Harrison Barnes has made a name for himself on the basketball court: After being drafted in 2012 by the Golden State Warriors, he helped lead the team to the 2015 NBA title. In 2016, he played for Team USA in the Summer Olympics. That same year, he agreed to a four-year, $95 million deal with the Dallas Mavericks.
But the 26-year-old knows that his basketball career won't last forever, so he is already planning for life off the court. That's part of the reason he sits down with notable leaders in politics, tech, sports and more. For an interview series with The Players' Tribune, Barnes has talked to influencers like Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, Instagram co-founder and CTO Mike Krieger and, most recently, musician John Legend.
And they all have at least one thing in common, he tells CNBC Make It: "From writers to teachers to athletes to entrepreneurs, I think the biggest similarity that they all have is vision. They all had a vision of what they wanted to achieve, what they wanted to be."
"When I do these interviews and talk to all these people, they've already accomplished so much," he continues. "But at the very early stages in their careers or their lives, they had goals and dreams."
Author Tom Corley came to a similar conclusion after surveying hundreds of self-made millionaires on their daily habits. He found that most successful people don't end up at the top accidentally. They make plans.
A full 80 percent of the individuals Corley studied are "obsessed with pursuing goals," he writes in his book, "Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. " They refer to both daily and long-term goals regularly. "I'm here to tell you to avoid putting your ladder on someone else's wall and then spending the best years of your life climbing it," the author adds. "Find your own wall, your own dreams, and your own goals, and pursue them."
The more precise your vision and goals are, the better. Author Steve Siebold, who also studied hundreds of self-made millionaires, concluded in "How Rich People Think, " those who are "middle class have loosely defined goals with flexible deadlines. World class have highly defined goals with do-or-die deadlines."
While Barnes may still have a long and lucrative basketball career ahead of him, he's already working on refining his off-court goals. "I know that I won't be an athlete forever," he tells CNBC Make It. "I have to have a vision of what I want to be afterward."
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