Life is all about choices, and each one of us is faced with several every day. What are the choices necessary to get ahead financially?
Of the countless choices we make on a day to day basis, most are relatively meaningless in nature. What I mean is that the sky won’t collapse had we decided one way or another.
However, there are some choices that make us think long and hard.
Which ones are these? These can be health, family, friends, career, big-time financial related type decisions. But what about our own development and progress toward certain goals that we establish for ourselves? What if if want to get ahead financially? Oh, just throw them out of the window because who care about those anyway?
I guess depending on the importance of these goals, and our own determination and drive to achieve them, they may or may not be at the forefront of our minds when making choices. For the purposes of this article, I will assume that we are all mighty DRIVEN to meet our goals.
When we are driven to reach certain goals we have established, the otherwise routine choices we make on a day to day basis become tough decisions for us. Each decision impacts progress toward our goal and hence the bigger overall picture.
We need to realize that we are on our own on this. Most people don’t know our goals, are not vested in it and frankly don’t care about it. So should we continue to give way to the many at the expense of not meeting our OWN goals or significantly impede progressing on it?
Let me put some perspective to this. Because of what I have done, what I know and what I can do, I am often asked out to happy hours, dinners out, dinners at people’s homes, etc. I am also asked a lot whether I have time for a “quick” phone call, a Skype conversation or chat on G-talk.
Needless to say I am extremely selective when it comes to saying yes. There was a period in my life when the answer was always a NO, without any “ifs” “ands” and “buts”. Because I enjoy a more balanced life now, although I can say yes to ALL requests, I choose not to.
Instead, I spend the time doing what I enjoy best instead, such as getting a good work out, hanging out with family and close friends, playing video games, working on my blog, volunteering, playing sports, watching movies, downloading new music, planning travel, traveling, shopping or simply reading.
If you are a hot commodity (or property) that people often like to suck into for information (picking your brains) and often get invited out to dinners, lunch, or just drinks after work, take a step back and think about what saying yes really means (or can mean) for you.
Sure you may get a free meal or drink out of it, but consider how much time this takes away from your day and your goal. Even if you might think that you can afford to spare an hour for a meeting, that hour often turns into an hour and a half, often leaving your brain drained to not be able to handle more work upon getting home. Remember, you are human.
Even if it takes the promised hour, consider the time it will take you to dress up, get there and then back. Also consider the time it will take for your brain to gear up back into work mode and start making progress toward your goal.
It is clinically proven that even the smallest interruptions to workflow like compulsively checking email every half hour even when you have just one new email which you end up deleting and then logging off can take you on average of 45 minutes just to get back to the same pace of work you were at before getting interrupted. Sick!
There is a big mental or psychological gap that you have to overcome after each interruption. There is a reason I don’t do serious work around my wife, or I will constantly have to hear “hey can you come here for a minute” while she is cooking and needs help with a meaningless task that the world can live without. I love my wife 🙂
Robert Allen taught me something very good when I was studying value real estate investing. He taught me how to say no and throw OPM back to people. OPM stands for Other People’s Monkeys. “Can you do me a favor?” “No”. Take your monkey right back on to you.
I don’t mean to portray myself as ruthless. I know my priorities, and those that matter to me most. Now obviously I won’t throw my Dad’s monkey back to him. Neither will I refuse to help someone who has been there for me, has helped me, and is a person I genuinely want to help. The point is, be selective, be careful and be mindful.
Over time I have significantly reduced the number of requests I entertain and get involved with, especially during the week. Don’t take this the wrong way, I am not a loser. I love my social life and I love the people I associate myself with. If I didn’t I’d be missing the old times when I hit pretty much every happy around town thrice over in a month.
It’s awesome to be social. Human beings are natural social beings. But the next time you feel like being social, take a step back and ask yourself what is it worth to the bigger picture?
Readers: For me starting a side business is one way to get ahead financially. What tips can you share on how to get ahead financially in life relative to one’s peer group?