Aladdinís Lamp
The Power of Self-Motivation, Goals, and Time Management


by Brent R. Evans


The Story of the Lamp and Two Key Questions


When I was a beggarly boy,
And lived in a cellar damp,
I had not a friend nor a toy,
But I had Aladdinís lamp ...
(James Russel Lowel)



Who are You?  What Do You Want?
  Answer these two questions and magic becomes possible.  
What are your three wishes?  You can have anything you want, but you canít have everything you want.
  You must choose what you want.  That is part of free agency.  To neglect choosing is to plan losing.  
Motivation Requires Ability to Live in the Present and Project Time Toward the Future.
  Time is another word for life.  The two are inseparable.  You have life as you have time.  You have time as you have life.  Valuing time is valuing life.  How you spend your time today will determine the quality of your life not only today, but in the future as well.  As a Chinese proverb put it: The flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.  Look at the word motivation.  Notice the motive (goal) in the first part and if you add a c in the last part you have action.  Motivation involves action toward goals.  Goals involve what is desired in the future, and point the way to what is personally successful to you.  So, enjoy today.  Put it to good use.  Do today what will get you the tomorrow of your choice.  

For yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today, well lived,
Makes every Yesterday
A dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope


The Importance of the Simple Line on a Headstone.
  Your life on earth is important to you and others.  Each day is a glorious gift to be opened with great expectations and appreciation. 

The Line Between

by Ralph Daniel


Interment services were over now.

All had left and I was alone.

I began to read the names and dates

Chiseled there on every stone.

The names showed whether it was Mom or Dad,

Or daughter or baby son.

The dates were different, but the amount the same

There were two dates on every one.


It was then that I noticed something -

It was just a simple line.

It was a dash between those dates,

And placed there, it stood for time.

All at once it dawned on me,

How important that little line!

The dates there belonged to God,

But that line  ---  is yours and mine!


Itís God who gives this precious life,

And God who takes away.

But that line between, He gives to us

To do with what we may.

We know Godís written the first date down

Of each and every one.

And we know those hands will write again,

For the last date has to come.


We know Heíll write that last date down

Quite soon, we know, for some.

But upon the line between my dates

I hope Heíll write: ďWell done!Ē

  Mortal life is finite (it has an end), and is therefore an excellent condition to learn how to prioritize and choose what has more value over what has less value.  
The Power of Goals, Choices, and Commitment.
  You can live your life by chance and accident, or you can choose what you want.  When you do so, tremendous powers come to your assistance to make it come true.  
How with Goal Power 3% of Yale graduates outperformed the other 97% all together.
  A study in 1953 found that only 3% of the students graduating from Yale that year had written goals and specific plans for reaching them.  Twenty years later, the 3% who had written goals were earning more money as a group than the entire other 97%.  Written goals are found to be a powerful force in study after study of successful people.  Mother Teresa, for example, led a somewhat ordinary life teaching fairly well to do students in Italy, until one day she came across a dying woman.  The woman was poor, and the hospitals Mother Teresa took her to would not accept her.  She took the woman home, and the woman died later that night.  Mother Teresa vowed then that she would do everything she could to prevent anyone from dying alone and neglected.  She obtained her mission in life.  Martin Luther King, Jr. declared to the nation, I have a dream ... and with the power of that dream changed a nation.  Patanjali in India two or three centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ wrote:  
  When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds; Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world.  Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.  

The Twenty-Five Powers of Aladdinís Lamp

1. Goals Enable You to Get What You Really Want.  Wishes Wonít.

Show a copy of the book, Treasure Island, and review the fact that it is a story about search for treasure.  Then read the following quotation by the author, Robert Louis Stevenson:

An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding;
and it is not to be found in foreign lands,
but in the heart itself.

Take a bag, and place nineteen red chips and one yellow chip in it.  The yellow chip is to represent something you really want, and the red chips just passing wishes.  Each participant takes out one chip by chance without looking to see if he would get what he really wants or just a wish.  That is about the chance of getting what you really want without goals. 

2. Goals & Commitments Enlarge Your Capacity and Build Your Brain to Fit.

Your brain was designed to adapt to the environment.  That is why 80% of the cortex is uncommitted at birth.  In life, we literally program our brains to meet the needs, opportunities, and problems we encounter.  It is well known that a young child has an easier time learning a new language than an adult does.  This is because his or her cortex is just developing.  The same is true regarding the importance of early exposure to good music or great art in making it easier to develop those talents later.  Even later in life, however, new connections and pathways are continually being made among brain neurons as we learn new information and develop new skills.  Part of the awkward stage we feel when we are learning or doing something new is related to the time needed to physically make these new connections in the brain.  At first a new task or skill is slow and awkward, but then as those pathways are developed, they become smooth and easy.

