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What is Your Manifest Destiny?

Posted By Jim On 05/19/2009 @ 12:10 pm In Personal Finance | 10 Comments

Manifest Destiny was the general belief that the United States was destined to expand from the United States’ current territory all the way to the Pacific Ocean. This belief, which was never codified into law or even an official government policy, was the guiding principle for a lot of the government’s policies and actions. It provided guidance in terms of expansion and helped bring about westward expansion. It’s important to note that the term wasn’t used until 1845 by an American newspaper editor, John O’Sullivan, and that westward expansion had occurred in earnest long before then. However, it gave the idea a name and ideas with names are very powerful.

Now comes the next step, you need to come up with your Manifest Destiny.

If you break down the words Manifest Destiny, it literally means “obvious” (manifest) and “certain” (destiny).

Set One Goal

The value in Manifest Destiny wasn’t in that it was a clever name. It’s valuable because it gave a name to an idea that didn’t have a name. It was a name to rally around. It provided guidance and validation of the federal government expansionist policy. Everyone understood that the goal of the United States’ expansion policies was to expand to the Pacific Ocean, but until it was called Manifest Destiny, it had no name.

What is your manifest destiny? What is the one goal you have that trumps all others? What is your guiding force? You can establish your own Manifest Destiny by figuring out what is the number one goal that dominates all other decision making.

What is the one thing that always comes to your mind, or that should always comes to your mind, whenever you make a decision about money? Is that goal to pay down your credit card debt in five years? Is it to save up money for a down payment on a home? Is it to save a few more months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund?

Accept It As Your One Goal

How many times in your life will you have only one goal? I know the answer to this, the answer is never. You will never have only one goal. You will have one goal with the highest priority, but you will never have merely one. One of the things I learned in talking to a lot of readers who got out of credit card debt was that paying off credit card debt became their number one and only goal. They had others, but one stuck out beyond all others.

If there’s only one thing I learned from Getting Things Done, it’s that we are terrible multi-taskers. We think we can juggle, but in reality we can’t. When you juggle, you only touch each ball for a fraction of a second. When you try to juggle goals, you only touch them for a fraction of a second, even if it’s the highest priority goal you have. That’s a mistake. You need to accept that while you may have several goals, the spotlight is on your manifest destiny.

The best part about focusing on one goal is the feeling of accomplishment when you are finished. You’ve worked hard, you see results, and you’re done when you’re done.

Now I ask you, what is your Manifest Destiny?

(Photo: tjjohn12 [3])


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