We did a great show yesterday, dealing with finances, specifically for writers and artists, or people who are paid irregularly. After decades of concentrating just on career, love, and fitness/health, two friends convinced me that I needed to add a fourth arena: finances. Not MAKING money (which I was always good at) but rather MANAGING and SAVING it. That was never part of my childhood education. My mother and father divorced over issues rooted in money. My mother struggled with money, screaming with nightmares about monsters coming to devour her…the bills.
She pumped endless “positive thinking” information into me, until it took root. Advice about careers, and excellence, and survival. But almost NOTHING about protecting my money once I made it. And for years, decades, I made that mistake. It wasn’t until we had to move back to Atlanta, and I was cut off from working in Hollywood, that I saw, clearly and with devastating pain, that I had made a terrible error.
And, at last, opened the strong-box of my core philosophy and added another dimension. I really WAS lacking there, and I was the last to see it. I see it now.
But in researching the subject, if I looked at the other arenas of my life, I realized that the basic principles that can really “stick” have to be SIMPLE.
- Love? Love yourself first, then give to others from your overflow.
- Fitness? Every day you eat, you need to move. Balance calories in/calories out. Everything else is merely a means to this end.
- Career? Write 1000 words a day, read 10,000 words. Aim at being honest rather than clever. Find the people who think as you do, and market to them.
Simple stuff. You need to be able to explain the basics to a six year old, because that’s how old your “Inner Child” is, and if you go against that kid, you will struggle…and lose. How “in control” of a six year old are you when you’re out of the room? That means that eventually, your unconscious drives will win. Always. You simply can’t maintain conscious focus on anything indefinitely. Period.
The same is true with finances. As with those other levels, once you open the door there is infinite complexity, involving strategy, tactics, philosophy, values, emotions, and social webs. Good lord. And here, I was dealing with an arena in which there is so much conflicting data it’s not even funny.
Add to the problem the fact that I was paid irregularly. That sets up a feast-or-famine mentality, as well as the fact that most instruments designed to help you save are designed by and for those who are paid regularly.
But, over reading dozens of books and listening to hundreds of hours of instruction live and recorded, I was able to extract a few basic principles that seemed to make sense, and were also simple enough to explain to a kid, and flexible enough to begin IMMEDIATELY while I continue to research.
Basic doesn’t mean easy. Simple doesn’t mean easy. The most effective approaches are brutally simple, and if you look at the number of people who actually manage to find health, security, success, and love, it is clear that this stuff takes everything you’ve got. And that the most common problem is fear.
We dealt with the top three things one should start doing IMMEDIATELY. The cascade of benefits and challenges begins the instant you commit. Not one of them requires buying a product or service, or anything except your commitment to a better future. Please, listen to the broadcast…in the coming months we’re going to rotate between these basic arenas, using the Ancient Child, the Secret Formula, Lifewriting, the Morning Ritual and a few other tools to gain clarity and engrain a few very simple behaviors into your life.
(Oh, all right: the three behaviors are:
- Know where you currently stand financially. Go to Mint.com, get a free account, and start calculating debt, assets, and net worth. Figure out where your money is coming from, and where it is going. Musashi’s equivalent: DO NOT THINK DISHONESTLY.
- Commit to saving 10% of your income, off the top, into a secure savings plan. Use step #1 to identify where you are wasting money that could be channeled into this plan. Musashi’s equivalent: THE WAY IS IN TRAINING.
- Create an emergency, crash plan to create 1-6 months income in liquid form in a secure account. I cannot begin to tell you the sense of security this offers. And when you feel secure, you can be more honest about where you are, and what you really want to do with your life. You escape the perceptual “stress tunnel” and expand your creativity. And that means problem solving. And if you have defined your problems clearly, believe you can solve them, and are constantly searching for means to do so…Musashi’s equivalent? PERCEIVE THOSE THINGS THAT CANNOT BE SEEN. The emergency IS coming. Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t put your head in the sand. Discipline now, or pain and fear later. There is no real third choice.
You have just maximized your efficiency and effectiveness in a truly amazing way.
Yes, you will have reasons you cannot do these things. Most will, prior to actually analyzing their expenses, believe they cannot save 10%. Here is the trick: if you are afraid, stuck in old belief patterns, you will see this as a reason to ignore the entire plan.
If you are committed to your financial future, and it is not a matter of fear or conflicting beliefs but merely strategy, your internal voice will say something like: “10%? No. But I can sure as #$%% do 5%.” Or 4%. Or 1%, and work your way up as you bear down and accelerate toward your future.
So…I invite you to join me on this journey of Mastery. It’s your life. Take it back.