This is not a blog about the Olympics or about trying to get a gold medal for being first at something. Don’t forget, I already covered the obsession with being first a few years ago.
No, I mean the title literally: go get the gold!
Let me explain. My older brother and I used to play Age of Empires against each other. After a few butt-whoopings, I found out one of his basic strategies: explore the map first, find all the gold, and mine it all before your opponent can get any. Though this opened up a weakness (he had few military units early on in the game, which opened up a new strategy for me to attack early and kill his gold mining peasants), this allowed him to buy more of the good, expensive warriors later in the game and in the end, have a force far superior to mine. Gold is one of the most precious resources in that game, and with it you can do pretty much whatever you want. Now, every time I play against him, I have to counter his gold grabbing strategy in some way.
What does this have to do with anything?
I know a lot of people who start any conversation about money by saying “my resources are limited” or “I’m on a fixed income” or “I just don’t make enough money.” I have always thought in the back of my head, “well, what’s stopping you from making more?!?” You have two hands, two feet and a brain. Put them to work, make something happen, or stop whining about it.
This, of course, comes from the boy who was selling snow cones on the front lawn of Grandma’s house from age 8, had a paper route from age 12, and who subscribed to the children’s magazine “Zillions”, dreaming of one day being an entrepreneur. Yes, I fully recognize that I am a weirdo…
But let’s talk about it… what holds people back from financial success? In my opinion it’s two things: fear and self-imposed limits.
Sometimes we just don’t want to take a risk. We’d rather protect what limited resources we have (the gold in our own home base) rather than going out and risking it to find more. Sometimes we are so entrenched in what we do that we can’t see what we have the capability of doing.
Now, I will stop here to say; be sensible. Don’t quit a good job just to start a real-estate investing program you saw on a late-night infomercial, but on the other hand, don’t be afraid to step a little out of your comfort zone, and don’t be afraid to try and fail.
Just be sure you have somewhere to fall back on when you fail…
Most people put artificial limits on themselves. They focus on what they can’t do, rather than what they can. They focus on where they are rather than where they’d like to be. And they focus on what they are doing rather than what they should be doing. Rather than overcoming their limits, they embrace them, point them out, and hold onto them for dear life.
After all, our limits are part of what define us as a person. Successful people, however, define themselves by what they can do well, rather than what they can’t do. I doubt you’ll hear Kobe Bryant say how he can’t write a computer program, but I’ll bet you will hear him talk about how he can play a mean game of ball.
Reminder and Disclaimer: Money Isn’t Success
The truth is: feeling successful doesn’t come from being wealthy. Feeling successful comes from feeling fulfilled. Fulfillment comes from a variety of sources: relationships, your church work, your family life, your job or your hobbies, and fulfillment doesn’t always pay. In fact, many times we give up true fulfillment in the pursuit of the gold. Having financial security can free you to pursue those things that offer fulfillment in your life and make you feel successful, but the simple acquisition of wealth in and of itself isn’t necessarily fulfilling.
You know, they say that time is the great equalizer because we are all given the exact same amount of time every day. And it’s true… what we do with each hour of each day largely determines the success and fulfillment of our overall life. A lifetime is simply a collection of what you’ve done with your minutes, hours, and days.
Go get ’em!