You don’t have to be a fortune teller to be able to predict a person’s future. Simply ask him “What is your life’s ambition and how are you going to achieve it?”

Most people will fumble for an answer.

A response along the lines of: “I want to make a lot of money and be famous” tells you that this person has no specific, actionable plans for their lifetime. They are therefore destined not to be a high achiever. That is, until they organize their thinking – and start to plan their future.

To accomplish anything substantial, you have to be very precise about what it is you want to achieve, then devise a workable plan to achieve it.

Merely wanting to “make a good income” and “be successful” is too general. You need to think long and hard about what you really want. You need to be specific. Your future, and your family’s future, can be everything that you want it to be. Just be realistic – we’re all limited by time and the laws of physics. But within these confines, anything which you really want, and can formulate a workable plan to achieve – is possible.

If you look at high achievers from all over the world, you’ll see similarities. They knew what they wanted and worked towards it. They all had a goal. A specific destination. And a plan to reach it.

Because most of us are lazy and prone to procrastination, without a strong ambition in life, we can’t summon up the drive to get past the restricting instincts which incline us to do nothing.

A very specific mental picture of what we want can overcome our natural tendency to follow the lazy route.

If you’re unsure as to what you really want, try to imagine yourself in many years to come, when you are much older, looking back on your life. What would you want to be proud of? And what would you want to be remembered for?

Visualization allows you to experience, in a virtual manner, what life would be like if you achieved your ambition.

Once you have clearly articulated your ambition – write it down. Until you get it written down, it’s no more than a wish.

Keep your written goal where you can see it – but initally at least, be careful who you share it with. You don’t want negative comments to make you doubt your ambition at this stage. Certainly not until you’ve had a chance to formulate your plan, to foresee the likely pitfalls and find solutions.

Before you reveal your ambition to anyone else, write out why you want it, what it will mean to you and how much effort you are prepared to put in to see it happen. If you had to write a business plan to take to the bank to “sell” your idea, you’d need to be pretty organized. Well, this is every bit as important.

Why? Because you need to examine every aspect of your ambition to be sure that

1) it really is what you want and

2) that you have the passion for this thing to see you through the long haul.

Once you are convinced in your own mind that this is what you want, and it’s achievable, you can withstand a bit of criticism. Until then, don’t risk the danger of a cutting remark causing you to put the idea to one side.

A word of warning – an ill thought out life ambition can make you miserable. If you are unrealistic in your life’s ambition, you risk wasting all your time and effort, alienating friends, even destroying relationships. You have to be sure that your main ambition is compatible with your long-term view of the life you want.

But with a well constructed ambition, you will be amazed at how much momentum you can create. Once you get going, the same force of inertia which held you back initially will ensure your continuing progress. That’s the thing about inertia – it keeps you doing what you’re already doing.

Achieving your first ambition will lead on to bigger and greater ambitions. You see, there’s nothing limiting about having ambition. But you do need a continual impetus towards your ultimate goal. Look beyond what you are currently engaged in and formulate a 5 year, 10 year, maybe even a 20 year plan. Then get to work!