5 seconds to change your life
I was watching Mel Robbins’ Ted talk, one of the most popular TED Talks in the world, on how to
get everything you ever wanted. It can be summed up like this, “You aren’t ever going to feel like changing, and to get what you want you must change. So, when the impulse hits you, do it, you have 5 seconds to act on it before you talk yourself out of it. So do it, and do it now!”
That really struck a chord with what I see happening with wealth accumulation, or lack thereof. It has less to do with numbers and more to do with how you feel, and that’s where the rub lies.
See if this resonates with you. When you think about managing your finances, does it feel overwhelming, difficult, time-consuming, and boring?
Of course, there is a gauntlet. Some people feel this way all the time, some some of the time, but the end result is the same: if you give in to that feeling and wait until you feel like it, it’s never going to get better.
Which brings me to the most interesting thing I heard in Mel’s talk. She used the phrase “activation energy.” To change something on the onset it takes massive amounts of energy. You need a rocket ship amount of energy to start doing something you don’t feel like doing.
And now the million-dollar question: Do you have this outrageous supply of activation energy to get you off the ground? If you are like me, the answer is NO!
On the surface it can easily look like I’m working hard. That’s why I don’t have the energy. I have my financial planning practice, I’m a mom, I spent the year upgrading the house, etc. but, I know, I know … this isn’t the culprit . It’s easy to do stuff you like. It actually energizes you.
So, what was sapping all my energy? Worrying, waiting, doing time-consuming tasks because it makes me feel busy, not going to the gym, having political discussions, trying to teach people that don’t want to learn, trying to get people to do things my way, caring about other people’s finances more than they do, and the list goes on and on. Do you see what is happening? I was depleting my own energy levels for no return.
Money is the most concentrated form of energy on earth. What I mean by that is, if you look at a $20 bill, it took a lot of energy to own that $20. You had to get up, get ready for work, go to work, do the work, pay the taxes, cash the check, and get the cash before you could hold on to the $20 bill. That is a lot of energy. So you could say, money is energy.
Now, if money is energy, would you walk outside and just start handing away $100 bills to random strangers? You’re not dying. The strangers aren’t dying. Nobody said they “needed” your money. You just went outside and started giving away all your money for no return. Would you do it?
Then why do you spend your energy that way? The first time I heard this thought it took a minute to set in, but it became crystal clear why I am not as successful as I think I should be. I have been giving away lots of my energy for no return. Meaning, I’m not even helping someone. Literally no return. The easiest example is having political discussions with people that hold the opposite belief. Have you ever seen the other person change their mind and say, “ You know what? You’re right!” No. It’s a conversation that accomplishes nothing except depleting your energy.
To remind myself of this: I have added this meme to my screen saver, and wear a rubber band around my wrist. These two things are constant visual reminders that if I want to get off the ground I need to stop wasting my energy. Actually, now that I have noticed how much energy I am wasting I marvel at what I have accomplished. Isn’t that funny? I use to think “How come I’m not further ahead?” But, now that I see the outrageous energy leak, I realize I’m lucky that I’ve come so far.
Why does this all matter? It’s not the money. It’s just that to live in this world you need money. That’s the way the system is set up. Mel said, “The chance that you even exist is 1 in 400 trillion.” To me this is why it all matters. Life is the ultimate gift. It’s too precious to be limited by money. It’s too precious to be stressed by money. It’s too precious to chase money. Because of these truths, the only way to be free of money is to master it.
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness was throwing a boomerang into the discussion. Money is not a genie that can solve all your problems. You have to bring meaning to your life. You have to create the friendships and family. There are some things that have nothing to do with money, but the lack of money can bring a lot of unhappiness, and limitations.
So, find your energy leaks. Harness the power of activation energy. Take control of your finances. If you do it, you will experience more freedom than you ever thought possible.