You Can Only Control Your Efforts, Not the Outcome


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It took the average self-made millionaire in my study 32 years to become “rich”. That’s a long time, don’t you think? I asked many of the millionaires if they ever got so disheartened that they wanted to quit. Most responded by saying that I was looking at it all wrong. They said, they never felt like they were pushing a ball up a hill, hoping for some reward at some point. They were all on autopilot in a sense. Working hard every day, not to ring the bell, but because they liked what they were doing and believed one day all their hard work would pay off. I consolidated this lesson into the following quote:

You can only control your efforts in life, you cannot control the outcomes.

They weren’t saying don’t believe in yourself. What they were actually saying is don’t lose faith in yourself. Just do your best every day. That’s all you need to worry about. Don’t set expectations so high that when you fail to realize them you become depressed. They even suggested not to have any expectations for outcomes.

That really confused me because I was always taught by all of the self-help experts out there to set very specific goals with very specific time tables for achievement. But thanks to my research, I learned for the first time in my adult life what a goal really was. I’ve since written about the real definition of a goal. Here’s one of those posts: The Self-Made Millionaire Goal-Setting Process

When you set expectations too high and fail to achieve them it will take you down emotionally. Do that too often and you might just quit pursuing your dream. For this reason, self-made millionaires don’t focus on the outcomes. That just messes up your mind. They understand that there are many moving parts to realizing a dream and not all of those variables fall into place just because you will them to. The only thing to focus on is your efforts. Taking specific action is the real definition of a goal, not some number. All you can control is how hard you work in the pursuit of your dream. That’s all you need to focus on. When you persist and never give up, life eventually rewards you with success. Success is the realization of each one of your dreams by taking action. Actions = goals, not outcomes.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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