As we get older we are supposed to get wiser. Let’s focus on the operative words here, “supposed to.” Unfortunately, just because something is supposed to happen does not mean it will happen. We only grow wiser with age if we choose to embrace wisdom.
When it comes to building wealth, too many of us get caught in a trap of knowing what we are supposed to do, but somehow we do not end up doing it. I think this falls under the category of what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, but don’t quote me.
Lots of us know what we should do. We simply have not found the right way to overcome our clinging to the bad habits we have developed. Principal among those habits is not taking action when we know we should.
We know we should fully plan for the future. We know we should have a will. We know we should map out a set of strategies to see our later lives be well provided for. We know we can find ways to economize, when it comes to our household budgets, without feeling pinched. We know we should carefully assess our tolerance for risk, when it comes to potential opportunities. The list of “know we shoulds” goes on and on.
Yet, with all the things we know we should do, we are often paralyzed by the fear of acting. “What if I make the wrong choice?” we silently worry in our heads. So we become frozen. We become obedient slaves to our own oppressive status quo. We want to change, but we find ourselves too bound by fear and habit to take the first step.
This seems like a good time to invoke the first law of holes. What is the first law of holes you might ask? Well, when you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.
How does this apply to wealth building?
People have the remarkable ability to change. We might have smoked for twenty years and then, realizing the harm it is doing us, quit smoking. We might waste money on memberships and subscriptions we rarely ever use, only to one day enjoy the clarity of mind to say, “I am canceling those things.
In my own life, over the last twenty years I had become all too accustomed to enjoying more than my fair share of cakes, puddings and pies. I am an athlete I told myself. I will burn it off. But the scale did not lie and slowly the pounds crept on. Thankfully, I awoke out of my sugar laden slumber and significantly cut out the junk I was eating. I have lost 20 pounds and have not had a problem keeping it off. And, I am still able to have a treat from time to time. But I had to take action. Just thinking about cutting out the junk was not going to work.
Perhaps, the greatest moment of wisdom we can experience is when we come to understand that we can, indeed, change; that we are the captains of our own ship. It is at that moment that we can come to truly live the words, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
The time is now, for all of us to chart a course for present and future financial success. We work hard for our money and we should plan to take the best course of action for our money to work hard for us. Wealth building is not a process that takes place by itself. We must initiate the process. Now is the time for action.
Scott McGimpsey- March 2016
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