“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” – W. Clement Stone

Eammon Percy
Eammon Percy

Napoleon Hill’s classic book, Think and Grow Rich (The Ralston Society, 1937) is one of my favorite books of all time. His work is based on a 25-year study of 250 of the most successful business people of his generation. He has truly collected, analyzed and synthesized the success strategies of some of the most amazing people in modern history and summarized it for us in simple book form. He outlines the proven, clear and methodical steps necessary to achieve success. I highly recommend it.

The first principle of success he mentions is to create a definite purpose. In other words, before you get started on your own journey, determine exactly where you are going, what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. He didn’t name it a fuzzy vision or a consideration; he calls it a definite purpose! A precise and clear definition of what you want to achieve.

This idea has always appealed to me, since we all need a reason to live and something that gets us fired up each day. Otherwise, we are drifting, at best going nowhere, often regressing. I would much rather be moving toward something better, clear and concrete every day, than drifting and looking back.

What is your definite purpose?

If you don’t have one, take the time to write one down now. I am not talking about goals, but the overall intention that drives you forward every day, fills you with pride, and causes you to dig deep during the times of trouble and sacrifice. The definite purpose is the beacon you see off in the distance every day that you move toward, rarely in a straight line, but it guides your overall direction of all your resources, effort and time.

Examples of a definite purpose include: raising children of character who become contributing members of society, building a business to a value of $100 million so that half of that can be given away to important causes later in life, building an academic career that significantly advances the boundary of existing knowledge, being awarded a Nobel Prize or becoming the best parent you can possibly be.

Keep your definite purpose short, but exciting. Write it down where it can be seen or read daily, and make it part of your ritual. Make it real and keep it at the front of your mind each day until its visualization and achievement become a reality.

Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter @EamonnPercy.