In reflecting on Ben Franklin’s application of a powerful concept that has been used for millennia, the idea of a mastermind group. Franklin, who formed this group, which he later called it the Junta (pronounced hoon-tuh) was formed essentially to enhance his own quest for personal development. As I have studied what was accomplished as a result of this group, and the power it had in the lives of its members, I decided to create just such a group myself.

The time to start such a group is coming together.  We will probably launch within the spring of 2018.  If you have an interest in joining this group of fellow explorers… reach out to me, Chris Allen at 801-494-9337.

The Vital Nature of Ambition

There are many books that teach about the methods of converting your desires for riches into their material equivalent.  The granddaddy of the entire personal development industry is Napoleon Hill’s classic, “Think and Grow Rich”; however, there are many books that came before it and many, many more that have been published since, some getting us closer to understanding the true principles that lead to success and many that cause us to veer off into the weeds of irrelevancy.

Ambition or desire is that vital force that causes men and women grow into their potential.  Our desire for more is the first step of reaching one’s potential. We all want to have and be more than we are, but to accomplish such a feat we must stretch and reach and work and strive.  The purpose of our development is to become more. Happiness isn’t possible without personal growth.  The philosopher Aristotle taught that happiness is the purpose of life.  Joseph Smith, an American frontier prophet, also said of happiness, that, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it…” 

So, what are the principles (and processes) that lead to growth?

This is a simple process, but one that is often misunderstood.  The principles that lead to growth are found in the natural law.  It is written that., “There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated — And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”  (D&C 130:20-21). This describes the truth that the principles of success predate any of us, that they are in fact Natural Law, laws of growth that are found in nature and are observable both in nature and in all societies. Anyone who applies these principles will, without exception, (because they are law) accomplish the outcome or “blessing” of the law if it is followed or obeyed.

Another idea that is consistent with observing this law in action is that each time one goes through the 3 step cycle of 1. Ambition, 2. Action, 3. Satisfaction, the next cycle is a bit higher of an ambition. So there is a constant upward movement.

But to back up a bit, where does this urge to grow come from?  Is this innate in each of us?  If so, then why are some people more prone to ambition and others less so?  We all have friends who from their earliest childhood displayed in their personality a strong propensity toward success and advancement, while others display no such inclination toward growth or ambition.  If innate, then why the huge difference between individuals, even within the same family?  For the entrepreneur, ambition is the lifeblood of their very existence.  It is the motive power to accomplish so much more than the average person.  If ambition could be truly explained, then the mysteries of the universe would be unfolded. 

How then is this ambition activated in one’s life?  Orison Swett Marden, MD once taught this powerful idea:

“In a factory where mariners compasses are made, the needles, before they are magnetized, will lie in any position, wherever they are placed, but from the moment they have been touched by the mighty magnet and have been electrified, they are never again the same. They have taken on a mysterious power and are new creatures. Before they are magnetized, they do not answer the call of the north star, the magnetic pole does not have any effect upon them, but the moment they have been magnetized they swing to the magnetic north, and are ever after loyal and true to their affinity.

Multitudes of people, like an unmagnetized needle, lie motionless, unresponsive to any stimulus until they are touched by that mysterious force we call ambition.

This magnetizing process is an educational process.  If one reads biographies and studies the lives of great men and women of accomplishment, one finds that very process of bringing higher ideas and thoughts into their lives was the starting point of ambition.  This process, once started, if engaged with full effort, becomes an upward cycle that grows and grows until the very nature of that person has changed, and they become an inspiring example that will light the flame of those that will come after them.

The craving for something higher and better naturally grows when we adopt the general habit of always seeking noble ideals and moving upwards and climbing to something higher and better.  If we feed only those things that grow and enhance our natures, our bad habits are eliminated.

Even the faintest aspiration that springs up in our heart is a heavenly seed within us which will grow and develop into a noble character if only it is encouraged.  Like the parable of the seed and the ground in the New Testament, the seeds may be good, but without care and nourishment only weeds, briars, and noxious plants will thrive.