Video Series - The Brain: Our Universe Within

3. Effective Use of Your Conscious Mind Gives You Better Choices of How You Use Your Time.  This Means an Increase in Quality of Life.
  It is easy to demonstrate this in your own life, and in the lives of others.  Take a few minutes and write a list of those things most important to you in life.  Things so important that at the end of your life you would want to be able to say, I did it!  Go through the list and prioritize them.  What are your three highest priorities?  Now, how much time during the last several weeks have you deliberately worked to achieve each of those three priorities?  A great principle is that something less important should never crowd out those things most important.  But guess what?  Unless you have identified your priority goals or values and deliberately manage your time, they most always do!

Your conscious mind is often compared to a working shelf space that has to be cleared and recleared often.  Because your conscious mind (short-term working memory) is limited to 7 + or - 2 items of information at one time, your most important wishes and desires may be out of mind for weeks, months, or years at a time.  Written goals & written plans to reach them can be referred to each day as you make choices on how to spend your time.

4. Goals Enable You to Use the Unlimited, Super-Powers of Your Sub-Conscious Mind.

In contrast to your conscious mind (short-term working memory), your sub-conscious mind (long-term working memory) is unlimited.  It can work on an infinite number of things at one time, is at work 24-hours a day, and actually grows in capacity the more we put into it.  It is like a magic suitcase in which the more you put into it, the more you can put into it.  It is super powerful, but must be directed by clear, positive, and confident goals or expectations to be used effectively.  Albert Einstein worked long and hard developing his theories, but did you know that his most important ones were almost invariably thought of when he wasnít working on them?  They came from his subconscious, sometimes when he was taking a walk, doing some other unrelated activity, and more than once first came to him in a dream.  The great composer, Frederick Handel, had the entire music of The Messiah appear in his mind in an instant and then spent 23 days and nights with almost no food or rest to get it written down.  He felt The Messiah was a gift from God that was given to him in his mind to be shared with others.  He would take no money for its performances.  His share of all money received for Messiah performances was donated to the foundling hospital in London.  The Greek Scientist Archimedes made one of his great scientific discoveries as he was just sitting in his bath.  He got so excited about it he jumped up and ran through the streets yelling, Eureka (I Got It!)  Many other great men write of similar experiences.  You have probably had some of these yourself.  Suddenly, an idea or solution comes to you of such depth and clarity that you can hardly believe you thought of it.  It was like going beyond your own ability.

The Power of the Spirit.   (Inspiration & Intuition)

5. If You Know Where You Want to Go, You Can Take the Shortest Route to Get There.  You Donít Have to Endure the Waste of Going Around and Around in Circles.

Imagine yourself getting in a car and start driving, but have nowhere in particular to go.  Do you know that people lost in a forest usually walk in circles?  They have no definite direction or specific goal (other than a general desire to get out of there), so they wind up getting no place.  That is why a lost person is often advised just to stay put.  No reason to waste energy if you have no clear direction. 

Also, if you donít know what you really want, how would you ever recognize it even if it were within easy reach? 

Even if only a passenger on a subway trains,
we need to know our destination or we will miss it.
(Author unknown)

6. Goals Provide Corrective Feedback So We Can Keep on a Success Course.

A fascinating sight is to see a rocket sent off into space, perhaps having a distant planet as its objective.  Did you know that the reason it is able to travel with such accuracy is there are constant comparisons being made between the decided upon objective and the current position and trajectory of the rocket?  Literally millions of adjustments are made before the rocket ship finally reaches its target.  That is what goals can do for you.  They give you the power to compare your target with your current position and pathway so you can make the needed adjustments to make your success certain

One winter in a place where snow covered the ground, a parent and a child decided to have a contest as to who could walk the straightest path through the snow to a tree some distance away.  The child tried very carefully to see that each step was in a straight line, but was dismayed to see how crooked the resulting pathway turned out to be.  The parent, however, instead of looking down at each step kept focus on the tree, and therefore easily won the contest.

