Stay Focused on Your Dreams

Stay Focused on Your Dreams

by Jack Canfield

“When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember

that your initial objective was to drain the swamp!”

I just spent a day conducting my Success Principles Workshop for 200 unemployed men and women sponsored by the Workforce Institute in San Jose, California.

It was a very revealing day.

First, I was struck by the diversity of the people who have lost their jobs due to the cutbacks caused by the recession—computer programmers, salespeople, managers, artists, trainers, architects, landscapers, lawyers, actuaries, truck drivers, painters and teachers.

Secondly, I was struck by the mood of resignation and depression that was present in the room when we began in the morning.

The prevailing belief was that there were not any jobs available and that it wasn’t going to get any better anytime soon. People were preparing their resumes, going to job fairs, going to interviews, but with little or no results.

I was reminded of Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese, in which he reports how rats in a laboratory maze are trained to press a certain buzzer with their noses, and once they are reinforced with a reward of cheese, will keep going back to press the same buzzer even though they are no longer receiving cheese for pressing the buzzer. Their noses will become bloody and they will eventually die rather than press a different buzzer.

Human beings do the same thing. They will repeat a behavior that used to work over and over and over again, even though it is not producing the desired result, hoping that someday it will work again.

There is something to be said for perseverance in the face of an obstacle, but sometimes you have to come to grips with the fact that a particular opportunity may never exist again.

In my book The Success Principles I teach a formula called E + R = O. It stands for Events + Responses = Outcomes.

If a certain response (job search) in the face of a certain event (the current economic situation in your area) is not creating the outcome (income) you want, you may have to change your response.

You may have to try something different, which could include employing a more creative approach to presenting yourself, moving to a new location where the jobs are, changing fields (which might require retraining or re-education), becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business venture, joining a multi-level marketing company, partnering up with other people to start a service of some kind—all of which may require you to step outside of your comfort zone.

A good example of what I am talking about is a woman I read about in USA Today. After losing her job she noticed that all the homes that were being foreclosed in her neighborhood were left in shambles, just as the angry people who were forced out of them. She called the local banks and offered to clean them for a fee so that they would be presentable when the banks tried to rent or sell them. Her little venture was so successful that she had to hire several other people to help. She now has a successful house cleaning business.

I saw a story on CNN about another jobless woman who opened a store to help buy and sell used furniture from the people who were forced to downsize as they were being foreclosed upon or forced to move to smaller apartments. She sold some locally and some on the internet. These are all examples of finding a need and filling it, of getting creative instead of sitting passively by, doing the same old behaviors that are not working.

By the end of the day in San Jose there was a different mood in the air—one of excitement and enthusiasm about pursuing all of the possibilities that lay before them.

They had come in at the beginning of the day simply hoping to figure out how to find a job. By the end of the day they were leaving focused on how to create the life of their dreams.

They had transcended the limited goal of getting back to ground zero and replaced it with a goal of “thrival” rather than mere survival. 

No matter what is going on in the economy…

•         hold fast to your dreams,

•         visualize them with feeling twice a day,

•         keep your self-talk positive,

•         surround yourself with positive people,

•         read uplifting books,

•         trust your intuition,

•         take continuous action,

•         expect the best,

•         respond to feedback by making the necessary corrections,

•         and persevere until you get the result you want.

It’s a formula that always works.

After the workshop had concluded, one of the participants came up to me and said…

“You know, I used to set goals and do the things you were teaching us today when I was younger.  I guess I’ve just stopped doing the things that work.”  

Whatever you do, don’t stop doing the things that work. I promise you, if you work the principles, the principles always work.

© 2010 Jack Canfield

* * *

To learn more about the remaining three Success Principles Workshops I am conducting for the general public in Seattle and Boston, go to:

Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:


Filed under Advice, Perseverance, writers block

2 responses to “Stay Focused on Your Dreams

  1. I have recently started a blog, the information you offer on this site has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work.

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