If earning financial freedom were easy, everybody would do it. The fact is, obtaining financial security requires working through difficult challenges.
These challenges might come in the form of the small, daily discipline of tracking your spending to better pay off debt. Or your first challenge might be slaying the debt dragon so you can save more later. Or your challenge might be deciding what to do with a huge raise or unexpected windfall.
Regardless, resilience keeps you working towards your goal. Even when you want to blow windfall money on a fabulous vacation. Or stop paying extra on your debts so you can buy a new car instead. Whatever the challenge, resilience keeps you working through it to your end goal.
Life is difficult. This is the great truth, one of the greatest truths – it is a great truth because once we see this truth, we transcend it – M. Scott Peck
To avoid pain is to basically deny our potential. We can’t develop resilience without experiencing pain and suffering. Resilience is about perspective and embracing reality—deliberately pounding away at the boundaries of your comfort zone in pursuit of your dreams and causes greater than yourself.
Simply put, by choosing adversity over mediocrity, we can overcome obstacles and pave the way to an intentional life. When we understand cause and effect—the consequences of our behaviour—we can grow and move forward. Our success therefore is dependent on our ability to observe, learn, and grow. To do so, we need to be clear about our values.
Values help you know what winning looks like. Essentially, any action or choice should clearly fit within your value lane markers. You need to ask yourself what you are willing to do to live by those values and, even more importantly, what you are unwilling to do to avoid deviation.
Values remove temptations by informing us what habits are worth cultivating.
When working towards our goals, we must remove anything that stands in the way of it. Remove every opportunity for temptation and distraction—any obstacle or competing priority. Maintain total mission focus.
Temptation is just a reality of life. Without it, there would be no such thing as willpower. Life will test you on a regular basis. Only focus on what’s in your immediate control. Ignore everything else.
Maintaining focus on what is in our control and ignoring (or at least deprioritising) everything else is a core tenant of the growth mindset and applies equally in achieving goals and overcoming obstacles in our personal, professional and financial lives.
Choose wisely what you suffer for because nothing of any real significance happens to people who linger in the status quo. The discipline of excellence starts with a commitment to answering simple questions, regularly – “What will I do today that will help me get better at what I do?” and “What did I do today that has made me better at what I need to do?”
So often we define our lives by the big events. Graduation, marriage, children, a big promotion, and retirement are some of the milestones that many of us remember (or will remember) as defining moments in our lives.
What often gets neglected, however, are the little things we do daily that make the big events possible. It’s what we “repeatedly do” that produces excellence. So, when it comes to money and wealth, what do you repeatedly do?
“Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle.
You can’t reduce financial freedom and security to a simple formula. But, like excellence in any other area, financial excellence is a result of our everyday habits.
There are no secrets to creating wealth, only habits and behaviours you need to learn to successfully implement the action steps that will take you from where you are today to wealth tomorrow.
Below are 4 wealth building habits to learn and practicing if you’re serious about financial independence.
- Pay yourself first – No matter what income you are generating, you should be paying yourself first. That is, saving a percentage away in an investment account before anything else (and yes, this means before paying any bills).
- Spend less than you make – Something that probably should be a no brainer, but it’s so easy to fall into this trap. A great way to build wealth, even without a big salary, is to spend way less than you make. The challenge is our society gets wrapped up in social signalling; instant gratification and consuming things to keep up appearances. People who are wealthy never spend more than they make. There are always temptations to spend, but if you are on your own path to wealth, you always need to spend less than you make. Easy concept, but not always easy to practice.
- Surround yourself with successful people – Excellence is an environment, so is mediocrity. Choose carefully where you invest your time. The people you surround yourself with have an impact on your mindset to building wealth. Associating with like-minded people, who are interested in investing, finances, and may be high earners can motivate you more than you realise. This doesn’t mean you need to drop your current friends (unless they are toxic to your life), but network with people you can learn from. Find people that motivate you to have good wealth building habits and can be a mentor to your decisions.
- Be Consistent – I think it’s probably the most important thing on the list. It’s also one of the hardest. It’s not enough to get something right once, or to make a smart money move on occasion. You must make good decisions and stick to positive actions every day. Stick to your budget, pay off your debt, invest for the future. You don’t get to take time off from caring about your finances and doing the work to create your own wealth. The more consistent you are with the financial choices you make, the more likely you will be to succeed in your goals and go from wondering how to become rich to actually being rich.
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