Definite Purpose+Burning Desire

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”

Napoleon Hill, author of The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich

To identify one’s calling not only provides greater clarity on purpose but also gives us a greater sense of calling, which means better inspiration, direction, action, and, more likely, results. Planning should be more than to do lists and long-range plans. The process of planning can help us identify our purposes.

Plans help us improve “definiteness of purpose” and “knowledge of what one wants” plus adds fuel to our “burning desire.” Once we understand our purposes and possible results while creating the vision, we will be more likely to persevere and less likely to let disappointments hold us back.

Investing 1% of our time in planning adds significance to the other 99%. The 1% can help us focus on better priorities and feel more inspiration to take action.

Napoleon Hill, as a young journalist interviewing Andrew Carnegie, learned common denominators of doing our best exist, make a difference when learned and implemented, and should be taught at home and school, as well as places of work and worship. Often they were not taught or used (in many schools and other key places, still not taught, which we can fix). Plan for School and Life Initiative

Carnegie saw Hill was inspired and offered to introduce him to scores of the world’s most prolific people, including U.S. presidents, business leaders, and scientists such as Thomas Edison.  Hill studied and compiled their common denominators into a list of principles and practices published in essays and books.

If you read more of Hill’s work, you will see his emphasis on writing your “definite purpose” and internalizing it as a key to building desire and action. This process and plan can become a great source of motivation, habits, accountability, and results.

My research and coaching affirms, people with an “A” awareness of calling and choices are much more likely to demonstrate “A” level of “courage” and “commitment.” Without a plan, courage, commitment, and confidence average “C” level, which holds people and their organizations back. In most cases,”A” or “B” is attainable and should be developed.

I first read Hill’s books as a college student in a summer job selling Bibles door-to-door. The ideas plus the summer experience planted the seeds of my calling to help people learn and use best-self leadership. Hill’s work influenced mine and is a reason why I emphasize so much to students, professionals, and families alike that we should write plans to help us discover purpose, focus, and internalize what’s most important.

May you Plan and Lead your Life, David

Ask the Mom of a Prisoner

A mother called me this Sunday morning. She had received from her daughter a few workbooks I developed she thought might help her son prepare better to get out of prison.

If you wonder if adding Plans for School & Life to school lessons and writing assignments could be valuable to the development and decisions made by people, especially young people, ask the mother of a prisoner is she wishes we would add that preparation to education and what it means to be prepared for citizenship.

This mother is also thinking of how life may be different for her son if he had thought more, wrote more, and prepared more for the plan he desired for the person he wanted to become and the life he wanted to lead.

Do you think a student with even a bit more hope and direction will be more likely to succeed as well as avoid trouble? Of course, you do.

Have your read or heard of the power of goals or other components in plans? Of course, you have.

We can take action now and improve the lives of many. Perhaps you or someone you teach or know needs a better plan for life. Or,  perhaps you would benefit from not having to pay so much in taxes to support those former students who are in prison.

What if the prisoner, that’s mom’s son, and a former student had been more inspired and informed of positive possibilities, would he have been more likely to focus his time and energy toward callings instead of be tempted to do drugs–and the things he did while impaired by drugs, which sent him to prison?

If he had outlined what he could do to achieve possibilities and to solve problems instead of repeatedly think of his problems, would he have had more hope and reason to do good things leading to a better life?

All of us can identify what we do need to do to become our best-selves. Most of us already agree, if you do those things more people will spend their time positively and less people will end up in prison, homeless, or worse.

If we added Best-Self Leadership and Plan for School & Life to K-college and/or career plus help those already in communities, how much better could we do and how much could we save in human capital and in costs for law enforcement and incarceration of too many lost souls.

A country song of the past comes to mind with a line in the lyrics,

“You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

If you want people to improve how well they stand for something good, we can invite and reward them to write their callings and choices.

We can reward students for the effort with grades in school and steps to graduation.

