The Enemy Within…..

If becoming wealthy was only about going to school, getting a good job, working for forty years, and then retiring on a pension– like they did back in the 1950’s and 60’s– becoming prosperous would be so much simpler and done by everyone. Sad to say, for most of us at least, this is not the case in the 21st Century.

For example, as I talked about yesterday (failing or not meeting the mark), failure is how we learn. We do not learn nearly as much for our successes. Did Edison learn much when he created the one light bulb that lit up? Other than how to make a light bulb that actually worked, no, he did not. Making a source of light was the goal, not the process. From his notes of all the failures, he could then focus on what didn’t work– to make a better light bulb.

Inventing something from scratch is not an easy task– neither is becoming wealthy, learning to play the guitar, or getting licensed by the SEC. A friend of mine gave me a guitar once– a nice one actually– on the premise that if I stopped playing it for a week or more that I was to give it to someone else. Fair enough– I thought that it was a good idea at the time. Did I want to practice playing “every day”? No, of course not….but I made myself do so regularly because I wanted to develop the callouses on my fingers and learn how to play. Really what I wanted was to look cool and pick up women….ugly guitarists had been doing both for decades….why not I? So a few weeks later I had acquired the callouses…and then….the real work set in….learning to play chords. Quickly I realized that this was no longer going to be a hobby, it was going to take work. As in….daily practice like my mother had learned to play the piano. She never would have become a concert pianist but she probably could have played in a restaurant if she wanted to. Within a couple of weeks, I never picked up the guitar again. Six months later, I finally donated it to my alma matter’s music program for the kids to learn to play.

Conversely, some months later I made the decision to get licensed by the SEC. It was required in the sales position that I held at the time. I didn’t became a good salesman, but that is another story. Part of the reason I decided to do this was because the training required could be completed in a matter of weeks, not months or years. One good move I made was to pay for a set of “professional” training manuals to help speed up the learning curve. And so off I went…each afternoon or evening I would study about the different securities, regulations, and how the markets worked (among other things). Soon, the Enemy within crept into my life. I would sit there reading and….

.oO(What about the eight o’clock movie? What was it called?)Oo.

Did I want to do the work (keep studying)? No, of course not. Most of us would rather “rest and recreate” rather than work after an eight hour shift. Someone once said that the work that we do from nine to five will give us an average lifestyle. The work that we do from five to midnight will give us an above average lifestyle. I kept at my studies partly because it was a shorter term goal than a degree and partly because I realized that “an hour a day” was better than 12 hours one day a week.

“The Enemy Within” was trying to keep me at my own level– to protect me from fear of failure (by not trying at all), fear of success in that if I made a million dollars either no one would like me anymore or only like me for my new money, fear of rejection from family members (“You’ve changed! What happened to you???”), the list went on and on….

The important thing is to know that the Enemy is not without (circumstances outside ourselves). People become wealthy every day of the year, even under the most daunting circumstances. The Enemy is within. Our limiting factors prevent us from becoming who we are meant to be for fear of either losing something (friends, security by being robbed for example, or self-respect– becoming a real bastard with the money that we acquire), or by losing something that we want or think that we need. This can be the affection of a girl/boy that we think should like us (with the new money), the perceived loss of said new money due to a financial crisis, or even the perception that friends/relatives will turn away from us because we have “changed”, and not for the better.

To overcome the Enemy within, might I suggest positive affirmations? You are sure to think of a few but for example, say you want to get a better job/start a business/lose weight etc. You might start off with:

  • “There is a better job that I am fully qualified for just waiting to find me!”
  • “I will start a successful business in <fill in the blank>!”
  • “I will lose thirty pounds by next Spring!”

In phase two, sit down and write out what scares you about your goal. This can be anything from deep down believing that rich people are assholes to thinner people are shallow or flaky. Mold your affirmations to uplift you away from those fears and say them aloud at least several times a day– the more the better.

In phase three, sit down again and write out a plan of action. By that I mean a plan. Patton once said that a good plan executed violently now is better than an excellent plan tomorrow. What he meant by that is that working toward a goal is better than just thinking about it and “doing it later”. Action is the key. The Enemy within HATES action. Action is scary. Mediocrity is so much “safer”. I hate to rain on anyone’s parade but there ARE no safe places in this life. Anyone who had stock in American Airlines (a quite stable, sound, and slowly lucrative investment at the time) on 9/10/01 proved that. Two days later, the stock wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. Life is about risk. The trick is to manage it and still have a life without crawling under the bed sheets, never to be seen again.

The Enemy is Within. The Enemy Hates Action. Continued and sustained action produces progress, and progress moves toward the goal.

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