The Tricks our Minds Play
The ability to help folks implement plans for their family's prosperity is attributable, in part, to spending a lot of time understanding why I do the things I do. That also encompasses giving careful consideration to why I don't do the things I don't do. And, finally, to behaving accordingly.
What I’ve learned is that my mind likes to play tricks on me. In the past, it seems that the closer I came to implementing some excellent change in my life, such as getting married, opening my own financial planning practice, having children – 4 to be exact – or just switching from some given service to a lower cost provider of equal quality, the more my mind would work to sabotage me.
Here are a couple of examples:
1. Connecting the action I am considering taking to the behavior of a person I don’t like. The thought process looks like this:
"I can't call up my cable TV provider, lower my bill $70 a month and save that money because that's something my cheapskate pal would do and nobody likes him!"
Why did my mind do this? I think it’s because these changes for the better often entail annoying, tedious and sometimes stressful conversations. I think my mind wanted to run away, in a mild sort of fight or flight response.
By giving this some thought, I came to be
able to differentiate behaviors. While skipping out on your friends when it's your turn to buy a round of drinks or pick up the tab makes you a jerk, saving money for yourself and your family by asking an oligopoly to lower its price, or changing services, makes you smart and wealthier.
Tackling tedious, annoying and stressful things simply makes us responsible adults.
2. Viewing a single outcome or result as representative of what is likely to happen in general. I struggled with this one whenever I was about to make a commitment.
I'm embarrassed to admit that in the days leading up to my wedding, I recall thinking about an episode of Forensic Files featuring a wife pouring antifreeze into her husband’s cornflakes and thinking, "Do I really need this?"
Thankfully, my momentary yet ridiculous musings passed. My wife is a special education teacher, an extraordinary mother and the gentlest, most caring person I have ever known.
When I buy a car, somehow I fixate on the one person I know who bought a lemon. Despite the fact that the car I am interested in isn’t the same model, the same manufacturer, or even purchased in the same decade! Come to think of it, I don’t even actually "know" the person who bought a lemon. I just read about them on the Internet.
Why did my mind do this? I think it’s because in the adolescent recesses of my brain, I wanted to believe that inaction represents freedom. My adult mind knows that isn’t true. Willful inaction just represents a different kind of commitment; a commitment to chaos, to denial and to personal and professional atrophy.
Note to self, considering what might go wrong with a course of action is a smart and rational thing to do. However, I must also remind myself what can go wrong by way of a course of inaction. Inaction can cause all manner of things to go wrong. When I think about that, I realize that the likely results of inaction are far less attractive than the action I am considering.
I believe that we all, to a greater or lesser extent, are subject to unwittingly sabotaging ourselves. However, with a little bit of calm reflection, we can clear a path to doing what we need to do. Often, that means making a plan to reach our goals and then acting on that plan.
Responsibly planning and taking action to reach our goals is a good thing.
Scott R. McGimpsey September 3rd, 2017
This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources, however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Summit Brokerage Services Inc. nor Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm with securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC