Bill Gatten

Your Plan of Action
by Bill Gatten

Have You Any Idea What It is That You Truly Want at This Point in Your Life?

Have you ever honestly sat down with pen in hand and pondered that question? Is it wealth that you want? Is it income? Is it financial security, fame or respect? Or could it be that all you really want is "show them" - i.e., retribution for someone's telling you you'd never make it (you're too dumb, too uneducated, too slow, too ugly, to fat, too skinny, too poor, too old…)?

And of the "wants" and "wishes" you harbor, how many of them are desires, and how many are actually "dire needs"?

Many, if not most, of us regularly confuse the concept of wanting something with needing it, and end up stopping miles short of our objectives as a result. A person may "want" a T-bone steak: but their real "dire need" is protein. They may "want" a smog-free environment: but their real "dire need" is…air.

All too often we say we would like to be wealthy, and then go to some considerable length to learn how to achieve wealth: but the fact is that if we haven't established an honest dire need for that wealth, it will more than likely never dangle within our reach. One can wish for an apple to fall from a tree and maybe have that happen, if he or she is willing to wait a while: but when the apple becomes a matter of survival, and the difference between hunger and starvation…then out of dire necessity the "wisher" becomes an "initiator," and will 'make' that apple fall by any means conceivable.

I was contacted this morning by a former workshop attendee who said that after having attended workshop, at the end of the day, despite my "excellent advice (her words)," she left the meeting perplexed and not understanding how to implement the advice I had tendered (at considerable cost to her and sincerity by me). Her lament was that, without a complete understanding, she had been forced to return to her "regular job." My response was that she could easily have asked questions and opted to stay for the free Q&A session afterward; she could have joined us weekly on the free TeleMentoring sessions we hold every Saturday morning; she could have called me or anyone on our staff with questions and concerns at any time; she could have stopped me in the middle of the presentation and demanded that I slow down because she wasn't "getting it (as the more indomitable students do from time-to-time)."

My honest response to the lady was that it appeared to me that her "Want To" had been overridden her "Don't Need To." In other words, she would surely have chosen to change her life and relinquish her mundane job, had it not been a bit too much trouble. At that juncture she wasn't desperate enough to put the need of a career change up there with the need for air. Do you suppose she might have paid closer attention and asked a few more questions and participated in the follow up sessions had she NOT had the tolerable job and sufficient income to fall back on, and hadn't eaten for, say, a week or two?

Let's assume for a moment that this same woman, even with her job to fall back on, had suddenly become a victim of certain dire needs that her salary just couldn't cover. Say, a child that required special medical treatment that her insurance couldn't cover; a husband who had bailed out on her leaving her with all the bills and insufficient means to handle daily life (and maybe throw in a broken a leg (or two). NOW do you think her "Want To" might be more readily replaced by a "Dire Need To"? You bet! And that's why the careful outlining of your wants and dire needs, and knowing well the difference, is so extremely important.

You don't have to break your legs or become destitute in order to carve out a better life: you only need to need to. When your dissatisfaction with the way things are outweighs your need for something better, then you will act accordingly. That will happen when you sit down and take inventory of your life…when you finally figure out what you are missing in this life that belongs to you just much as it does anyone else. The more aware you become of the inequity you are causing by your inaction, the more you will resent it and begin to do something about it. Do you know anybody is no smarter than you are, no better educated, no better qualified who is making five the money you are? Do you suppose they might be onto something you haven't taken the time to discover yet?

The carefully guarded so-called "Secret of the Universe" is that you are its master. You think and create on purpose, and you are one with its very creator: the Universe's creations by accident…it's you that is in charge. Anything you can conceive of is already yours for the asking: just do what's necessary to be able to hold it in your hand.

What Are Your Own Wishes, Wants and Dire Needs?

