We are creatures of habit. This can manifest in simple ways, as the type and number of restaurants we frequent or as complex as the companion we choose. We often make a decision to change our patterns, only to find ourselves sliding back into them shortly afterward. Real change requires strong and continued commitment.
Bob Proctor is of the opinion that there is an undisputed link between commitment and reward. “Big goals demand big effort. If the effort is average then your reward will be, too. However, some find big goals intimidating for that very reason—they demand big effort.”
THE COMPARISON PARADOX
Money is a commodity of exchange. It does not change—it only makes you more of what you already are. It will make a good person a great person and a bad person a terrible person. If you consider yourself to be a good person, then becoming rich will not only help you, but itwill also allow you to help others. In order to make life better for those around you, you must seek wealth for yourself. You cannot give what you do not have. Unfortunately, so many people are caught in their ‘keep up with the Joneses” lifestyle that they sacrifice true wealth for what they can get right now.
It is natural for all of us to compare ourselves to those around us. Since most of us carry around an ‘Attitude of Average’, we view our lifestyle as being within a range of what is comfortable and comparable to our friends, neighbors, parents and siblings. However, what it really means is that we are limiting ourselves through comparison to others.
We create within our own mind an idea of the “obtainable” rather than the“possible.” Therefore, when we set goals, we start out by deciding what is obtainable and then take steps to achieve that limited goal. A good example would be if you look at your bank account and income statements of what you earned last year. That represents what you know you can earn. Then, you might decide to stretch a little to what you think you can earn and set your goal there.
This goal may only be 5-10 % higher than last year. The problem is not that you cannot meet that goal—you can! And maybe that is the problem—the goal is too limited to begin with. Instead of contemplating what you really want, you force yourself into a series of very small steps to reach what you think you can achieve. Since these are small goals, they require small effort and do not really move you forward.
The comparison paradox arises frequently in the business arena as well. Each year, executives in almost every company will try to make projections for the next year’s sales. They will set a goal 5–10% above the current year. This is extremely low but they are trying to set a goal that they know they can meet and with the least amount of effort. Often the board or company owners will ask for a much more aggressive goal of 30% or better and then ‘settle’ back to 20%. This becomes more a prognosis than a goal. Instead of striving to be number one in the market, they only strive to improve upon last year’s performance. The 20%becomes their best-case scenario. What if they aimed for the top—even if it meant doubling their sales? This projection of ‘achievable’ limits what is possible prior to even trying.
The problem with the comparison paradox is that it allows us to believe that we are setting goals and making progress—which is a good thing in most people’s minds. But in reality, it limits us to a predetermined outcome and cheats us of our true potential. It also sets up an endless pattern of settling. “We achieve insignificant goals with little effort and when we achieve them, we set goals that are more insignificant as a follow-up. This is what makes us feel secure. However, we end up stuck in this cyclical pattern, frustrated with our slow progress and at a loss as to how to fix the problem.”
The irony of this situation is that, when challenged with a big goal, the response is one of disbelief. We are already so busy, how can we possibly achieve a goal that is many times higher than what we are already doing? People in these situations need to prioritize and eliminate all the things in their lives that consume energy but produce next to nothing.
Any task that you have to accomplish will swell in perceived importance in relation to the time needed to accomplish it. This is known as Parkinson’s Law. How many times have you been given a ridiculously short deadline for a project but you were still able to complete it—and complete it well? Short deadlines force us to focus and produce, which we could do much more frequently if we chose to. This allows for compression of projects into less time. But it does take focus.
CHANGING YOUR PATTERNS
There have been times in your life when you decided to make a change. Maybe it was to quit smoking. Maybe it was to go back to school. You know it is a change for the better, and you feel committed to it. Six weeks later, you realize that you have let the idea slip away and have fallen back into your old habits. Because our paradigms and old beliefs are so ingrained, deciding we want to change often is not enough. Even committing is not enough.
A study conducted by Brigham Young University in 1993compared the statements a person made about a particular change in their lives to the likelihood of them actually incorporating it. Significantly, the study found that of those that set a specific time to share their progress with someone else, they had a 95% chance of change.
This illustrates how powerful it is to be accountable to someone. Accountability greatly increases your chances of doing what you say you are going to do. This is why it is so helpful to work with a coach or mentor. “They will hold you to your word and ask hard questions if you are not measuring up to your own expectations.”
STEP AWAY FROM THE CV
Having a job is probably the most difficult paradigm of all for most people to overcome. It trips up more would-be millionaires than almost anything else. Even when they think they have changed and started a new business, they often find they have merely bought themselves a job. They still do not really understand the basic principles of passive income. Getting a job and trading your time for money may seem like a good idea. In fact, the vast majority of people will tell you that it is. However, when you start with the idea that time is your only non-renewable resource, and then it seems very counter productive to trade your most valuable commodity for a set amount of money.
If you have a job, you only get paid while you are working. That makes true wealth hard to generate. Passive revenue streams allow you to make money around the clock, leveraging your time to its fullest advantage. Just think how wonderful it would be to get paid while you were eating, sleeping or on vacation.If you plant a seed, does not it grow even if you are not there? Does not the overflow when you are not looking? Money has the same ability.
Because we are conditioned to think that a traditional job is the best way to make money, we often get hung up on the idea that we must have experience to be self-employed. False! You gain experience from living everyday and learning lessons that can be applied to every area of life—including creating income.
The problem with getting experience from a job is that you can only use the biggest part of that experience if you have another job that is the same. In most jobs, you learn a substantial amount at the beginning but then stop and just continue to repeat the same tasks repeatedly. This creates a stagnant and frustrating cycle of repetition. This is one of the major causes of job dissatisfaction. Creating income that is unique and inventive stimulates the mind and keeps you interested in life.
BY CAPT SAM ADDAIH (RTD