Most people will tell you they’d like to move ahead in their lives with continuous growth and abundance, but are they really taking the necessary steps to make that happen?

Two characters from the cult classic movie Napoleon Dynamite are contrasting examples of growth and abundance. If you recall, Uncle Rico was living in the past: all he could talk about was what would have happened in his life if his high school football coach had “put me in the fourth quarter.” Somehow, winning the championship would have led him to becoming a major NFL star, with the resulting success and wealthy lifestyle that come with it. Instead, he’s resigned to living in his van and selling plastic food storage containers.

His nephew Napoleon, on the other hand, is constantly looking to his future; even while facing daunting challenges for a high school kid, he pursues what he most wants, and supports and uplifts his friends along the way. In the end, he succeeds in his goal to get the girl.

Vastly different ways of approaching life are displayed by these two characters. Can you relate more with Uncle Rico or Napoleon?

If you can relate more with Napoleon, it’s probably because you are, either consciously or unconsciously, using a technique my friend and strategic coach Dan Sullivan calls the “Quick Thinker.” I’ve found it very useful in determining the best way to move my life forward. Take a few minutes to step through his technique. Identify:

1. The future you want

2. Which parts of your past will come along into that future

3. How to utilize the present to make the best possible progress.

When I outlined what I wanted in my future, here’s what I came up with:

● Strong family relationships

● Stay in top physical shape and maintain good nutritional habits

● Continue to teach and empower my family and others to live abundantly in all aspects of our lives.

Then, here are the parts of my past I’d want to come along into my future:

● The family traditions we’ve established

● The well-oiled machine of predictable results from our company

● The experiences we’ve learned from — good and not-so-good.

Finally, here’s what I’d do today to get to that life of abundance:

● Focus on what’s going right in my life

● Have and show constant gratitude

● Stay in motion and add value to the world

● Stick to true principles, use the best possible tools and proven strategies, and continue to grow exponentially.

Though it might seem simplistic, this exercise has consistently helped me clarify where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to go. Decide what you want in your future, what parts of your past get to come along, and how to continue moving to a brighter, self-determined future.

Your story, like Napoleon Dynamite’s, deserves a happy ending.

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