The Eleventh Hour

I have found that there is a repeating theme, things that are reliant on something out of my control and must be done by a certain deadline, get done just in time.

It generally applies to things in which I had no control, such as something I want to sell. I have to wait until someone wants to buy. I have had this happen on several occasions. For example, I needed to sell something in order to buy a newer model. It has been for sale for four months without receiving any interest. I set a deadline on selling the old model and purchasing the new one. After 4 months without any offers at all, someone bought it today, the day before the deadline.

Another example which also happened today is that I have been waiting for a package to arrive in the post. It is a week overdue and last night I composed an email to the sender to say that we must accept it is lost and send another. I have learnt to compose such messages and give it one more day since this happens so often. Sure enough, the package arrived in today’s post, a week later than it should have, but just on the deadline I set.

I have found that this works very well with both externally or self imposed deadlines. I can set a deadline on my own to make a decision, if the decision relies on a random factor that I cannot control, it often gets resolved on the last day or the day before. When something is in the hands of the post office and cannot be tracked, there is no way I could control that, yet I believe I did.

The most extraordinary example in my life was when I became a real estate agent and set a goal to sell a multi-million dollar property within one year of becoming an agent. I did not have an idea of what building that would be or the exact price, but I knew it was going to be in the tens of millions. At that time, the real estate market in Montreal was very bad and I was only 20 years old, brand new in the industry with no history or connections, i.e. I had a snowball’s chance in hell. It was an out of the question dream. Yet through so called coincidences I sold a building for $22 million dollars half way through my eleventh month.

This is a very interesting phenomena that we normally explain a strange coincidence throughout the many recurrences during our life. I have realized that calling it a coincidence is a big mistake.

Napoleon Hill makes this principle very clear in his book, ‘Think And Grow Rich’. Fix a definite goal and a definite deadline for you to achieve it. This is a crucial factor for success. However, many people fail because they are unrealistic and do not follow a vital factor in setting their goal which I have discovered.

The goal and deadline must be feasible and reasonable.

If you set goals that are simply unreasonable, then even you will not take it seriously, despite what you may believe. This is not as much of a restriction as it appears. If you want $10 million in 6 months, and have no job or business or assets, rather you only have debts, the only way to get that money is winning the lottery, that is feasible but not reasonable. However, if you want to achieve something that can be done with your current assets and skills, which means if you have a brain you can learn the skills you need in time to reach your goal, then it is feasible and reasonable, even if everyone else thinks otherwise. Objectively determine without emotion, if it is possible to achieve what you want in the time frame you want it.

One fellow went from $10,000 in debt to a net worth of $500,000 in 4 years, owing his own house mortgage free and close to $200,000 a year income with his own business. He simply worked every day as hard as he could and did not spend money unless it was necessary. He sacrificed his time and put in the effort beyond the limits that most people will do. Of course, now they look at him and want what he has, but they would not put in the same effort.

So you can want anything, but is it reasonable to expect it without being willing to put in the necessary effort and risks? That is the determining factor.

As well, if you set a deadline and then change it, you have destroyed the power of the principle because you are saying you were wrong originally. If you were wrong once, you can be wrong again, and again, you have destroyed confidence in yourself.

This is not the same as setting a goal and achieving it early or in greater success than you planned. If that happens, great, but if you change the plan mid-way through, you will lose a lot of steam.

This principle is well known but made to be so commonplace that people do not realize its power. There is a cartoon of a stork with a frog halfway down its mouth with the frog’s hind legs hanging out and the frogs hands choking the storks neck. The caption is; “Never give up!”

Many people say that when they were in school, they would leave study to the last minute before the exam, or leave a report to be done in the last day before it was due. People like working under pressure, it gives a powerful motivation.

Imagine the atrocities of war, it was the motivation of ‘do or die’ that made some decent human beings follow the inhuman orders of their superiors. Do or go to jail or die. That is a tremendous motivation that can make us do super or inhuman and unthinkable things.

Now that we know the power of motivation to a deadline, we can use that to our advantage. The key is in realizing the real power and taking it seriously, and this is where many people miss out on using this great tool.

Answer yourself honestly, how seriously do you take the concept that by serving a deadline that is feasible and reasonable, that having the deadline alone will make you succeed or even more than that, can make miracles happen. Other people will appear out of nowhere, your boss will give you a spontaneous raise, (that has happened to two of my readers) or a new job opportunity just comes to you. There is no limit to the miracles that can happen if you take this concept seriously. But you do not.

I can suggest one method to help you take it more seriously. Review past events in your life and for other people. Make a list of all the things that have happened just before the deadline. Anything that was a little miracle or even just what you would call good timing. The longer the list and the more seriously you take it, ponder objectively that coincidences happen once in a while but something that happens on a more regular basis is not just a coincidence.

Maybe then you will give this principle the respect it deserves.

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