Reading time: 6 – 9 minutes
We can’t wait for the weekend as it’s our time and a reprieve from our work week.
Some put a little money aside every month and save up for that big screen TV we’ve always wanted. Others just swipe the magic card and believe they’ll be able to pay it off later.
We eagerly await our holidays so that we can escape to some exotic location or take the family to Disneyland.
Yes, most of the time we put in the time at work simply so we can enjoy our free time.
I used to do just that. I ventured out on my own when I was 26 and found out that being self-employed isn’t all that glamorous.
But the one thing about being your own boss is that it teaches you to grow up quickly.
I learned to face facts. One simple one being that if I ate out each night I’d be broke so I started to cook at home.
I also learned real quick that if my business failed then it was because of one reason, and one reason only – I wasn’t working hard at it.
Tough lessons maybe but good lessons to learn. Still, I wish I had learnt them vicariously through books or friends rather than having to learn the hard way just how tough life can be and how a once comfortable life can become uncomfortable quite quickly if we’re not careful.
But I kept working at it and now my business basically runs itself.
That allowed me to expand my horizons and here I am.
In June of this year I became a published author (soon available on the Kindle) and have continued working hard to set things up for the future.
In many ways I feel like I’m 26 again – new challenges, new goals, and a whole lot of excitement.
But the turning point wasn’t when I decided to open my own business nor was it when I survived the tsunami of 2004 (although I must admit that I think about from time to time). Nor was it when I married my wife or became a father both of which have changed my life immensely.
No, my turning point came when I went into business with a partner. Now that one year together taught me one simple thing – that I didn’t have all the answers.
So I started reading, then listening, then watching and slowly I started to see the big picture.
And along the way I have come across 7 principles that help me become who I am today.
- Things aren’t going to change
- Education at school is the bare minimum
- Seek out the right people
- Avoid the wrong people
- Investing is the key to wealth
- Stop being average
- Time is limited
Let me explain. Despite the incredible growth and change that is going on all around us, we are still human and therefore make mistakes and let our emotions get the best of us. Greed will always be around. As will death, disease and pain.
The economy will get better for some, but not for others. Life has its inevitable ups and downs.
So if things aren’t going to change then the question we must ask ourselves is how can we do better? The answer is easy and my mentor said it best, “For things to change, you must change.”
That revolutionized my thinking. Through study we can become stronger, better and wiser. Which is number two on my list. Most people go to school, head off to college then head out into the world hoping to score a job of a lifetime.
The reality is this – today there are people in developing countries willing to work harder for less money. College used to give us a competitive edge – no longer.
No, what school does today is give us a foundation to build upon. You must figure out a way to differentiate yourself from the pack as school just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Which brings me to number three – learning from experts in your chosen fields. Get an internship (for free) and get to know people, be willing to go the extra mile and you might very well find yourself employed come graduation because of your work ethic.
Instead attend seminars, listen to lectures and read books because I assure you most people won’t. (if you’re reading this post then you’re in good shape)
But getting to know the right people isn’t always easy but a good first step is my number four. By avoiding the wrong people you give yourself more time to spend with good people.
The wrong people will waste your time, break promises they make, and pull you away from your dreams.
Number five is understanding that there are many ways to get rich but if you want to get rich while you’re young you must be willing to invest and you must be willing to take some risks.
As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.”
Number six links back to schooling. Being average means you will get an average life. Personally I don’t want to live an average life but rather an amazing one. So if being average gets me average results then to achieve amazing results I must be amazing.
Only you can decide whether you want to be amazing or average. I chose the later.
The final principle I have discovered is something we all know but never give a second thought. We all know that one day we will be six feet under but that doesn’t stop most of us from throwing away much of our lives playing computers games, watching TV shows, and just hanging out with friends.
And while I do admit to indulging in those activities from time to time, they come after everything else is done.
One day some people will wake up and realize how many opportunities they have let slip through their fingers.
Don’t let that be you. Make today a good day. Make it special.
Time, like love, is often under-appreciated until it’s gone. Start appreciating it.
For me, everything changed when I started living by these principles. I hope you find them as valuable as I have.