Author of Practical Steps to Financial Independence, and business and finance coach, Mr. Usiere Uko, writes about how some habits can lead to financial woes
Avoiding responsibility is a trait associated with children. They don’t allow you to finish asking the question before you get the answer, “It’s not me”. They won’t own up unless you play back the CCTV footages or catch them red-handed. Unfortunately, most of us carry it into adulthood. It is not us. We make poor decisions and when the consequences hit us, we pass on the blame to others the way we pass the salt at the dinner table.
Connecting the dots between actions and results is difficult for many, especially when the results don’t show up immediately. When you overeat, you don’t become obese while at the table. It happens gradually. Your financial circumstance is a house you built over time based on how you handle money. The issue is not how much money you earn. For sure, if you have more money, you can do more. If you have nothing so far to show for years of earning money except stuff, then you have an issue to deal with. Your environment is a reflection of who you are. If your home is dirty and untidy, you cannot blame the building. If you move to a bigger building, you simply have more space to mess up.
You determine how much you earn. There are many ways to increase your income as an employee or business owner, by earning more or creating multiple streams of income. You also determine how you spend. There are many ways to manage your money to save and grow it, by setting your priorities in alignment with your goals and becoming financially literate. It is really a choice; a choice to pay the price to fully make up your mind what you really want.
The anatomy of blame
I have been fascinated by what I called the anatomy of blame. I have seen the damage playing the blame game has done in my life and others, and have often wondered why we indulge in such destructive habit. As humans, we tend to love pleasure but hate pain. We often see work as pain. That is why few hands go up when you call for volunteers. Taking responsibility requires courage, the courage to own it and do what it takes to turn the situation around.
It is much easier to blame others or circumstances. When you take the blame position, you are saying you are not responsible. You had no role in creating the problem hence have no role in fixing it. There is nothing you can do. You are powerless. This a very weak position to put oneself– leaving your future in the hands of another. You are essentially taking the passenger’s seat in your life or as someone put it – being an extra in your own movie.
You can’t change your circumstances by blaming others. It may feel good for a while, knowing you don’t have to do anything.
The saddest aspect to me is that you become unaware of the choices you are making. You are choosing to be poor, broke, dependent etc. All the things you hate and are very sure you don’t want. Nobody in his right mind would consciously choose to be poor and broke, except maybe nuns. They think they want things to get better, but when they act, they vote for poverty. The reality is that results come from action, not feelings, wishes or words. Until you take action, you have not done anything. This is where the blame game becomes fatal. It kills dreams and aspirations.
You can change your circumstances
If you don’t like your circumstances, you can change it. The moment your mind is fully made up, a way will appear. The way did not just show up. It has always been there. It’s just that your focus has been somewhere else.
The circumstances I find myself today was just a dream a decade or two ago. When you are crystal clear what you really want, the moment you put your heart in it, you start to take action on a consistent basis. I have seen the power of consistent action over and over again. Often, it is slow and steady. I am yet to catch my children in the act of growing. I just notice that I used to bend down to pick them, now we look at each other eye to eye. I may soon end up being the short one. This is just a result of a simple daily routine.
Most of the emails I get are from people seeking a high return on their investment. These are people who are yet to start but are seeking the fast lane. They don’t believe in crawling and walking first. They want to take off running and flying.
Slow and steady wins the race
Being in a hurry is a hunter’s mentality. A farmer is never in a hurry. He knows it takes four to eight weeks for an avocado seed to germinate and five years to bear fruit. In between, he needs to water, weed and add manure as required. A hunter does not have such patience. He wants it and he wants it now.
It takes time to undo the damage you have done over the years. The work starts in the spirit (clear vision), soul (right mindset) before the body (consistent action) that brings the results you really want. If you come upon money before you get your act together, you won’t be able to hold onto that money for long.
Most of what you see is as a result of choices you made. You need to get back to the drawing board, see a new vision, work on yourself and develop new habits. Success is not a hundred meter dash. It is a marathon. Until you change, what is inside of you will soon catch up with what you are trying to do. You can’t outrun yourself. It is a matter of time.
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