Ken Okazaki Blogging is serious business

16Feb/112

Didn’t Your Dad Teach You To Live Within Your Means?

Well, he was wrong. And this is why.

It's depressing. Everything is falling apart! Have you ever felt like everything around you is caving in? Your credit cards are maxed out, rent is late, and your mobile phone is costing you more than you can afford. If this has ever happened to you, read on.

That's when human nature kicks in. You instinctively start shrinking. Spend less, do less, eat less, be less. Thinking that this is going to help you get back on your feet, you instead find yourself in a poorer state then when you started. You have become less of yourself.

Now you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done if this is what you really wanted.

But I think you'll agree with me that you want more. You want to be more, do more, live more. You want to have more options.

Living within your means is putting a limit on yourself. It's tying a rope around your waist and attaching it to your house so you can always safely find your way back.

The length of the rope is your means.

Staying within it gives you comfort and certainty.
Stepping beyond it represents danger and excitement.

When you are within your comfort zone there is little reason to want more because you accept your new normal.
But it's people like you and me who know that there is more, who won't settle.

Applying the title too literally is not what I'm suggesting, although the fact that you've read this far tells me that it's served it's purpose. I'll explain:

When you find yourself under external financial pressure, don't shrink. Rather, expand. Use the energies that would cause you to shrink and channel it to your creativity and put it to work thinking of new ways to earn more.

External pressure is more effective than self-motivation for most of us to cause us to take action. I'll illustrate that below:

Let's say you want to increase your income by $300 a month.

So you make commitments and plans but things don't go as expected and at the end of the month you are still at the same level: just scraping by, making ends meet. You think: "Oh well, maybe next time."

Now let's switch it around.

You commit to increasing your income by $300 and to solidify your commitment, as soon as you get your paycheck you invest that amount to your plan for increasing your income. You now know that you are going to be $300 short at the end of the month, and start thinking about where it's going to come from.
You know you HAVE to get it or else you are going to face external pressure in the form of your landlord, credit card company etc.

This is where you have to fight the urge to cave in. Take those thoughts and fears and channel them to your financial creativity.

Then the bills come, the ones you can't pay now because you invested that $300 at the beginning if the month. You're teetering on the edge, thinking that this was a bad idea.

Then the magic happens.

The culmination of a month of figuring, thinking and worrying comes together to create something new. Something you wouldn't have thought of if you had not gone through this process.
The key to unlock the door to your financial difficulties.

Now this may seem unrealistic to you, but you will find hundreds, if not thousands of stories of success that happened as a result of strong external pressure, financial or otherwise.

Yours could be on the list next.

Now do yourself a favor and generate some strong external pressure that will propel you to your next level of success. Or, if you have personally experienced it, post your own story below.

Progress always involves risks.  You can't steal second base and keep your foot on first.  ~Frederick B. Wilcox

A ship in harbor is safe - but that is not what ships are for.  ~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.  ~Ray Bradbury