ArticlesGoal Setting

Reaching Your Goals: A Ridiculous Way to Succeed

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If you've ever had any sales training, you've probably been taught the technique called "Reduction to the Ridiculous." This is the technique of breaking a price down to smaller and smaller units until it sounds insignificant compared to the value of your product. Here's an example?

Say you're talking to an insurance agent. Nothing against insurance agents, some of them are my friends, it just makes a good example. You're buying car insurance, and your friendly agent sees your jaw drop when he tells you the annual premium. Now he starts breaking it down- $1200 per year becomes $100 per month, which is about $3 a day, or 13 cents an hour or less than a penny a minute. Or, since he knows you drive 24,000 miles a year, your premium is only 50 cents per mile? A small price to pay to avoid a financial wipeout in case you cause an accident, right? ;-)

We can apply the same technique to Success. Here's the road map:

Specific Actions

Now let's look at each step.


Your Vision is what your life would look like if you had everything that's important to you. Suppose you had all the free time and money you needed to do anything you wanted. That "anything" is your Vision. In his best-seller The Greatest Networker In the World, John Fogg calls it "the movie in your mind." I love this visual? You close your eyes and imagine you are standing in front of a theatre. Picture the neon sign above the marquee. The bright lights chasing themselves around the title of the current feature. Feel the push of the crowd as they move around you to get their tickets. You check the title- "You- the True Story Of His/Her Amazing Life." With a title like that, you have to buy a ticket, right?

You buy your ticket, and find a seat, about a third back, right in the center. Feel yourself sinking back into the plush velvet of the rich seat. Slide back and have some fresh popcorn. Settle in?

The show starts. There you are. Now fill in the action on the silver screen. See yourself doing the things you dream of doing. When the show is over, open your eyes. You have a Vision.


Plans are the elements of your vision. Suppose a scene from your movie showed you presenting a large check to your favorite charity. To do so, you will need access to a large amount of money. In other words, to make that scene come true, you need to be wealthy.

To reach part of your vision, you plan to Get Rich.


Goals are the milestones you use to measure your progress in following your plan. For our plan to Get Rich, we might set the following goals:

1. Net Worth of $10,000,000
2. Annual Income of $1,000,000
3. Enough passive and residual income to cover monthly expenses without working.
4. And so on?

Many advise you to put a strict deadline on your goals. I don't follow that, because it sets you up for failure. I would much prefer to set a target date, simply as a point of reference to evaluate progress. For the goal of $1,000,000 annual income, you might set a target of ten years. Each year, you can evaluate and ask yourself, 'if I continue at my current pace, how likely am I to hit my target.' If the answer is 'very likely,' keep the target. If the answer is 'I'll reach it much sooner,' move up the date. If the answer is 'not gonna happen', you need to make a decision.

Do you change your target date? Or do you change what you are doing in order to accelerate your progress? Do you change the goal altogether? You have to decide which way you want to go.

If you think you are doing as well as you are capable of doing, go ahead and move the target date out. You'll be evaluating again in a year, and can adjust as necessary.

If you think there is room for improvement, note that and go to the next step.


To reach net worth of $10,000,000, you decide the steps are:

> Create a business worth $5,000,000
> Use profits from the business to build a portfolio worth $2,000,000
> Use profits from the business and portfolio to acquire real estate worth $3,000,000

Let's focus for now on "create a business worth $5,000,000".

One common method for valuing a business is to multiply the yearly earnings by some factor. Let's say that a buyer wants to recoup his investment in five years. Disregarding taxes and such, he would multiply the business's earnings by 5 to arrive at a purchase price. So in order for our business to be valued at $5,000,000, it would have to generate $1,000,000 per year in revenue.

Starting from scratch and building a million-dollar-a-year business is like eating an elephant- you have to do it one bite at a time.

Let's use a network marketing business and work the numbers backwards. I'm going to make some stuff up here, just to keep the arithmetic simple. We're going to ignore taxes and assume perfect duplication (in other words, every member of the organization does exactly the same thing). This obviously won't happen in real life, and it still illustrates the principle. We're also going to assume that direct commissions and all overrides are 20% (which would make the numbers implode if this wasn't made up ;-). The plan pays 5 levels deep, and follows "five who get five who get five, etc."

To generate $1,000,000 in revenue would require $5,000,000 in volume.

One leg would look like this:

5 on level 1
25 on level 2
125 on level 3
625 on level 4
3125 on level 5

Total of 3,906 people in each leg. You build one leg per year for ten years, or an organization of 39,060 people. Each person would need to generate $128 in volume, or about $11 per month, on average.

Your step is to build one leg per year with an average volume of $128 per distributor per year.

Now it's time to work backwards again. To keep things simple again, we'll just assume the 80/20 rule holds here. We'll assume that for everything you do, you get your intended result 1 out of 5 times.

So, to build one productive leg, you need to start five legs per year. That means finding a new rep every 2 months (I'm only making you work 10 months a year. Am I a nice guy, or what?)

Keeping the 80/20 rule,

1 leg = 5 new front line reps
5 new front line reps = 25 serious presentations
25 presentations = 125 in the pipeline
125 in the pipeline = 625 initial responses
625 initial responses = 3125 looking
3125 looking = 15625 impressions

so to get our new leg, we have to reach 15,625 people. Working 5 days a week for two months, that's about 390 people per day. Now we have something we have control over, and it's time for (ta-dah):

Specific Actions

What Specific Daily Actions (SDA) can you take to put your message in front of 390 people per day?

How about submitting an article to an ezine that reaches 400 subscribers? (oops, 80/20 rule, make that 'submitting an article to 5 ezines, each with 400 subscribers, and counting on one publication)

How about posting on a forum read by 2,000 people? Or sending a post to a mailing lists with 2000 subscribers? (Assuming 20% will notice your sig and click on it.)

You get the idea. Your SDA's are things you have control over, so they're actions you can be accountable for.

From "building a business worth $5,000,000" to "taking one specific action every day". How's that for a ridiculous(-ly simple) way to succeed? Just go out and take one specific action every day towards your vision. Each day counts.

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!
Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
For in its brief course lie all the Verities
and Realities of your Existence:
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty.
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today well-lived makes every
Yesterday a Dream of Happiness
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.

Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn.

-from the Sanskrit

(c)Copyright 2003 by John McCabe

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