Disclaimer: I'm sorry, but today's post is NOT suitable for people with average dreams or for people with no ambitions. I'm not saying we should all share the same goals and ambitions, but if you believe that you can live happily with a loaf of bread and a hug, then I am sorry, this is not a goal. It's a miserable excuse for your incompetence.
OK, now that we've lost a couple of average people, let's move on.
The story goes like this:
"I need to find a way to make people give me free stuff like they do for my boss." A dear friend of mine said the other day.
"What do you mean? Elaborate a bit," I asked.
"Look dude, I like the fact that my boss always gets a new iPhone on day one as a gift, because of his position. He didn't buy it, it is a given for any man with a managerial position. Imagine how cool is that?" He said.
"Apart from my boss, I really love it when people hack the system and find shortcuts in order to get free stuff or favors from others," he added.
"I see your point man," I said, "but have you ever thought how much time each and every shortcut requires in order to return some tangible results? Wouldn't it be better if instead of spending time in order to get all these items and favors, we just invest our time to accumulate the single thing that can buy almost anything?"
"Why don't you spend your whole focus and willpower to make money? That way you will be able to buy almost any item or experience you want."
Boom! I think he just had an a-h-a moment at this point.
When discussions come around this delicate issue, people very often use excuses in order to justify their incompetence. Excuses like, "I don't want more money, I want to be happy." Or "I don't need more money, I just want to find a smart way that will give me the ability to eat in fancy restaurants and make exotic trips. That's all I want."
Right. But by the time you will find a way to make this happen, you have already spent quite a few hours (and probably some money) in order to achieve that.
Shortcuts are distractions
Yes ladies and gentlemen. They are. And the sooner we all understand this, the better it will be. Do you have a bucket list? Or maybe a top list of things that you want to buy or experience in the next few years?
Well, I sure do. But let's pretend for a minute I don't. What I need to do is simply make one. So let's see.
Roberto's bucket list
- Buy the new iPhone each year
- Buy a Ferrari
- Live for a month in Thailand
- Visit Las Vegas (u know, the hot chicks and cocaine lifestyle)
- Own 10 very expensive watches
- Afford the best education possible for my kids
- Build a 20 bedroom mansion (for some of the hot chicks)
- Buy a giraffe 😀
and a whole lot more...
I am pretty sure that if it was for this list to be complete, it should contain more than two hundred wishes in there. Now, for the example's sake, I can admit that probably some of them could be hacked and I would be able to find a shortcut (I already own a giraffe as a pet, you know).
But what I ask you is this. Can you make an estimation, of how much time each individual shortcut would take me? Even the easiest ones, like taking this trip to Vegas or Thailand or buy a new iPhone each year would need extreme planning, coordination and some royal ass kissing, to name a few.
Let alone the Ferraris, the mansions, and the yachts. Forget about it.
I have done it in the past myself, and unfortunately, I still have to do it sometimes. But no matter what you say, shortcuts are distractions at best. I have many friends that visit Europe all the time, buy new stuff, etc. But they give up a lot of time in order to make it.
For every temporary shortcut you find, in order to buy a new gadget or a restaurant discount, you have given up precious time and mental power (which you cannot buy back). You distract your focus from your real cause, which is the medium that will help you live all these experiences.
"Money can't buy happiness," as they say. Right. Then how come that each time we earn some money, we feel good about it?
I am not obsessed with money guys, it's just a piece of paper after all. What I am obsessed with is the endless possibilities, and the freedom of choice money can give us.
And because of that, instead of spending my energy in finding shortcuts here and there, I try to be laser-focused on having access to the source of all this. M-O-N-E-Y.
Why you should focus on money
It's very simple. There's only a single reason why. Focusing on shortcuts won't help you in the long run.
The time you spend on random shortcuts and endeavors isn't accumulated.
Take a moment to think about it. Let's pretend that you made a whole lot of research you spend many hours and eventually you found some cheap tickets to Thailand. What a bargain!
You take your girlfriend and you go to Thailand. Awesome, sex on the beach and Pina Colada's all day long...
Skills accumulated: trip research and organization.
Money accumulated: none (you even spent some).
Some days later, you return to your home city and another brilliant wish pops up. You want a brand new car. Time to use your precious resources you have already acquired through your last endeavor.
Experience? Nope (again).
In other words, no leverage-able resources at all.
