09/07/2012 02:33 pm ET Updated Nov 07, 2012

Seven Steps to Getting What You Want

Don't we all wish there was some sort of recipe for getting what we want out of life?

In my experience, there is.

Here goes.

(1) Figure out exactly what you want.

(2) Get your heart set on that. Want it so badly it hurts. Want it so much you're embarrassed to admit how much you want it. Want it like a little kid wants something -- with abandon.

(3) Go for it. Be gentle but determined, and stop at nothing in pursuit of your heart's desire.

(4) Live happily ever after, or get your heart broken.

(5) Mark your lessons.

(6) Decide whether you still want what you want, or something else.

(7) Repeat.

The most important step you'll take, as the saying goes, is the first one. The most important part of that step, in my opinion, is to not settle. "Job hunters search for half their vision with half their hearts," says What Color Is Your Parachute? author Dick Bolles, "which is why they fail before they start."

I've been testing Dick's advice for many years, and can report the following...

When I've been so specific about what I wanted it attracted ridicule, the dream was much more likely to come true. It couldn't be just any broadcasting internship, it had to be with this network in this city working for this person. It couldn't be just any literary agent, it had to be this one...

It's common sense, I suppose. Good luck getting what you want if you settle for something else.