We can include this positive action to earning a way out of prison. “Marking time” can help a man learn the value of freedom or it can kill his spirit and numb his conscience to inspired possibilities. Time without freedom is not the only answer. Some people plan and prepare better in a year than some who exist in the system for a decade. Some veterans making comebacks I have taught and coached made more progress in a month or two than some who stayed in the system for years–with little purpose, planning, or action.

If you value this thinking, you could write an inspired idea in your plan. And, you could support Life Leaders as we seek to help educators prepare our students with plans for school and the seven areas of life. You are invited to follow this blog. David

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Quote by Abraham Lincoln: “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

Abraham Lincoln

Peter Drucker is credited with a similar quotation, “We Cannot Predict the Future, But We Can Invent It.”

Recommendation:  ask what vision you would like to create and list or describe the desired results in your plan for life and/or the organization you serve. This will add inspiration, encourage focus on solutions, and prompt action better and faster.

Sample question to call upon: If you could do or create what you wanted, what would it look like? or What results would you like?

You can do this. And, you and teachers can teach statements like these to students to encourage them to think of dreams and other desired results–for school, sports, even summer vacations. When someone has a problem, consider the outcomes wanted and solutions to the problems likely will flow faster.

Your written plan for life will help you create your future because you have drafted a creation in your mind and on paper. And, when life calls you to make corrections or even change course, you will have a plan to improve and have a process in mind that will help you get to a new solution better and faster. David

True Fan: Follow the Process


Do you plan to be an Entertainment Fan or a True Fan?



Will you choose to be a “True Fan” who stands for the principles and practices that define the process to make the team great, in addition to following the season and cheering for team success, or will you only focus on Entertainment?

Entertainment Fans love to watch the games and follow the teams. I do, too.

True Fans also “walk the talk” of the team. True fans not only listen but also put into action lessons of favorite coaches, such as:

  • define the process to improve development that leads to success
  • write mission, vision, goals and plans
  • leadership sets standards and sets examples
  • develop capacity to stay strong and persevere to finish
  • __________ (you probably have another favorite you have heard or even cited).

In my home state of Alabama, we have many good schools, football teams, and athletes. The most famous are Alabama and Auburn because they have been national champions.

Our coaches are paid millions of dollars to be great planners, recruiters, teachers, leaders, motivators, and communicators. The investment is made because their leadership and processes make a difference and provide extra opportunity for great teams, even championships, instead of just good showings. Increased revenues to the universities pay high salaries and produce return on investment (ROI). The University of Alabama president told “60 Minutes” the multi-million dollar compensation to Coach Saban was one of the best investments the university ever made.

Their lessons often highlighted in media interviews, articles, videos, and books apply in football and most other endeavors. Their teachings make a big difference in player development and team successes. As true fans of the team, we can listen, take action, and benefit, too.

If you don’t focus on a target, you will likely “bat at the wind.”

Lou Vickery, former pro baseball player

Two Ways Many Fans Fail and How We Can Succeed Better

Here are just two key ways true fans can learn and succeed better applying what we hear:

1. Process–championship coaches preach having goals and plans, plus breaking down the actions needed to develop and implement. Even Entertainment Fans expect their teams to have such goals or they will call for a new coach to lead their teams.

Apply that principle to preparing young people to be prepared, such as in school, college, and career, and you will eventually conclude we should help our students write Plans for School and Life so they will have more focus and sense of purpose as well as invest time and energy as well as possible. It’s a best practice and is required if we educators and family members want to help students do their best. Everyone seems “to know this idea” though it appears 95% still don’t do it. We could improve get from 5% or less to near 100% by adding a school standard that students write plans. By doing so, especially if parents and teachers wrote their own, the students would have a useful tool and a process they can use for life when making decisions, seeking inspiration, and stating intent with others.

2. Recruiting–if you know anyone who has applied for a job, you know many institutions seem to still follow outdated Human Resource (HR) practices to require “jumping through hoops” (send letter, resume, transcripts from institutions attended, three letters from references, and more as part of an online application to re-state your resume and answer questions (all important for the final three though likely not so for the 100 who apply without being a top candidate). The mindset is “post positions available” then “screen applicants” and “fill positions.”

