Actions and attitude

Have you ever pursued success in an area of your life and found the journey to be more challenging than you expected?  Maybe you’ve been on a new diet and fitness regimen for a week and a half, but instead of weighing less and looking better, you look the same and feel hungry.  Or maybe you’re on month two of living on a budget and even though you’re following the plan, you’re still stressed out, and getting your income and expenses to balance seems impossible.  What can you do in these times when you’re doing the right things, but the results you want aren’t coming?

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The Right Plan

The first thing to check when your activities aren’t bringing the results you want is to make sure you’re taking the right action.  See the article from two weeks ago for more info on following the right person and crafting the right plan.  If you are, give yourself some encouragement and keep reading!

If you have identified an effective plan for bringing about the results you want, there are only two major components that you need to turn your goals into reality.  These components are Action and Attitude.

Action and Staying Consistent

A major reason why many people do not achieve their desired results—even though their plan is good—is simply that they stop taking the right action.  As in our fitness example, you may find a great program for losing weight and getting fit, but in most cases, you won’t notice any results, even after a week or more of hard work.  What do most people do at this point?  The figure, “well, this is so much work, and I don’t see the point.  I’ll just skip my workout today.”  After skipping one day, it then becomes easy to skip another, and another, until we find ourselves right back in the old routine of not exercising.

What was the problem here?  Was the workout not effective?  No—the plan would have worked, but it was implemented only temporarily.  What is the answer?  Find a different, better plan?  No!  Start the activity again, only this time, KEEP GOING.  When you find it difficult, keep going anyway.  When you don’t see the good results you want, keep going anyway.  When others give you a hard time and say you’re wasting your time and effort, keep going anyway.  Not only is it worth it, but the joy that comes with overcoming something challenging is something you do not want to miss!

The Right Attitude

The second essential component for success in a new endeavor is attitude.  Sometimes, even though we have a good plan and are taking the right actions toward the results we want, success may yet elude us if we are taking the right actions with the wrong attitude.  Say for example that your goal is to receive a promotion at work.  You’ve talked to leaders in your department and industry, and identified the daily activities to become more valuable in your profession.  Yet, after six months of working hard and learning new things, you don’t find yourself valued higher by your boss or associates.  What’s going on?

It could be that you have the right activity and are adopting the right habits, but you are doing them with the wrong attitude.  Here’s one good test:  how often are you smiling?  Firstly, people enjoy being around positive people.  Given two team members with the same skills, wouldn’t you prefer to work with the one with a positive outlook and a smile?  Secondly, particularly when we are pursuing a new capability or a new level of competence, success can be challenging.  If you do not have the expectation of success, the attitude that what you want will be yours soon, you may find that you won’t achieve it.

One place where this truth is particularly evident is in the weight room.  When one attempts to lift a weight that is quite heavy, a proper state of mind is essential.  If you think a weight is too heavy for you to lift, you are right.  Only when you convince your mind that you can lift the weight is success even possible.  Your body does what your mind directs it to.

Right Plan, Right Action, Right Attitude

When we pursue high levels of success, many difficulties must be overcome.  Sometimes, just having the right plan may not be enough.  Only when a proper plan is mixed with a good attitude and persistent, consistent action will we attain the results we desire.  Instead of following the typical pattern of giving up when things get hard, let’s take the opportunity to encourage and build up each other, and enjoy the process of making our way to the top!

 

Mortals Only

For those of you who aren’t invincible, today’s post will show you one vital practice for demonstrating your love to your family.  It is important that we express our love and affection verbally, but oftentimes it is our actions that truly show our hearts.

First some bad news:  you’re going to die.  You knew that, right?  Now, I can’t tell you when it will happen, but I will tell you  one thing–that day is one day closer today than it was yesterday!

Of course we all think that our final day is way off in the future, and for many of us, it will be.  The problem is that for some of us, that day will come quite soon, perhaps even before our kids are grown and our retirement portfolio is sufficiently large.  We need some way to guard our loved ones from the compounding diffiulty of a parent’s premature death and an impossible financial situation.

Thankfully, generations ago, our forefathers instituted insurance programs to protect their families as well as future generations like us.  Insurance companies collect premiums from large groups of people, most of whom do not die while the policy is in effect.  But for those few who die in the prime of life, the revenue generated by everyone’s premiums is paid out to the family of the departed.  And thanks to significantly improved technology and business models, today most healthy people can obtain this protection for next to nothing.

Between my wife and I, we have a 20-year term policy for close to $1,000,000 which cost us less than $40 per month.  For less than what many people pay for cable, we are protecting our children and each other in the event that death comes sooner than we expect.  Over the next 20 years, it is vital that we invest aggressively, building our portfolio to a large enough value that insurance is no longer needed.

For those who do not have the discipline to save an invest, insurance companies also offer “whole life” policies.  Unlike term policies, these insurance products do not expire at a set date in the future.  Rather, they are a policy that you plan to pay into for the rest of your life.  In addition to the insurance coverage built into these plans, they also have a savings account inside.  So instead of paying the $40 like in our example, you might pay several hundred per month.  Some of the extra money you pay goes into a savings account that you own, which grows over time.

Many people like the whole life policies because they have a built-in way of forcing you to save money.  However, these products often carry significant fees and underperform compared with a good mutual fund or a 401k.  Therefore, it is our recommendation that you purchase a sizeable (say $500,000 for an average person) term policy on a 20 or 30 year term.  Plan to invest at least 8% of your income into a 401k or Roth IRA during that time, so that at the end of the term you will have become self-insured and will no longer need life insurance.

Taking these few simple steps is the difference between leaving your family vulnerable and destitute or loved and financially secure.  Make the time today to investigate rates at a few different companies before purchasing, and rest confidently knowing that your family is being loved well.