In the last chapter, you assessed your resources and figured out what kind of vehicle you have at your disposal to take on your journey to success. Now let’s talk about clearly identifying your destination. Where do you want to go? What is your beacon in the fog?
Imagine there are two groups of friends who want to take a trip, and both groups start out with identical resources. The first group spends considerable time researching travel ideas on the Internet. As they explore various options, each mentions a long-held dream of seeing France, so they set a goal to travel there together in one year. When their income tax returns arrive, each person deposits the money in a special fund created just for this trip. They cut expenses wherever they can in order to build their savings accounts. They each get a credit card that gives them double miles, which they then use responsibly (so they’re not wasting the money they’re saving on interest). They even put their change in a jar at the end of the day.
A year later, they are able to purchase their airline tickets with frequent flyer miles; in fact, they have enough miles to upgrade to those oversized business class seats with the individual video amenities. Soon after, they are ready to take off. They fly into the Charles de Gaulle Airport, then head to the luxurious Hotel de Crillon. While in Paris, they schedule adequate time to stroll through the Louvre and see some of the world’s most famous paintings. Of course, the Mona Lisa is at the top of the list. They climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower, counting each step as they go. Their evenings are spent in famous French restaurants that serve croissant au beurre, thinly sliced French fries, and sweet crepes. After enjoying Paris, they make their way down the beautiful French Riviera to visit Nice and Cannes. They even take a day trip to Monaco to visit the raceway and winding streets that meander along the sheer cliffs. After spending two weeks of leisurely, deliberate enjoyment, they return home, relaxing in business class.
The other group of friends kind of jump in their car one day and say, “Hey, let’s take a trip!” Once they’re all in, they open their wallets and see they have a total of $17.93 between them. That doesn’t seem like much, but one person has a credit card with a $500 credit line (at 29 percent interest). No one has a strong opinion about where to go, so they flip a coin to see if they should travel east or west. The quarter lands on tails, so they head west. As they leave town, they stop at the local Gas-n-Go to fill up and buy some snacks and soda pop. They charge their credit card for the gas and drinks, and off they go. After about 200 miles, they realize they are in a remote part of Northern Nevada, where the inhabitants consist mostly of rabbits and rattlesnakes. Not surprisingly, they realize they have no idea where the closest town is, which concerns them because their gas tank is getting low and they are almost out of drinks. Suddenly, they begin praying that they have enough snacks and gas to get them back home. And, in the midst of those silent prayers, they find they are getting on each other’s nerves.
In both cases, these are trips that are going to be talked about for years to come. But the nature of the reminiscences will vary considerably!
Many people live their lives much like the friends who took the second road trip. They take whatever comes and live day-to-day or paycheck-to-paycheck. They do not have a plan or a goal for where they want to go, let alone end up. There is no beacon guiding them toward where they have determined they want to go.