7. The Power of Imitation and Play.
  Have you ever had the experience of being in contact with a person who laughed a certain way, and found yourself somewhat later laughing the same way?  You didnít take laughing lessons; it was just picked up.  It seemed to take no effort, and yet if someone tried to teach you how to laugh a certain way you would find it difficult and laborious.  You might even give up after a few frustrated attempts.  Parents have seen this quite often as their children pick up mannerisms from their friends.  All of this is evidence of the power of the subconscious to learn with seemingly little effort when there are models available from which to learn.  Watch a child at play, especially creative play.  Imitation and play are basic, natural ways of learning.  
8. Goals Organize the Information and Resources You Need.
  Take a phone book.  The reason a phone book exists is that people have a frequent goal to look up someoneís phone number or address.  What if that goal did not exist?  There would be no need to organize peopleís phone numbers according to alphabetical order and the cities in which they are located.  When goals are determined, then significant information and resources are organized according to the goal.  The clearer the goals, the better information and resources can be organized.  Go to a travel agency and say you want your house cleaned.  They would give you a puzzled look and then tell you they donít deal with that kind of information.  Say you want to take a trip, and they will pay more interest to you, but will still want your goals to be clearer.  To where do you want to take a trip?  What do you want to be able to do on your trip?  How much money do you want to invest in the trip?  Try an experiment.  Write a goal important to you.  Then notice how resources start being organized.  
9. Goals Enable You to Learn the Skills and Develop the Strategies Most Needed for Your Success.  Goals Create Needed Readiness and Ideal Conditions for Learning.
  Goals help identify the prerequisites you need to achieve them.  It is like breaking a long distance into simple steps.  You become extra motivated to learn those things that can help you get closer to achieving your goal.  Your concentration and clarity of mind reach higher levels.  Learning becomes easier and what you learn lasts longer.   
10. Goals Identify Obstacles So They Can be Solved, Removed, or Gone Around.
  Obstacles become visible only in relation to goals.  The Rocky Mountains were not an obstacle to the pioneers until they wanted to settle the Far West.  It is not that without goals, obstacles donít stop us from getting what we want. It is just that they are not visible (or in some cases magnified beyond reason) when we do not have fixed goals.  It is important to know what obstacles are that exist in relationship to your goals because dealing with those obstacles becomes the basis of your success plan.  
11. Goals Create Conditions for Fun.
  It is like having goal posts in a football game.  Imagine playing without them.  Or how about playing a card game that has no objective.  I put down a jack, and you put down a 3, and I put down a 2, and you put down a .Ö  
12. Goals Make it Possible to Use Powerful Goal-Setting and Achieving Tools That Have Been Invented Over the Years to Help Us Get What We Want.

All of these tools become available and act as your personal servants when you decide what your goals are.

Examples of a few of the tools: goal-planning steps, brainstorming, win/win problem solving, action planning,  s-t-p (situation/target/plans), force-field analysis, heuristics, positive imagery, and affirmations.

13. Goals Create Alertness to Opportunities and Resources You Had No Idea Existed.  It is Like Setting Out a Magic Net.
  The opportunities and resources that seem to rush to your aid when you decide on clear goals and make a commitment to reach them will amaze you.  This phenomenon so impressed people centuries ago that an ancient proverb declared, When the student is ready, the teacher will come.  
14. Goals Generate the Power of Persistent, Consistent Effort.
  What if somebody bet you a million dollars you couldnít bowl five strikes in a row?  Take the bet if a time limit isnít put on it because regardless of your current bowling ability you will eventually make five strikes in a row given enough tries.  It may take hundreds of games, but it will happen if you continue to try long enough.  Often, great things happen an inch at a time.  At first, no one may notice what is happening, but sometime later it becomes obvious.  A person picks up a violin and starts practicing.  At first, it appears hopeless that anything good can come of it.  But years later, audiences are thrilled with the beautiful music.  You remember the story of the Tortoise and the Hare?  Even a slow runner can win with consistent effort.  
15. Goals Make it Possible for Other People to Help You.  They Come to Your Aid.
  You are not using all your strength, an observing Dad said to his young son as the boy tried valiantly but unsuccessfully to move a heavy log in order to clear a pathway to his favorite hideout.  How can that be, Dad, I am trying as hard as I can? replied the boy The Dad answered with a smile, Because you havenít asked me to help.  Just as this story points out, we are each otherís strength.  When people know what you want to achieve, it then becomes possible for them to add their strength to yours.  

All Have a Share
(Author unknown)


All have a share in the beauty

All have a share in the plan;

What does it matter what duty

Falls to the lot of man?


Someone must blend the plaster

And someone must carry the stone;

Neither the man nor the master

Ever has builded alone.


Making a roof from the weather

Or building a house for a king,

Only by working together have men

Ever accomplished a thing.

16. Goals Unleash the Power of Synergy and the Mastermind.
  At one time it was thought the mastermind was so powerful it must be mystical or supernatural.  The secret of creating a mastermind is to gather a group of people who without conflict share and work together toward an identified goal.  Thomas Edison gathered together a team of inventors who worked together with such synergy that they astounded and the world with their numerous inventions.  Edison did not do the things he is credited for by himself; it was the result of the mastermind he was able to create.  Before he could unleash the tremendous power that changed all of our lives to the better, he had to have goals.  Goals also create bonding among those who share them.  Great and meaningful relations are established with others as we work together toward common goals.  
17. Goals Combined with Belief Energize Your Life.
  Enthusiasm means God in us!  Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm, and you canít have enthusiasm without goals.  Goals create energy, and energy gives a zest to life.  
18. Goals Give You the Chance to Be a Hero in Your Own Life.
  Consider a play or a movie.  In order to be interesting, there has to be a goal to be achieved or a problem to be solved.  Enter the main character, the hero who makes everything turn out right.  And guess what?  It is you!  

