Change Your Perspective to Change Your Life
Written by Sarah Yetkiner •
“Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Every experience in life comes down to perspective. There is always more than one way to look at any given situation; more than one way to improve it and more than one way to make it worse. Our perspective, our attitude, our experiences, our self-belief and our motivators all play a role in how we approach and deal with any situation. This is especially true when it comes to finances.
Last week I wrote about the advice I would give my 16 year-old self if I had the opportunity for a financial “do-over”. Several people commented via social media that they would have sought out more business/financial education and a number of others agreed that sometimes our most painful lessons turn out to be the most powerful.
Related article: What financial lessons would you “do-over”?
One of the greatest gifts of working as a financial advisor is the opportunities I’ve had to sit down with people of all ages and hear their life stories. Their experiences, their challenges, the smart decisions (and the not so smart ones) are like glimpses into the future; hints about which moves lead to success and which moves don’t. While we may not have the chance for a financial “do-over”, we always have an opportunity to change our financial future for the better and to improve our current situation. It’s all a question of perspective; if you look for an opportunity to change, you’re sure to find one. Here are some suggestions:
One of my money mentors is fond of the saying “I don’t want to know what you know. I want to know what you don’t know!” It’s a great perspective because it keeps his mind wide-open for new ideas, insights and opportunities. He’s very much a left-brained thinker (and a smart businessman) so it takes a decent amount of research to convince him that something is worth pursuing. However, if he decides to take on a new venture you can be pretty sure that it will turn out to be a smart move.
Related article: Do you have a money mentor?
For many people though, the idea of embarking on a new venture is scary. When it feels as though the world is constantly changing, it can be very easy to get intimidated by new ideas and new technology. The problem is that, if we choose to ignore all the resources and all the opportunities that are out there, we risk limiting our financial future. If we choose to jump into a new venture without doing our due-diligence then we also risk losing everything we’ve worked hard to build. Minimizing the risk of making a change means arming ourselves with knowledge, asking questions and seeking information from those who’ve successfully navigated the path we’re considering taking.
It’s simple math. The more wealth you build, the more opportunities there are to use that wealth to build even more. Whatever your age and your financial situation, you won’t go far wrong by eliminating your debts and boosting your assets.
Related article: Principles of saving money
It’s not enough to save though; you also have to have a plan and a purpose for your savings. The most successful people I know didn’t build wealth by tucking their money under a mattress or in a savings account; they found opportunities to put it to work.
Carpe Diem (Seize the Day) is one of my favourite mottoes and one that’s particularly apt when it comes to facing fears and charting new paths. It’s a myth that the only way to build wealth is by leaping into a get rich quick scheme. Most of the wealthiest people I know built their wealth steadily and strategically over time. This is ironic when you consider how many people spend years waiting for their “big break”; that one idea, opportunity or lucky event that will catapult them into the big leagues. The reality is there are opportunities all around us to build wealth; we just need to have the knowledge and the resources to take full advantage of them and the commitment to stay the course.
Related article: Building wealth is simple, not easy
No matter what your situation, there is always a way to improve it. One of the most rewarding things about being a financial advisor has been watching that spark of excitement ignite in someone when their perspective shifts and they see the possibility and the opportunity that exists to make their financial future stronger and more rewarding. I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of people who have challenged me to look at the world differently and, as improbable as it sounds, I’ve seen what people can achieve when they start believing in (and seeking out) the opportunities that surround them. It can be hard sometimes to shift our perspective so that we’re looking at the horizon rather than our feet (especially if we’re in a group of people who are all staring at their feet!) but at the end of the day, the only way to reach a goal is to define it, focus on it and walk towards it.