How developing a definite chief aim has changed my life

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You may have heard the term “definite chief aim” before. Best to my knowledge, it comes from Napoleon Hill.

What is a definite chief aim? It is a singleness of purpose. It is about finding a burning desire, a dream or a goal that propels you to action. Just thinking about it gets you excited.

The Transience of Definite Chief Aims

I don’t know if I’m correct in thinking this way, but I have often thought of chief aims as transient things.

What I mean by that is that it’s good to think about big-picture goals or things you want to accomplish in your lifetime, but those big goals can feel out of reach; especially if you’re starting from scratch. I have found it worthwhile to obsess over smaller goals; things that seem immediately within my grasp.

When I was first introduced to the concept of the chief aim, I was excited out of my mind. There were a lot of things I wanted to see come to pass in my life, but I knew the importance of focusing on one thing until it actually manifested.

I was having trouble financially at the time, so I always thought about being lifted from that financial pressure. I prayed and thought about getting windfalls and checks in the mail, and I imagined my debt being cancelled.

Within a couple of months, I had a phone call. It was someone in the mortgage industry, and they asked me if I had considered refinancing. I knew nothing about refinancing, nor did I know that it was an option.

Long story short I decided to refinance, and my financial pressures were temporarily relieved. It did not happen in the manner I thought it would. But it satisfied my desire at the time. I felt free to focus on a new singular purpose.

One of the important points of this story is that the solution came out of left field. It was not how I imagined the problem getting solved, but it nevertheless gave me the same feelings I was feeding to my subconscious mind through my imagination. When the solution presented itself, I had spent significant time imagining it, such that I had already experienced the feelings of having it before I ever did.

The other important point is that the solution presented itself in a manner other than what I had imagined. The universe can see what we don’t see. There are always multiple answers to any problem.

I do want to go on record to say that this was not a long-term solution for my financial woes. It worked out for a while, but ultimately I had to sell my house to experience true freedom from my monetary burdens.

But to say that short-term solutions are inconsequential would be arrogant. To say that selling my house was a loss would be short-sighted. When you truly believe that everything works together for your good, you begin to develop a new framework for your reality. I believe these events did work out in my favor.

Rotating My Chief Aim

I will be honest; I have since had trouble focusing on any singular desire, and that’s not for a lack of trying. Either I have felt “blocked” (which is usually an indicator that your chief aim is not in the “sweet spot”), or I just couldn’t get myself to feel excited about the goal.

As I had alluded to earlier, there is a sense of contentment that comes with the fulfillment of a desire; even if the manifestation isn’t exactly what you expected it would be.

For example, I have had a computer monitor up on my vision board for a long time. I recently read a book that talked about using three monitors for the sake of productivity. So, I decided to go out and buy two more monitors for myself.

But instead of buying two brand new displays, I decided to search the classifieds and check out pawn shops. I wanted to keep expenses low. Within a short period of time, I had obtained two more computer monitors.

When all was said and done, even though I did not buy the exact brand and model I had up on my board, my desire for a new computer monitor was satiated. I removed the picture from my vision board.

The three display setup was something I obsessed over for a while, because I desired the productivity benefits. $1,000 later, everything is working. I didn’t plan on spending that much. But let’s just say that I ended up having to upgrade more than just my graphics processor. Again, I hold the belief that somehow this will work out in my favor (and so far it has).

Settling on a New Chief Aim

I’ve had a bit of an epiphany lately. I’m not motivated by money.

I’m not saying that I don’t want to make money. I’m not saying that I don’t want lots of money. Quite simply, money alone doesn’t spring me to action.

Truly, it’s what money affords me that gets me excited. The freedom to work on creative projects of my choosing, the freedom to travel and experience life, and more than anything, adding value to others and blessing them. I think I am also motivated by being recognized as an expert and being sought-after for my thoughts and ideas. I’m just being honest.

This is why I’ve been having trouble with my singular purpose. I realized that I was trying to manifest money goals. But in using my imagination, I have had some trouble breathing life into thoughts of getting a big check or seeing a big balance on my computer monitor.

I think that’s a pre-requisite to having a strong chief aim; you must be able to bring it to life in your mind’s eye by seeing it, feeling it, touching it, hearing it, and tasting it. It serves to reason that a dollar figure (which is just represented by numbers) bores the brain.

You may be motivated by money, and focusing on stacks of hundred-dollar bills might get you excited. That’s okay. I just haven’t found that it works for me.


I believe in the power of imagination. I believe that transmitting a powerful desire in thought form can produce astounding results. Like Napoleon Hill says, I think the brain acts as a transmitter and receiver of thoughts, that powerful thoughts held in one’s mind consistently and for long enough continue to circle the ether and get picked up by others. I believe that prayer works in much the same way.

But I also think that continually submitting these thoughts to your subconscious mind can’t help but produce motivation. It literally causes you to take action.

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