Taking action to change your finances
“No one is going to come to your house and make your dreams come true. That’s your job.” – Grant Cardone
Any time that my job involves large amounts of long-distance driving (and there’s no crazy winter weather) it makes me happy. This is partly because I really enjoy driving, but it’s mostly because I’m an avid reader and long car trips mean I can get through at least one audiobook along the way. Recently, I drove about 1500km over three days and spent most of my time behind the wheel listening to “The 10x Rule” by Grant Cardone.
Like a lot of books that have impacted me, the premise of Grant’s book is simple but has the potential to be hugely effective. In a nutshell, he believes that in order to be successful, we have to think bigger, set bigger goals and take massive action to achieve them. Most people wouldn’t argue with his logic but plenty of people will be very quick to tell you why they can’t do it. So, before your excuse machine kicks into autopilot and starts reminding you that you don’t have enough time, money, education, support, etc. let me walk you through one of my “a-ha” moments from the book and then take a minute to ask yourself what type of action taker you are and whether you’re content to continue at that level. I’m relating each type to finances, but it could just as easily be applied to other life areas such as fitness, career or relationships. What is your commitment to taking action to change your finances?
Action type 1: Do nothing
Believe it or not, even doing nothing takes some effort and there are plenty of people out there working very hard at staying in the same place. From a financial perspective, if you’re not where you want to be and you’re doing nothing to change it then there’s a really good chance that 5 years from now, you’ll be in exactly the same place. When we do nothing, we put most of our energy into ignoring the consequences of our inaction and coming up with excuses for not putting in the effort. Often we surround ourselves with people who are also comfortable doing nothing so that our situation feels “normal”. So, if you’re not earning enough, saving enough or paying off enough debt, and you have several very good reasons why now is not the right time to do something about it, then I challenge you to surf over to daveramsey.com and watch some of the people doing their ‘debt-free scream’ and telling their stories. What they achieved is what happens when you finally lose the excuses and commit to doing something to improve your situation.
Action type 2: retreating
In many ways, retreating is worse than doing nothing. Retreating is a fear-based response and basically involves backing away from anything that might move you away from where you are right now. I’ve mentioned before in other posts that the human brain is designed to protect us from pain. This is good when it comes to things like hot stoves and shark-infested oceans but not so useful when it comes to backing away from change and the big, scary “unknown”.
Retreaters worry so much about the potential negative consequences of their actions (if I get rich it will be a lot of responsibility) and what other people think of them (if I make a change then people will laugh at/criticize/dislike me) that they deliberately scale back their efforts to avoid moving forward. This means that they avoid taking any action to change their situation, even if that situation is less than desirable. They convince themselves that there’s nothing they can do to change things and that they don’t deserve any better and then resign themselves to becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. If this is you and you want to break out of the cycle, then I challenge you to look for proof that your negative beliefs are wrong rather than proof that they’re right.
Search for stories of ordinary people who built extraordinary levels of success rather than stories of people who crashed and burned. Look for examples of successful people who were hit with obstacle after obstacle on their path to success and recognize that those obstacles are what strengthened them not what destroyed them. Dilute your fears and turn them into something that fuels you not something that paralyzes you and find people who see your potential and challenge yourself to see yourself through their eyes, rather than from your own negative perspective. You may be surprised at how drastically your world changes.
Action type 3: Being average
This action type can also be defined as “settling” or sticking with the status quo. Cardone defines average as “less than extraordinary” and points out that, on the surface, there’s nothing obviously ‘wrong’ with this level of action, after all, it’s the level that 95% of people operate at. It’s the ‘socially acceptable’ level that keeps us in line with the crowd: average earning, average saving, average debt-load. However, if settling for average leaves you feeling like there’s something missing, then it’s time to step up and adopt the characteristics of the fourth action type.
Action type 4: Playing full-out
Note that there are no half measures here; no intermediate step between settling for average and committing to becoming extraordinary. This is an ‘all or nothing’ action type. There are no half measures, no baby steps, no gentle slope from the shallow end of the pool to the open water. If you’re in the 3% of people who are taking massive action then you’re tackling your goals with an intensity that is intimidating but deeply inspiring. The people who are playing full-out aren’t fearless but they play through the fear because not reaching their goals just isn’t an option. They know that the path to their goal isn’t simple, they know that they will encounter obstacles but they have a deep-rooted belief that no matter what life throws at them, they will have the ability to overcome it.
From a financial perspective, playing full-out means having clear cut goals for your financial future and doing what it takes to accomplish them. No matter whether it’s eliminating debt, taking control of your finances or building massive wealth, life is too short to play small. If you don’t like your situation, then it lies within your abilities to change it. It’s all about taking action to change your finances. If having more money would let you have more or do more for others, then there’s no reason why you can’t start from exactly where you are and move yourself to somewhere better. In the words of Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” If taking action would change your life for the better, then I strongly encourage you to read “10x” by Grant Cardone and let it inspire you to play full-out. What is your commitment to taking action to change your finances?