What do you do? If you have learned something from this past experience, you should stop looking to find ways to hack the system and you start looking for ways that will solve all these problems once and for all. You will start to put every drop of willpower you have into solving this single problem. How do I make more money?
Energy spent on temporary shortcuts will give you just that. Temporary results. Even if you find a solution to a problem of yours by "hacking" a system, this will not solve all the problems that follow. And according to my experience, if you do everything you can in order to be healthy, and everything you can in order to be wealthy, you effectively decrease your chances of a mishap to a very low percentage.
How to focus on a single thing (takes a look at a dollar)
Essentially, there's only one thing you need to do. And this is to have a plan.
I have written a very analytical article on how to make a solid plan. By the time you have your plan, you have already done most of the job. Pro-activeness is the magic word here. The better your plan, the closer it will get you to your final goal.
As time passes, you will constantly evaluate and improve your plan. Just because you made a long-term plan a few months or years before, doesn't mean you need to stick to it, if the results are a net negative. Evaluate and adjust. Pivot if necessary.
But, because of the fact that we are human beings, and because of the emotions we all have, it's not always easy to stick to our plan.
What do we do then? Simple again. Just ask yourself this single question:
Is the decision I am going to take right know, bringing me closer to my goal? If yes, (directly or indirectly) then proceed. In every other case, you will need to tame your emotions, forget about this distracting idea, and stay focused on your path to success.
Let me elaborate a bit more with a simple example. This has happened to me countless times up to now and I bet the same has happened to you before.
A friend of yours comes up with an opportunity for a cheap trip to London. Tickets are very affordable and you are only going to stay there for a few days. But as he says, you will need to make some research first, in order to see what is the best date to go.
Question #1: How much time will you spend on this research?
From what I know, in order for a trip to come cheap someone needs to make a lot of research, I would estimate like five hours at the minimum. Now imagine how many times you did make a similar research on the past? How many hours would you have accumulated if all this research was on a single topic/business?
If you are a business owner (which I hope), then all these accumulated hours would have probably skyrocketed your business by now.
Question #2: Is the premise of this trip aligned with your long-term plan?
Even if the first part of the equation doesn't bother you (the research part that is). Ask yourself this. Is this trip going to add something to my long term plan? I can guarantee you, that unless you are financially free, this trip is only going to add a few more positive emotions (at best).
When your only and single focus is wealth accumulation, then such an endeavor smells like a distraction to me. I could maybe understand it if this trip, had some elements of networking in it. But unless networking is your main goal, all you are going to accumulate is some pictures in front of Big Ben.
I am taking for granted that, your trip is a budget trip, sleeping in a small hotel room, and eating burgers in order to make it cheap. Wow, what an awesome experience that is.
If you ask me, I wouldn't mind waiting for a few years in order to become financially free, and then travel on my own terms. Such a decision would not only cost me in money, which is of secondary importance but most probably it would take me a few steps away from my end goal.
I don't mean to sound like an emotionless robot here, but we can all afford to take such "emotional" decisions only once or twice - I'm even doing it myself sometimes. The problem is when rational decisions are the minority and emotional decisions the norm.
Should you eliminate all shortcuts?
Hell no. From time to time, you will come across to some opportunities (some real opportunities) when the ROI will be hugely positive. Following the above example. Let's say that this very same friend comes up and says: "Hey dude, I found this awesome trip in France, it will be stealing cheap, and guess what, there's an entrepreneurship summit in Paris for the same dates! What do you think?"
Hell yeah! I'm coming baby. Do You spot the difference? You didn't spend a single minute making the whole research, you will spend quite a few dollars on the whole trip, plus you will have the opportunity to visit this entrepreneurship summit, learn a ton of cool stuff and network with like-minded people.
I could literally think of thousands of examples, but the important thing is to understand the general principle.
Gather your gold
To sum up, what I want you to start wondering after today's article (besides from how the hell I fit the giraffe inside my house), is whether you are laser-focused on the things that matter the most to you.
In case your only goal is to live a happy life with making the minimum effort and getting the minimum results, then this is fine (more resources for me).
But, if on the other hand you have big dreams, hopes, and ambitions, if you want to have the best things and experiences in this life, then riches is the only way to do it. I'm sorry to break it to you, but this is the truth. Suck it up, and let's go make some money.
And never forget. As a favorite saying of mine goes:
"There's only one color. It's green."