To Accomplish Something, We Must Plan To Accomplish Something
On occasions all of us have waked up on Saturday morning with no plans, no agenda either mental or written that spells out what we’re going to do. On days like that, we accomplish next to nothing. We aimlessly drift through the day, glad when it’s finally over. But when we face the day with a plan, we get things done.
This common experience provides an important lesson: to accomplish something, we must plan to accomplish something.
Before World War II our scientists saw the potential power locked in the atom. But relatively little was known about how to split the atom and unleash that tremendous power. When the United States entered the war, forward-looking scientists saw the potential power of an atomic bomb. A crash program was developed to accomplish just one goal: build an atomic bomb. The result is history. In just a few years the concentrated effort paid off. The bombs were dropped, and the war was ended. But without that crash program to accomplish a goal, splitting the atom would have been delayed perhaps a decade, maybe longer.
Set goals to get things done.
Our great production system would be hopelessly bogged down if production executives did not establish and adhere to target dates and production schedules. Sales executives know salesmen sell more when they are given a carefully defined quota to sell. Professors know students get terms papers written on time when a deadline is set.
Now, as you press forward to success, set goals: deadlines, target dates, self-imposed quotas. You will accomplish only what you accomplish.
According to Dr. George E. Burch of the Tulane University School of Medicine, an expert in the study of human longevity, many things determine how long you will live: weight, heredity, diet, psychic tension, personal habits. But Dr. Burch says, “The quickest way to the end is to retire and do nothing. Every human being must keep an interest in life just to keep living.”
Each of us has a choice. Retirement can be the beginning or the end. The “do nothing but eat, sleep, and rock” attitude is the poison-yourself-fast form of retirement. Most folks who regard retirement as the end of purposeful living soon find retirement is the end of life itself. With nothing to live for, no goals, people waste away fast.
The other extreme, the sensible way to retire, is the “I’m going to pitch right in and start fast” method. One of my finest friends, Lew Gordon, has chosen this way to retire. Lew’s retirement several years ago as a vice president of Atlanta’s biggest bank was really Commencement day for him. He established himself as a business consultant. And his pace is amazing.
Now in his sixties, he serves numerous clients and is in national demand as a speaker. One of his special projects is helping to build Pi Sigma Epsilon, a young but fast-growing fraternity for professional salesmen and sales executives. Every time I see Lew he seems younger. He’s a young thirty in spirit. Few people I know of any age are reaping more from life than this senior citizen who resolved not to go out to pasture.
And the Lew Gordons aren’t the boring old grumps feeling sorry for themselves because they’re old.
Goals, intense goals, can keep a person alive when nothing else will. Mrs. D., the mother of a college friend of mine, contracted cancer when her son was only two. To darken matters, her husband had died only three months before her illness was diagnosed. Her physicians offered little hope. But Mrs. D. would not give up. She was determined that she would see her two-year-old son through college by operating a small retail store left her by her husband. There were numerous surgical operations. Each time the doctors would say, “Just a few more months.”
The cancer was never cured. But those “few more months” stretched into twenty years. She saw her son graduated from college. Six weeks later she was gone.
A goal, a burning desire, was powerful enough to stave off sure death for two decades.
Use goals to live longer. No medicine in the world — and your physician will bear this out — is powerful in bringing about long life as is the desire to do something.