When I was twenty-five years of age I thought that if I ever made it to sixty-five they should take me out and shoot me! Now that I have just celebrated my sixty-fifth birthday I’m not so sure. I think that perhaps we should revisit this when I’m, say, eighty-five. I have learnt that there are some decisions that are worth taking time over and I think shooting me is one of them! So what’s the difference between sixty-five and twenty-five? My answer would be, a little wiser, a little more experienced, a little heavier, a little thinner on top and perhaps a little more tolerant (although my dear wife, Diana, might not agree with that).
Over the weekend, celebrating at The Waldorf Astoria, Diana and I had chance to reflect upon the people we have known, and the people that we know today and we discussed why success seems to be bestowed upon the few and eluded by the many. Success can be applied to many things. Financial, relationships, health amongst others. However, it would seem to me that the one key element to attain success, in any area of life, would be the ability to focus. My observation is that most people drift through life without any real purpose or forethought. Of course, students will focus on completing their examinations and finalising their degrees but once settled in a career an awful lot of people drift through their working life without making any real decisions and end up in retirement wishing that they had done better. Now, of course, there are plenty of exceptions and as you are reading this blog you are probably searching for the elusive key to success or perhaps you are already successful and you should be sharing your ideas. If so, please feel free to comment.
It never ceases to amaze me that most people spend more time planning their holiday than they spend planning their future. Why would someone do that? I think that the answer is that it’s easy. Designing a life plan isn’t easy but it’s relatively simple. One of the tools that I have found to be most helpful is to keep a journal, so you can capture your thoughts and ideas. The physical act of writing seems to crystallise your thoughts and help clear the muddle that sometimes goes on in your head. I’ve never met a real leader who isn’t a good reader and every one of them keeps a journal. My mentor got me into this habit over twenty years ago and guess when I started making some serious money?
As a first step in your life plan it’s essential, in my opinion, to know exactly where you are. You can describe where you are in your relationships, health and family in your journal but for ease I am going to confine my remarks to financial matters. It’s a good idea to describe, in your journal your nett worth. It’s very simple to do. First take a new page and draw a line down the middle and list everything that you own (your assets) and on the other side of the line list everything that you owe (your liabilities). Then simply deduct your liabilities from your assets and the balance will be your nett worth. When I first did this exercise, many years ago, the result was underwhelming! Now, you may have some financial issues that need to be resolved but I would ask you to look further ahead because I don’t believe that anybody leaps out of bed in the morning thinking “Another day, another opportunity, to earn the money to pay the lousy bills”. I just don’t think that this scenario is particularly motivational. I believe that it’s very important to have something inspirational to look forward to. So, somebody says, “If only someone would come by and turn me on!” My question would be, “What if he doesn’t turn up? Inspiration, usually isn’t something that just turns up.
Inspiration has to be searched for. It requires you to make an effort. For you to become inspired requires an ambition to do better. It’s not sufficient to make enough money to pay the lousy bills. To experience life to the full requires you to be financially free so you can meet your obligations and then you can seek the experiences that your inspiration will drive you to. True inspiration will have you getting up early, going to bed late and being excited by the promise of tomorrow. No matter what obstacles are put in front of you, as an inspired person you will find your way around, over or through any obstacle in your path. Pouring the effort on in a focussed manner will have you making progress in a measurable time frame.
Inspiration can be found by dreaming! The problem is that generally adults have the ability to dream knocked out of them as they become older. To find true inspiration it’s often necessary to learn to dream like a child where all things are possible without any self limitations. Please don’t misunderstand me that I’m asking you to ignore your financial duties to yourself, family and loved ones but f you start to work towards your dreams then any financial issues tend to be resolved through your own common sense.
I think it’s hard to become financially independent working for somebody else (job) as your remuneration is controlled by others and is usually beyond your control. Therefore, you need to be in control of how you generate your income. That’s the beauty of our opportunity as it allows you to work full-time on your job and part-time on your fortune. It’s governing and balancing the time that’s important. That’s why it’s essential to design a life plan. If you don’t have your own plan, it’s highly likely that you will fit in someone else’s plan and guess what they have planned for you. It’s probably not a lot!
Until my next post…. Toodleoo!