Disclaimer: The following is simply an opinion, a small insight that may resonate with you. As with any thought and opinion, you may choose to savour it for a moment, or a lifetime before discarding it into the wind like the many that cross our path every day. The following is a small gleaning on how I view the world at this instant in time. THE ENDLESS TO-DO LIST When I look around at the world around me, I see people rushing about getting things done. Chipping away at a mental ‘to-do-list’, or for the more organised of us, a physical one. The concept of a to-do list always seemed quite pointless to me. Peers would sit back on a big cushy chair at the end of each day, congratulating or berating themselves on the number of things that were done. The funny thing about us humans is we always have something that needs to be done. We subconsciously give ourselves a purpose. The busiest friends I ever had were the ones who never seemed to get much accomplished. From this I learnt a valuable lesson, busy does not equal achievement. THINKING IN OUTCOMES Subconsciously I always noticed the more successful people around me did something a little different. It was only quite recently I could verbalise it though I’ve been attempting to emulate it to various levels of success for much longer. The slight difference in thinking is simple. These ‘successful’ mentors (as I like to call them) plan their day by aiming for outcomes. As obvious as this seems, it is only when you really consider the implications that we have a chance of truly grasping the significance of this train of thought. THE IMPLICATION Let’s take the gym as a first example. Thinking in to-do lists I state I want to go to the gym every day. So every day I’m faced with a choice to go to the gym or not to go to the gym. I wake up in the morning, eat my coco puffs, go to work where we celebrate a birthday and eat cake. A friend calls asking me to hang out at his place for a movie, now I feel like gym is taking away from enjoying time with my mates. I may walk into the gym every day and do some leg presses whilst checking Facebook on my phone. I may have had a long day at work and decide to take 30 seconds more at the bubbler between sets or have a half hour workout instead of pushing myself to my limit for an hour. Technically I have kept my word and can feel good about myself as I cross this item of my to-do list. At the VERY BEST, my level of success is, I go to the gym every day. Seems obvious, however at the end of 6 months, what have I accomplished. I see this at the gym every day. However ask people why they are there, and many will state it is ‘to get fit and healthy’. Thinking in outcomes Now let’s take someone who focuses on outcomes. Let’s say my OUTCOME is to get fit and healthy. What may I do differently? I wake up in the morning and open the breakfast cupboard. I see a box of oats next to a box of coco pops. Choice time, which will help me reach my outcome of ‘fit and healthy’ quicker? Throughout the day I am offered cupcakes at a work birthday which I turn down, and notice there are no healthy options for lunch at the local café. I make a mental note to pack a healthy lunch tomorrow, what is a healthy lunch, I scribble a reminder on a note pad to look up healthy eating and learn more about nutrition. At lunch I receive a call from a friend who asks if I want to join a soccer team, a way of staying healthy whilst socialising, seems like a good fit with my outcome, I’ll change my gym routine to match. Work ends and finally its gym time. I get to the gym and lift some weights, I wonder if I’m doing it right, or if there is a more effective way to get ‘fit and healthy’, perhaps I need to book in a PT session or ask the ripped guy next to me. Each day, I wake up and focus on my outcome of ‘fit and healthy’ and notice how many choices that aren’t ‘go to the gym every day’ impact my desired outcome of ‘fit and healthy’. 6 months later what have I accomplished? THE CLEARER YOUR DESIRED OUCOME, THE QUICKER YOUR SUCCESS Now it may cross our mind to do some of the latter whilst doing our to-do list, however by having an OUTCOME in mind, suddenly more options open us to on how to achieve our desire quicker. It is important to specify the outcome as clearly as possible. If my outcome is to get a six pack, perhaps my best choice is to get liposuction and have the surgeon insert a moulded six pack. If it is to improve my endurance perhaps I’ll take up cross country running instead. If it’s to meet women, perhaps I’d be better off in a salsa class. The result and determination is dictated by our specificity of the desired outcome and the significance we have given to its success. It is best to start with all possibilities as wild as they seem and consciously cut it down, rather than trying to break through your subconsciously imposed limitations. IN PROPERTY Now since this is a property forum let’s have a quick look at our habits in this area. I choose my outcome as ‘RETIRE AT 35 THROUGH PROPERTY WITH A PASSIVE INCOME OF $100K’. I spend the day on a property forum, read some articles and have a giggle to myself at work whilst drinking a soy latte (because I’m fit and healthy now) I purchased for $5. At lunch I call a friend and we discuss how much we dislike work and can’t wait to retire, talking about our past success with property. 5 days of this later I start to wonder, has reading property related articles helped me attain my next property. It hasn’t. I should probably spend more time looking at my chosen areas and calling agents to see if new deals have come up. I start putting in 10 hours of action to 1 hour of research. As I hum to myself in the car, I realise I’m 29 and 35 isn’t that far away. How many properties do I need again, how many more can I buy. Hmm better start paying more attention at work to get a promotion and a raise, or perhaps I should consider another income stream. I quickly do my sums and realise I haven’t saved much for my next deposit lately either. I stare at the empty soy latte cup next to me and make the choice to bring a box of coffee bags from home to save that $5 a day. THE CHALLENGE Now there is nothing wrong with taking time away from meeting our outcomes. We are not machines, and we certainly need downtime. However it is important not to kid ourselves that we’ve done a lot when really we haven’t done what is important to fulfilling our chosen goals. To be in control of our daily activities, rather than letting them control us. So to end this post I request you take on a challenge. The challenge is simple, yet as there are many over achievers out there I’m sure some will take on more than tasked. And that is okay too. The challenge is to write down 5 CLEAR AND CONCISE OUTCOMES you wish to meet for the next month, and put it up somewhere where you can see it every day. I keep mine on my car window visor and read it at every red light I stop at. So there you have it. Please comment and let me know how I can be more clear in any future posts.