The Discipline Hurdle

April 24, 2015 by  
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If you truly want to be wealthy then it’s virtually a must for us average humans to do it through wise investing. But you might say, “Hey, what about the person who doesn’t have any money to invest, even in the smallest property?”  So the question becomes, how can you begin without a dime to your name?  Well, you build a nest egg. Of course, that begs the question, how do you get that beginning nest egg to start your investment program?

Most of us know that the traditional way to build a nest egg is through savings.  For many people that’s a big fat “ouch!” When you take a close look at the average American family, you see that the rate of savings has been in a steady downtrend the last few years.  When someone is asked why they don’t have any savings they usually respond with something like “I can’t afford to put any money aside. I barely break even. By the end of the month, nothing is left over.”

The people that say this are usually the same ones that, even after they get a raise, nothing changes. They are forever stuck at breaking even at the end of the month or, worse, going into debt.

So what’s the real problem here?  In a word it’s usually discipline, or more accurately, the lack of discipline.  When you are saying to yourself, “I just had to buy that new coat (or dress, suit, latest and greatest cell phone, computer, new car, etc.)”, or “We’ve been scrimping so long we deserve to treat ourselves to a very nice night out on the town or a vacation,” you are also saying that you’ll never be wealthy and are likely to be a ‘wage slave’ your entire life.

In order to be able to start an investment program, you must be tough on yourself and fully realize there is a huge difference in what you ‘need’ verses what you ‘want’. Once you have arrived at the point of understanding that, then you may well be on your way to great riches and maybe even wealth beyond your wildest dreams. That is what happened to me.  Unfortunately I can’t remember who or what book taught me the big difference between need and want, but once I learned that lesson and applied the needed discipline, I was able to save thousands of dollars in one year and that launched my investment program.

Of course, once you’ve built up that “nest egg” you must be wise and put it to work with great care.  When I began my investments, I was in a big hurry so I used a lot of OPM (Other People’s Money) as well as sweat equity which propelled my return on investment by leaps and bounds. I’ll talk more about just what worked for me in next week’s blog but in the meantime, consider the fact that your biggest hurdle to the wealth and financial security you are craving is one less vacation a year, one less shopping spree a month, one less night eating out each week and one less fancy coffee each day. When you think about it, that really isn’t too much to ask of yourself. Not for the chance to make a fortune.

The White Bear Experiment

May 4, 2012 by  
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I am sure, like me, you know some people who seem to have an endless supply of willpower and others that don’t seem to have a single once of it. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. And of course what we hope to find is “the secret” or a “formula” that will give us what we need. You might not believe this but researchers have uncovered a kind of secret that can be used by just about everyone that will amp up a person’s willpower. And it’s already, literally, there in your head.

First let me tell you about the “white bear” experiment. A number of years ago a professor at Trinity University in Texas instructed a number of students to NOT think about white bears for 5 minutes. Well they tried but they couldn’t do it. In fact the harder they tried the more that white bear thought would pop into their minds. Kelly McGonigal PhD, in her book The Willpower Instinct says, “The effect was strongest when people were already stressed out, tired or distracted.” Daniel Wegner, the professor that conducted the experiment, dubbed “this effect” as the “ironic rebound”. You push a thought away and it just boomerangs back.

Now what the heck does this have to do with a “breakthrough” to increase your willpower? Well, Kelly McGonigal goes on to explain in her book that “thought suppression” doesn’t work because of how our brains are wired but we can work around it. You’ll want to read her book to get the details about this but what I can tell you right now is a little about how to work with what your brain does. What you do is accept that bad or wrong thought which will give you great power to lead your brain to where you want it to be and very likely change or direct your behavior into something more positive and constructive. Here are just a few of Kelly’s suggestions that you can try yourself when you need more self-discipline or willpower.

1—Notice when are thinking about your temptation or feeling a craving.
2—Accept the thought or feeling without trying to immediately distract yourself or argue with it. Remind yourself of the white-bear rebound effect.
3—Step back by realizing that thoughts and feelings aren’t always under your control, but you can choose whether to act on them.
4—Remember your goal. Remind yourself of whatever your commitment is and what it means to you.

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