Great it is to believe the dream

When we stand in youth by the starry stream;

But a greater thing is to fight life through

And say at the end, ďThe dream was true.Ē

(Edwin Markham)

19. Goals Create Opportunities for Serendipity.
  Good things happen as if by chance.  Things you never thought about and never predicted.  They are often not even related to what you first intended.  They just happen because of the movement you made toward your goals.  
20. Goals Create the Conditions for Flow and Joy to Happen.

It is called flow when you are totally involved and challenged in an activity.  Many psychologists now say flow is the basis of joy and happiness in life.

If the Almighty held in his right hand everlasting happiness
and in His left the pursuit of it, I would choose the left hand

Goals create the conditions for flow to occur as a regular part of your life.

21. Goals Help You Develop Greater Intelligence and Positive Character Traits.
  The very actions you take in reaching your goals also increase your intelligence and develop your character.  You learn how to solve one problem, and that gives you the know-how to solve other problems.  You persist on striving for a goal, and so you develop the quality of perseverance in your character.  And on it goes.  
22. Goals Put Your Imagination to Good Use.

Day and night dreaming about what we want is a very pleasant activity, and helps us make those dreams reality.

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.   (Gautama Buddha)

The most interesting people are the people with the most interesting pictures in their minds.   (Earl Nightingale)

Imagination is like a telescope.  It enables us to see opportunity long before it would otherwise come into view.  (M.E.)

23. Goals Put the Habit Genie to Work for You Instead of You Working for the Habit Genie.

I Am Habit


It is mighty hard to shake me;

In my brawny arms I take thee;

I can either make or break thee;

 I am Habit!


Through each day I slowly mold thee;

Soon my tightening chains enfold thee;

Then it is with ease I hold thee:

 I am Habit!


I can be both good and vile;

I can eíer be worth your while;

Or the cause of your sore trial;

I am Habit!


Oft Iíve proved myself a pleasure;

Proved myself a priceless treasure,

Or a menace past all measure;

I am Habit!


Harmless though I sometimes seem, yet

My strange force is like a magnet;

Like a great and greedy dragnet;

I am Habit!


Though you sometimes fear or doubt me,

No one yet has lived without me;

I am present all about thee;

I am Habit!


Choose me well when you are starting;

Seldom is an easy parting;

Iím a devil or a darling!

I am Habit!

   (Author unknown)

24. You Will Make a Difference in Other Peopleís Lives.

Song of Life

by Charles MacKay


A traveler on a dusty road

   Strewed acorns on the lea;

And one took root and sprouted up,

  And grew into a tree.

Love sought its shade at evening time,

   To breathe its early vows;

And age was pleased, in heights of noon,

   To bask beneath its boughs.

The dormouse loved its dangling twigs,

   The birds sweet music bore -

It stood a glory in its place,

   A blessing evermore.


A little spring had lost its way

   Amid the grass and fern;

A passing stranger scooped a well

   Where weary men might turn.

He walled it in, and hung with care

   A ladle on the brink;

He thought not of the deed he did,

    But judged that Toil might drink.

He passed again; and lo! the well,

   By summer never dried,

Had cooled ten thousand parched tongues,

   And saved a life beside.


A nameless man, amid the crowd

   That thronged the daily mart,

Let fall a word of hope and love,

   Unstudied from the heart,

A whisper of the tumult thrown,

    A transitory breath,

It raised a brother from the dust,

   It saved a soul from death.

O Germ! O fount! O word of love!

   O thought at random cast!

Ye were but little at the first,

    But mighty at the last.

25. The Greatest Reward of All.  You Become the Best of What Your Goals Make You.

Why Build these cities glorious

If man unbuilded goes?

In vain we build the world, unless

The builder also grows.

(Edwin Markham)


What you are to be you are now becoming.   (Cameron Beck)

All your great and beautiful goals and dreams become a part of you.

A Small Child
by John Magliola

A small child
Looked at a star
And began to weep.
The Star said
Why are you weeping?
And the child said
You are so far away
I will never be able
To touch you
The Star answered
If I were not already in your heart
You would not be able to see me.



Brent Evans is an educator, researcher, author, speaker, and success coach.  He was an educational consultant for the Quaker Oats Company for a number of years and created the Life Cereal Learning Program for families and the King Vitaman Program for children in the 1980's.  He has studied the development of intelligence in children and adults intensively since 1966 and has written books on boosting intelligence, time management and motivation, and positive character development.

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