“To be always ready a man must be able to cut a knot, for everything cannot be untied.” – Henri Frederic Amiel (Journal, June 15, 1851)

One of the fundamental principles of the ETR system for setting and accomplishing goals is the idea that if you want to be absolutely sure of succeeding, you must be willing to put one of your four life goals ahead of the other three.

For example, let’s say your four goals are to stay healthy, become a great guitar player, create a net worth of $5 million, and be considered the world’s best parent. You want — and you should want — to accomplish all four goals. And if you follow our system, you will have a very good chance of accomplishing all of them. These are your top four priorities. You work on them before everything else. You work on them consistently. You pursue them with passion and focus.

But let’s say that one of those goals is truly a top priority for you. Let’s say that you absolutely, positively want to become a great guitar player.

If that were the case, I’d advise you — as I have — to put that on top of your four-item, life-goal list and draw a big, bold line underneath it. Do that and make yourself a promise that you will sacrifice everything else — including your other three goals — to achieve that first one.

This is the only way you can be sure (at least as sure as it’s possible to be) of becoming a great guitarist.

History is full of stories of great musicians, poets, businessmen, and politicians who accomplished one great thing at the cost of almost everything else — other intellectual interests, personal relationships, and even their health.

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