Financial Fertility vs. Investment Impotence
Action Beats Inaction
This article is the 13th of a 14-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly.
Three years ago, I was a different woman. I was recently divorced, I had no savings, retirement or otherwise. I was starting over from zero because of my impotent goals coupled with the fact that I had just gone through a divorce. I was over $185,000 in debt. I just began speaking again and writing books. I spent my free time on my bicycle to free my mind, find clarity and discovered this is where I find my greatest inspiration, honesty with others and myself, it is where I find humble through my strengthened relationship with God.
Let’s fast-forward to today. I have an amazing life living my dreams. I’m out of debt. I have more than $20,000 in emergency savings, I max out my retirement accounts every year, and I make more than I ever have in my life. Best of all, I earn my money doing something I love: helping others to find their passion and discover new ways to achieve it. My work is meaningful; it helps other people while I’m helping myself.
What changed? Well, to put it bluntly, I made a decision to do what I love and to love what I do because of this I am successful. What does this mean to you? This is your recipe for success, duplicate and you too will be successful.
It’s easy to read about personal finance (or any other area of self-improvement) and to tell yourself, “Yeah. That sounds nice. I really should spend less on eating out. I really should exercise more. I really should open a Roth IRA.”
It’s easy to tell yourself these proven facts although few people actually follow through. They talk the talk; they just don’t walk the walk. Instead, they sit on their hands, afraid to take action. They procrastinate because that’s what seems easiest. (And sometimes they actively try to interfere with those who are bold enough to make changes in their lives.)
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield writes about defeating procrastination and the other things that prevent us from fulfilling our dreams: fear, rationalization, self-doubt. Pressfield calls these dream-killers Resistance. He writes (with some formatting help from me):
Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. What is your resistance? Once you identify this you will find it easy to break free from the psychological bondage and breakthrough to the life you desire.
Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, or a meditation practice? Have you ever bailed out on a call to embark on a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling and commit your life to the service of others?
Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, or an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment?
Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture?
If you have then you know what Resistance is.
Resistance comes from the war inside you, I call it inner conflict: from lack of confidence and fear of failure.
Action beats inaction
The best way to defeat Resistance is to actually do something, if only for ten minutes a day. Tell yourself that you’ll move toward your goals for ten minutes a day. If you don’t succeed, do it again. Keep going until you do succeed.
It doesn’t matter if your actions are small. It doesn’t matter whether your actions are “right”. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you fail along the way. It doesn’t matter if there are other “better” things you might have done. All that matters is that you do something because any action that moves you in the direction of your desired outcome is “on the right track” as progress only happens when a decision is made, just remember the definition of decision is to cut off, to sever, leaving no other option or alternative. Just remember the story of troy, find your driving force, your leverage, and be resolved in your commitment. You must start moving in the direction of your dreams.
You can only afford to pay off $10 per month on your credit cards? Do it.
You can only pay 1% of your income into a high interest savings account every month? Do it.
You can only put $100 into your Roth IRA instead of the full $5000? Do it.
Do what you can, and do it today. Stop rationalizing. Stop saying, “I’ll do this next week”. The best time to start any positive course of action is now. This isn’t just New Age self-talk; it’s the truth. Start saving now. Start exercising now. Start writing your book now. Start spending time with your family now.
Your life can be amazing, the only one who’s going to make that happen is you.
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