by Damon Carr, Money Coach
For New Pittsburgh Courier
I recently shared a meme on Facebook. It read, “Forgive your younger self. Believe in your current self. Create your future self.”
The meme hit a nerve. To date, it’s gotten more reactions, comments, and shares than anything I’ve ever posted on social media. This confirmed for me that regardless of age, life in and of itself is an evolutionary process. We’re forever making mistakes, learning, and growing. Those of us who are not consistently making mistakes, learning, and growing will render themselves obsolete, archaic, valueless, or worse — dead. As the saying goes, old ways will not open new doors.
Muhammad Ali said, “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of their life.” In other words, the man who views the world the same hasn’t experienced growth and development.
The process of birth gives us a glimpse of how we as a people consistently evolve. The word “labor” in and of itself has double meaning. It implies pain, suffering, and hard work. When we’re born, we come into this world butt naked and ignorant. We can’t walk, talk, eat or care for ourselves. Through time and development, we eventually learn to be independent in the activities of daily living including walking, grooming, dressing, toileting and eating. But in each case, we make mistakes before we get it right. We crawl, then we stand and stumble before we eventually walk.
What does this have to do with personal finance? Personal finance is more personal than it is finance. Money is amoral. It’s neither good nor bad. It doesn’t love nor hate. It doesn’t care who has it or who doesn’t have it. Money takes on the behavior and personality of its beholder. In order to grow and evolve financially—from an income perspective—you have to grow and evolve in knowledge, talent and/or skill. We enter armed forces, trade school, and college to develop skills, knowledge and know-how that will increase our earning potential. Some of us go straight into the workforce. The more we learn and can do for our respective job, the more we can potentially earn.
Growing in personal income is great. No one wants to work forever. We dream about the day we can finally hang up our working shoes. Many of us would rather retire sooner than later. We work primarily because of a need to fulfill our needs, wants and responsibilities. As the saying goes, it’s not about how much you earn, it’s about how much of your earnings you’re able to keep, save, and invest. Being able to save and invest money is the cornerstone of wealth-building. Wealth-building is a process. First you become financially free (no debt). Then you become financially independent (passive income replaces earned income).
When you start with nothing; No handouts, no inheritance, no special favors, no wealthy role model, no knowledge of personal finance, there’s yet another growth, development and learning curve you have to undergo in order to grow into the person you need to become to develop wealth and, more importantly, maintain wealth.
Your wealth position doesn’t grow and continue to grow unless you grow and continue to grow as a person. You have to learn to be hard-working, studious, patient, intentional, proactive, considerate, persevering, disciplined, selfish and selfless. You have to learn to sacrifice, deny yourself, say no to others, do for self, do without, and delay gratification. You have to learn that you can have everything your heart desires, you just can’t have it all right now.
You have to learn how to set goals and prioritize your goals. You have to learn to rid yourself of doubt, fear, worry, and procrastination. You have to understand that you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you work for. You have to be willing to eat right and exercise to promote a healthy lifestyle. What’s the point of becoming a better you, a wealthier you, yet destroying your health in the process? You have to accept the fact that there are obstacles and distractions along the path to you becoming a better you. But you will continue to march forward.
You cannot get mastery over your life or your money until you get mastery over yourself. In order to gain mastery of yourself, you must:
Forgive your younger self: We all make mistakes. We will all continue to make mistakes. We cannot wallow in regret and use it as an excuse to give up and quit. We have to learn and grow from our negative experiences and try never to make the same mistake twice. Wisdom is developed through trial and error.
Believe in yourself: If you don’t believe in yourself, NOBODY will! Believing is one thing you have to prove to yourself that you have what it takes in order for your goals and dreams to materialize. You have to both believe in yourself and put in the work. For a belief without actions is just a wish.
Create your future self: You can be very specific in regards to how you see your future self. I’ll sum it up by saying this, most of us aspire to be Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise. Go and become your future self.
In closing, I salute you with some old military recruiting slogans from when I was young and considering entering the armed forces: Aim high! Be all that you can be! The world is looking for a few good men and women!
(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached @ 412-216-1013 or visit his website @ www.damonmoneycoach.com)