The habit of procrastination, of postponing, the habit of picking out the easier tasks and putting off the difficult ones will damage ambition, possibly to the point of destroying it.  It is vital, if we want to encourage ambition, that we adopt the habits of doing the hard things first, of always looking for ways to improve our habits, strengthen our processes and enhance our methods.

Also, ambition, once ignited, often begins to look for encouragement and recognition. If we do not heed this call, if early ambition gets no encouragement, it will like a neglected houseplant not watered or nourished over time will wither and die, what gets rewarded gets duplicated and grows, what gets ignored deteriorates or dies.

The still small voice of God is whispering in the ear of every living thing “GROW!” Every living thing in the universe seems to be striving to get to a higher level. Everything is in the process of growth, and this evolution is always upward. Everything seeks to grow and reproduce, this is a natural law, and humankind is no exception, but is, in fact, the highest expression of this law.

If ambition is not something that you feel is a strength you have at this point, it is because you have neglected it for too long, and you must jump-start that ambition in order to progress. Start by reading and studying wisdom literature, and start associating with people who are striving for higher and loftier accomplishments in their lives.  That association and study will bless your life in miraculous ways.

A Goal Not Written is Just a Wish

The holiday season is always a wonder-filled and magical time for me, a time to evaluate how the previous year is turning out, where I am in my goals, and what I can do to finish the year out strong.  This is also the time of year that many write goals… and maybe you too.  As I have completed this ‘process’ of evaluating my life and creating a list of potential goals many, many times, I decided that I would create a system that would help facilitate the process for me as well as for clients and friends.  Here is my simple process, which is a compilation of many of the best and brightest processes I have used, as well as my own thoughts:

1- Read this entire process first, so you will understand what is in store for you.

2- Identify what you really want, then write it down as a potential goal.

3- Reflect on one item (the highest priority) that you have written down, visualize it in its perfect completion.

4- Take that item, and identify all of the potential obstacles to the accomplishment of that goal.

5- Now, write your goal in the following way:

    –  Present tense, write it as if it has already been achieved.

   –  Be exact in what you want, it is not nearly as effective to say, “I want more money” as it is to say, “it is December 31st 2018, and I am in possession of $200,000.”

   –  Make your goal measurable, so you can gauge whether you have accomplished it or not, and how far you have come toward its accomplishment. 

6- Establish a B-S-G level for the goal you have identified, for example,

   –  Bronze- “it is December 31st 2018, and I am in possession of $50,000.

   –  Silver- “it is December 31st 2018, and I am in possession of $100,000.

   –  Gold- “it is December 31st 2018, and I am in possession of $200,000.

7- Find a helper who you can delegate certain parts of your goals to, this is not possible in all goals but can be very powerful with the right goal.  For example if your goal was to organize your home office, to make it more comfortable to do business in, you could simply hire a company to come in and put together an office to your specifications, or do any of the part of the process that you are not wanting to do.

8- Find an accountability partner, this is simply another person with whom you share your goal, who can keep you accountable and on track., this person must be willing to call you on not making progress, and you must have the respect of that person so you will be willing to take action.

9- Next Action Step- Once you have written your goal, created three possibilities for a positive outcome, and found partners to assist you look at the goal itself and write down what the next critical action step is, the very next thing that can be done to move you toward completion.

10- Reward- this is an extremely important step, once you have completed an action step, reward yourself, but remember to make the reward equal to the effort, for example if your goal is to run a marathon, and your next action step is to buy great running shoes so you can start running on a daily basis, do not reward yourself with taking a month off exercise, or a half gallon of ice cream, maybe you can get yourself a fruit smoothie for moving toward your goal.

11- This last step is very simple, once you have taken your most important potential goals and have gone through this entire process of making it a well-defined and achievable goal with a definable next action step to work on, you then go back through your list of potential goals and choose the next goal, and follow this same process of steps 3 – 11, until you have completed the process for at least five goals.  Now get to work.