Let me illustrate to you a very well known example of the power of setting goals as an entrepreneur. In 1952, there was a research study done on the impact of goal setting on the graduating batch of students at Yale University. When asked how many of them had clearly specified and written down goals, only three percent responded. The remaining ninety-seven percent, despite being highly intelligent and hardworking, had no road map where they would be five to ten years after graduation. Twenty years later in 1972, a follow up study was done on the class of 1952. (Image Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay)
What they discovered was shocking; the combined income of the three percent who had clear goals was greater than the entire income of the ninety seven percent combined! Was it just a coincidence or does having clear goals really have an impact on a person’s personal and financial success?
One classic example is investor and world renowned entrepreneur Warren Buffet. Does his ability to come about by chance? Absolutely not. From a very early age young Buffett was obsessed with making money and had a very clear dream of becoming the world’s greatest investor. Born during the depression when his father was close to bankruptcy, Warren learnt about the value of money and the importance of being financially secure at an early age.
Even before his teens, Warren knew that he wanted to be rich. As early as elementary school and later on in high school, he would tell his classmates that he wanted to become a millionaire before the age of 35 (when he turned 35, his net worth exceeded $6 million). It was because of his goal that he constantly thought of ways to make money, while most other kids his age would be spending their parents’ money.
He even memorized a book called ‘ A Thousand Ways to Make $1,000’. At the age of six, he started buying coke bottles at 25-cents per six-pack and selling them at 5-cents a bottle, giving him a 16% gross profit, as he would tell himself. Already an entrepreneur, he continued on his wealth building path. At the age of 13, he got a job delivering newspapers and through innovative marketing and distribution strategies, he served five hundred customers a day. At the age of 11, he took all his savings and started investing in the stock market. His first investment was three shares in a company called ‘City Service’. While most kids his age were reading comic books, Warren spent his time reading company annual reports.
By the age of 14, his power as an entrepreneur grew, he started a pinball business and was earning $175 a week, as much as the average 25-year old was earning in 1944. Would he have taken all those actions if he never set a goal to be rich in the first place? Of course not. It was clearly because of his focus of energy and actions that allowed him to become the best in what he does.
What if you have no clue as to what business or career path to take? Well, it doesn’t matter! Sometimes, just setting a specific financial goal will get your mind thinking and guiding you towards the right path.
Before George Lucas left his hometown for college, he already predicted that he would be a millionaire by the time he was thirty. However at that time, his passion and dream was to make it as a race car driver. It was after he suffered a terrible crash that he began to change his mind about that career.
It was only after that accident that he decided that he wanted to become a filmmaker. As a result of his focus on pushing himself to be the best in anything he did, he became a millionaire by the age of 28. However, as I mentioned in chapter three, the primary driving motivation of millionaires is not the money they will make, but the passion they have in what they do.
The financial goal they set is only a means of measuring their success. However, what drove Lucas to give his all in the face of insurmountable odds to finish Star Wars was not the money he would make, but his dream of seeing his fantasy come to life on the big screen.
Tiger Woods never really set a goal to become a millionaire. However at the age of eight, he gave an interview on TV, after winning an amateur golf tournament. During that interview, he declared that his goal was to become the world’s number one golfer and that he would break all of Jack Nicklaus’ records. It was that obsession that got him to focus a hundred percent of his time, energy and thoughts into his game. Fourteen years later, Woods became the world’s number one at the age of 22, again not by chance, but by design.
If you studied the life stories of the most successful people in history, you will discover that their achievements didn’t happen by chance. They chose to be an entrepreneur. At a certain point of time in their lives, they dared to dream about something they wanted to create. They then allowed this dream to guide their actions until they made it a reality. That is the true power of an entrepreneur.
By Adam Khoo