I asked an HR director what percentage of professionals his college hired came from recruiting versus screening applicants. He looked a bit uncomfortable and said, “We don’t recruit because we always have an applicant to fill the position.”

Coach Malzahn and Coach Saban would not want their recruiters to think this way–all we need to do is fill the position. The coach of this HR director, the president of the college, likely did not know he had a problem so fundamental that when they continue to get less than stellar results he will not even know why.

I encouraged this HR director to take the lead as recruiting the “human capital” the institution needs. And, I offered, this could change his professional title from director to vice president by operating at a higher level bringing senior leadership to the table needed by the president. Unfortunately, he seemed to feel little motivation for doing more than post positions and fill them. The key reason, when the president hired the HR director, he did not state his need for this process. So, the president didn’t even realize he had a problem and the gap continued. This happens when well-intentioned managers do what everyone else is doing without making processes better. If that college president becomes aware of what true fan means and buys in, the HR director will be educated and he will continue to do his job–though at a higher level–he does not know his beliefs are holding his institution back.

If our college coaches operated like this college administrator and stopped recruiting talent and attitude, relying only on reviewing applications and resumes, how long do you think it would take to lose the title of national champion? You probably agree, one to four years.

In employee and student-athlete development, the goal is not to “fill” the position but rather to attract and recruit the best persons we possibly can with a sense of purpose and ability to share and advance our mission. Recruitment is an act of leadership when a professional believes in the mission enough to call someone with potential to invite him to learn of the mission and explore joining it. Like with a star athlete, envision and communicate how he can contribute and how you can help her develop for success with your team.

Do you want the coach of your favorite team to recruit talent or wait for applications?

If you lead a school, college, corporation, or another organization that seeks to excel, learn the HR process your institution uses to hire talent and ask the team to outline the best process they recommend for helping you attract those with callings and character that match the mission. You likely will see gaps to improve.

This could lead to helping your team go to the next level and operate more like a champion. Some of the people you need may not apply for a position though may receive a call. We need a paradigm shift in this area of HR and once done, the staff will like it better and be proud of their results, in addition to alumni and other fans.

Opportunities for You as a True Fan

If a parent/grandparent, the next time you hear your coach speak of the importance of processes and goals, you can discuss applications with the child or friend watching with you. Offer an example of what you plan to do and ask what they can do to implement coach’s advice.

If a leader in an organization or mentor to young professionals or emerging leaders, connect the advice you hear with what you will do. Employees sometimes spend time “talking sports” at work though this way they will more likely discuss how we can implement the processes taught by their favorite coach that can boost plans and performance.

Your loved one likely has opportunities and challenges not yet spoken to you. If you inspire him or her to outline mission and vision, goals and actions, with options to problems, you will help your child or associate have a better chance at purpose, success, and joy.

If you are a leader in a school or college, community, or church who wants to discuss implementation of concepts introduced here, I welcome your contact because it is part of my calling to help you help students and true professionals get more of what they need sooner in life. or 205-422-6484. If you like reading writings like this, I invite you to subscribe to this journal on WordPress and follow Dr. David Dyson on Facebook.



See it, Plan it, Do it even when you Fear

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Positive Action

If you fear not being able to do something that could improve life for you and others, before you instinctively decide to wait, outline a plan for how you could succeed if you improved your capacities to “be, know, and do”–more often you will see that you could succeed if you took action and persisted with courage.


Compassion can be Developed

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.

If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

Sample actions we could take to develop more compassion:

For the Social Area of Life, write a goal or vision statement for your best-self, such as,

When feeling disappointed in another, I pause, remember what I value in this person, and either give him “benefit of the doubt” or seek to understand what challenge has kept her from keeping a promise. If I offer empathy at a time she may feel pain, I can build trust instead of react to his reaction to pain creating a new situation for which I should ask forgiveness.


In cowboy terms, when my horse acts badly, there’s usually a horse fly or something else causing the problem–the action is not toward me, I am just in the way. Before I react, I should decide what’s the source of the problem and then help my horse with the horse fly or, if it is bad behavior, turn this into a training opportunity.