When I decided I wanted to live in Paris, I started with a few simple steps — watching more French movies, taking French lessons and even getting a duvet cover with a photograph of a Parisian street on it.
Then I started taking two-week visits every few months. I reached out to incubators to give mental toughness presentations, worked out with local bootcamps and told everyone I met I was going to be living in Paris. With incredible serendipity and timing, I found an opportunity for an apartment exchange that made the move to Paris effortless.
Most of us have been conditioned to take a linear approach to getting what we want — that we have to do A, B and C to “make” something happen.
Sure, this works when there’s a clear linear path: To become a doctor, you take premed classes, study for the MCAT and apply to medical school.
The problem with the linear approach is:
1) We get tripped up when we can’t see the path to what we want. How’s that unlikely thing going to happen? we wonder.
And 2) we think we’re supposed to be able to control what happens and are disappointed when there’s no sign that anything’s happening.
So here’s a distinction for you. Instead of asking, “How can I make this happen?” ask yourself: “What would I be doing if I were sure it was happening?”
Because you don’t actually “make” anything happen: Every possible reality already exists. Your work is to start taking action, to the best of your ability right now, as if it you’re already living in it — to create a “state of being” (which you can control) that matches the new reality, not the actual circumstances (which you can’t).
Even the smallest gesture counts. A friend of mine went around high school wearing the pin that pilots wear. Soon after graduation, he became one of the youngest pilots in a commercial airline.
Way before anyone was paying attention or the calls were coming in, rapper Tinie Tempah and his manager, Dumi Oburota set up an office and went in every day from 9 to 5 to sit by the telephone.
This works for everything.
- Do you have an Excel spreadsheet budgeting how you would allocate $1M in funding if you got it tomorrow?
- Have you done the research to understand what problem you could solve for your dream company?
- Are you eating the way you would if you were the thinner person you want to be?
In other words: stop waiting for things around you to change before you change. You need to act like you believe it before you’ll see it.