Some of us are born with the gifts that seem to automatically make superstars of us without a lot of effort (natural athletes, natural actors, natural musicians, writers, the unnaturally lucky, etc); but unfortunately, most of us are not superstars by virtue of our birthright. In fact, most of us have to establish whatever stardom we ever attain, in the face of sometimes seemingly insurmountable handicaps that life has dumped on us. We did not choose our parents or their mindsets or the conditions under which they were raised or how they raised us. We are, however, victims of all of those aspects of our own heredity, parentage, peer-pressure and early environment. Fortunately, though, we have been given the gift of free will, and the right to override or neutralize any part of our personal programming that we are willing to look at and take the time to try to understand.

The most common error (and the most disastrous one) in goal setting is that of mistaking wishes (wants) with burning desire (dire needs). It is only the latter that can lead us to real life-change and abundance. To but make a wish, we need do nothing but put it out there and wait and see what happens: with dire needs, however, we die in some way when they are not fulfilled…we are simply incapable of allowing them to go realized without severe damage to our psyche, and we will fight hard to prevent that from happening.

The difference between wishing or wanting…and sincerely needing is analogous to the difference between asking Santa for something, or demanding it of someone who owes it to you. If you'd like to build a 40-story high-rise or a 1,200 foot-long aircraft carrier, you certainly are free to do so if you wish, and if you have the means and knowledge to complete your work. But, until completion of such work becomes an absolute dire necessity, you likely never will. It's when a major aspect of your life depends on it that you will do what all builders of 40-story high-rise buildings and aircraft carriers have always done…imagine it, design it and build it.

So before writing out your objectives, choosing a mantra, and heading off on your trek to riches, take the time to figure out what your goals actually are; which of your "wishes" are worthy of being converted to "dire needs"; and what your resources are for accomplishing these aspirations. Should you come up short in the "means" area, then you need to write-out a plan for either attaining what you are lacking, or for replacing what your are lacking with something else of equal value that you have more than enough of (e.g., physical work can replace the need for cash; eliminating someone's burden can replaces the need for credit; patience can replace experience; caution, diligence and research can replace formal education; know-how replaces a college degree, and so on)

Never forget that, according to Epictetus in the 5th Century BC: "A [person's] wealth is measured only by the expense of [that person's] pleasures." In other words, when life itself is your reward, and when the least expensive pleasures are your greatest reward, you are already wealthy beyond calculation: no matter how much or how little money you have. My own true net-worth quadrupled when my children were born, and quadrupled again with the arrival of my grandchildren. Think about it…who is wealthier, the man with a big mortgage and a 60 month payment plan on a new Mercedes Benz convertible, or a well-loved, warm Eskimo with eight good dogs, a jolly fat wife and two years worth of walrus meat in his locker?

Converting a need to a burning desire (dire need) is the first real step in goal setting and requires definitive action. To wit: If you're having difficulty in making the decision to jump off the high cliff into the cold raging river below, in order to save your own life...just do this: Tie the end of a long rope around your waist, then tie the other end around a massive round rock and roll the rock toward the cliff. When you've finally rolled the stone over the edge...your fate is sealed. You needn't worry about making the decisions any longer. Definitive action tied to need is what brings "pre-existent potential" into the physical universe.

To become successful in life you must first know what it is that you want, and then you must decide what you truly need. Just ask yourself which of the following you could live without if you had to...what's left over are your needs.
  • Happiness

  • Contentment

  • Freedomv
  • Permanent Financial Security

  • Acceptance/Popularity

  • Good Health?

  • Fame/Recognition?

  • Monetary Wealth?

  • A more fulfilling lifestyle

  • A new career

  • A new spouse
So What Will Be Your Plan of Action?
(your "POA", your "rope" and your "big ol' rock")

Your POA is your design for success. It is the very map of your destiny. It becomes your guide to all of what you must do to become who and what you need to be, and to attain all of what you need to own and control.

Goals that are held only in the mind are never goals at all. They're just residual random electronic impulses left over from wishes. It's only when these wishes are physically transformed into matter by the process of putting them down on paper that they can begin to metamorphose into dire needs. Handwriting your goals is always preferable to typing them out in your word processor…the more arduous and physical the mind-to-hand task is, the more likely the transformation will be (i.e., moving a concept from the ethereal realm of potential into the realm of physical reality).

