indiana Jones,” and one of his expeditions, “the most amazing adventure of this generation.”
When he was 15, Goddard was inspired to create a list of 127 “life goals” (he called it “My Life List”). By his last count, the young seventy-something has accomplished 111 of these PLUS 400 others he set along the way!!
Here’s just a few of the ones he’s reached:
He’s climbed many of the world’s major peaks including the Matterhorn, Ararat, Kilimanjaro, Fiji, Rainier and the Grand Tetons.
He followed Marco Polo’s route through all of the Middle East, Asia and China.
He’s run a mile in five minutes, broad jumped 15 feet, high jumped five feet and performed 200 sit-ups and 20 pull-ups.
He was the first person to explore the 4200-mile length of the world’s longest river, the Nile. (It was the number one goal of the 15-year-old Goddard and the one the Times called “the most amazing adventure of this generation.”). He has also been down the Amazon, Congo and others.
John has been to 122 countries, lived with 260 different tribal groups, explored the underwater reefs of Florida, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Red Sea, and more.
He has flown 40 different types of aircraft and still holds civilian air records; has read the Bible cover to cover and learned to speak French, Spanish and Arabic.
The last two on his original list included marrying and having children (he has six) and living to see the 21st Century, which he has done in style.
And I’m just getting started. But I think you get the point.
More than just one of the greatest adventurers the world has ever known, Goddard is an incredibly wise person, as this quote of his demonstrates: “If you really know what you want out of life, it’s amazing how opportunities will come to enable you to carry them out.”
How did John Goddard manage to live such an incredible life of achievement? Two simple, easily duplicatable “secrets:” He chose BIG dreams and he WROTE THEM DOWN.
There’s no power at all in small dreams. When the dream isn’t big enough, it’s too easy to give in to the obstacles that appear in our life. It’s very difficult to maintain the persistence that all great achievement requires when the dream is small or ordinary.
Harland Sanders was 65-years-old, with little more than a $105 Social Security payment in his pocket, when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. He is said to have been rejected by over 1,000 banks before he became successful. If he hadn’t had a big dream his self-esteem could never have withstood such rejection.
One of the biggest dreamers in the world is Mark Victor Hansen. Working with his partner, Jack Canfield, their idea was rejected by 140 book publishers as “unsellable.” Today, their Chicken Soup series includes more than 70 titles that have sold more than 90 million copies in 39 languages. Mark says, “The more goals you set – the more goals you get. Think big, act big and set out to accomplish big results. “
Not only must your dreaming and goal setting be big, but it must be in writing. Brian Tracy says that this act alone increases your odds of success by 1000%! Like many people, I’d heard that I should write my goals down, but like most people, I rarely did. Looking at Brian’s formula another way, the failure to write your goals and dreams down means that you’ve got less than a 1-in-10 chance of succeeding. Can it be any wonder then that most people don’t live their dreams?
Who knows where your life can go after it is driven by life goals. You may find yourself landing on the moon someday, which happens to be one of the few original dreams that John Goddard hasn’t realized.
Whatever you dreams may be, when you’re doing your goal setting, make them BIG and WRITE THEM DOWN! Don’t be like the chap in this poem that Napoleon Hill included in the original edition of Think and Grow Rich:
“I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.
For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.”
Copyright © 2004 Vic Johnson