Many people, particularly those who have never enjoyed material success, get trapped by equating stuff and money to abundance, not realizing that you can always acquire these two. If you doubt this, look at government statistics: 80 percent of today’s millionaires are first generational and of that 80 percent, 80 percent started out in the bottom 20 percent. That was certainly my situation.

As a war orphan from World War II, I spent the first six years of my life in a one-room tarpaper shack on a tenant farm without the benefit of indoor plumbing or electricity. By the time I was 15 I was self-supporting. I had no clue what I wanted, except that I didn’t want to be poor.

Frank Keefer

The military was the answer and it worked for me until the war in Southeast Asia changed my career plans. College and a long climb up the corporate ladder, coupled with an entrepreneurial vent, whetted my appetite for affluence. By the time I was 40 I had achieved my dreams of materialistic abundance: a historic mansion on the hill, diamond studded gold Rolex, and Mercedes sedan, all paid for and debt-free, but at the cost of my life.

How was I able to achieve these things? I had a mindset that success was a foregone conclusion in each venture I participated in. You see, the secret to having it all, is believing that you already do, and I had that belief. I learned that once you honestly and truly know what you want, the universe opens up and graciously provides.

However, until you satisfy your definition of abundance, you will be like a hamster on a treadmill chasing some elusive undefined concept. Once you firmly establish your why and it becomes a mission, then success and abundance are a done deal.

Identify your abundance mindset through goal setting, crystalizing your dreams on paper, and establishing an action plan to reach that level of abundance. This will facilitate the process, as it becomes a contract with yourself. Once you believe your success is a fait accompli, it’s already done.

Soon after I achieved my materialistic goal, some 30 years ago, I realized that time freedom and satisfying my life’s purpose was my true definition of abundance. I could always get money and more stuff, but time, once gone, is gone forever. A life without a purpose of serving a mission greater than oneself is a wasted life, so I made a decision to make a difference in the lives of others.

Life is an exciting journey. Setting and achieving goals is one of our greatest joys. I encourage you to identify what you want out of life-what your definition of success and abundance are—and go for it. Your wants, needs, and desires are not cast in concrete and may evolve over time, as did mine. The key is to identify something now and go for it with the mindset that it is already accomplished, and it will be.

FRANK J. KEEFER is a veteran network marketer and Publisher Emeritus of Networking Times. He is the author of several books, including Reflections of a Master and The Tao of Success.