Forty years ago, I was dissatisfied living on only $326 per month (before deductions), but with that income I could cover a $60.00 per month rent payment, a $35.00 per month payments on my new Ford Falcon; I could buy gasoline, JC Penny's clothing and groceries; and I could still have enough left over to go to the drive-in movies once a month or so. In those days I was envied by many who couldn't afford even as much as I could: but I was also looked down upon by those with whom I most wanted to associate: high school friends who were coming out of college as doctors, lawyers, engineers, dentists, etc.). But now, 40 years later, I find myself earning more than most of my friends, but prone to becoming frantic if my monthly income drops below $20,000.00 (after deductions).

What do you suppose it is that I'm doing any differently today that I was forty years ago? Absolutely nothing except for following a plan. Because of my plan, I live in a bigger house now and drive nicer cars. And I've thrust necessities into my current lifestyle that weren't there before (vacation cruises, country clubs, frequent airline travel, nice hotels, fine dining, fine clothing, housekeepers, gardeners, maintenance people, big screen TV's, etc.): luxury items that were unheard of back then. But now a days I never think of these items as luxuries…today they are (in my mindset) integral pieces of whom I have worked and planned to become and whom I choose to be (and I ain't finished yet). And were I now to be deprived of any one of these previously unnecessary items and services, a part of who I envision myself to be would cease to exist (i.e., that part of my persona would die). My so-called luxuries are no longer just wants and wishes, but are now a part of my bundle of dire needs to be defended and preserved. Could I live without these things? Certainly! Could I be happy without them? Absolutely. Would I fight to hang on to them? You bet!

Writing Your POA:

When you outline your goals, be sure to write them in the present tense as a note to yourself, as if you were writing to a third party to whom you are making reverent, unbreakable promises: vows than can not, and must not ever, be compromised: "My earnings are becoming $xxx per year and shall reach that amount by the end of 20___." "My property acquisition requirement is at an average of no less than one property per-month, to be achieved by the end of 20___" "I am already as wealthy as I have a honest need to be, and must only convert the potential of my God-given wealth into physical reality by my promised actions." "I am becoming ever more perfectly in tune with the abundance and intelligence that is existence itself, and can only prosper in the most spectacular of ways…always."

Over time, you'll need to be continually adding to, subtracting from, and refining your objectives: reorganizing and making changes as your circumstances change (because of the success of your plan of action). By constantly reviewing and adjusting your Plan of Action, you will begin to develop an ever clearer focus, and begin to realize that what were originally mere hopes and dreams, are now moving ever closer to necessity and manifesting in three dimensions. For example, once you have fulfilled some of the early promises to yourself, and progressed to, say, actually having gotten a property under contract, the "wish" of someday being a property owner, now becomes reality and creates an unyielding need to bring in a resident beneficiary, tenant or buyer…a true "dire need," the fulfillment of which is merely a part of your survival.

With a written plan, the possibility of success become the probability of success, an as you continue to tighten up the plan you can't help but move closer and closer to the certainty of success: finally fulminating in the rich, rewarding and bountiful life and lifestyle that was yours for the taking all along.

It's so easy. You merely need to sit down and determine once and for all what it is that you truly want at this point in your life. Whatever it is, it already belong to you, you merely have to reach for it by making it something truly you can't live without.

Bill Gatten
Bill Gatten is a one of the few true "in-the-trenches" creative financing teachers who actually practice what they preach. A highly successful real estate investor and much sought-after national speaker, Bill's most recent book (of many on the subject) is the very comprehensive, humorous and irreverent: "Making it BIG in Creative Real Estate and Keeping it...This Time," a 500 page compendium of all aspects of seller-carry, no-down, no-credit-needed, no-payment creative real estate financing, featuring the dynamic "Equity Holding Land Trust(tm) System" -- the PACTrust (tm) and NEHTrust(tm).

Educated at the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Bill's 45 years of work experience are in sales training, real estate investing and institutional banking (former co-owner and founder, Westlake Bancorp; and the former president and CEO of Gatten Financial Services, Inc. and Markay Equipment Leasing, Inc., Thousand Oaks, Ca.).

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