This past weekend, my wife and I kayaked 40 miles over 2 days with a group of friends. My wife’s cousin planned the trip, and he was able to convince us and 3 others to “push our limits” by embarking on this 40-mile trek.
Considering that I had never been kayaking before and my wife had only been a couple of times, we were honestly quite surprised to even be able to finish without our arms falling off.
Obviously, a trip like this requires a lot of physical endurance. But what many people don’t see is that mental endurance is often what separates the boys from the men.
To give another example, a few weeks ago, my wife and I were running our first half marathon. I guess we really bought into this whole “pushing our limits” idea.
Now some people run, and some people jog… but we like to settle in at a pace we call a “shuffle.”
So we set out from the starting line of the half marathon at a not-so-brisk shuffle, feeling a little uncomfortable in the midst of so many people who appeared to be “legit” runners.
You know who I’m talking about.
They have the coordinating outfits, the waist belts, and the shirts with inspirational workout quotes on them.
But what we were surprised to find was that our shuffle pace actually served us pretty well. Many of the people around us who looked so impressive were walking less than a mile into the race.
Which brings me to my point.
When it comes to accomplishing your goals, much of your success is dependent on your mental endurance and ability to pace yourself.
Tools Don’t Matter, Your Mindset Does
During both our kayaking trip and our half marathon, my wife and I kept a constant rhythm and pace. It really wasn’t very fast.
But it was constant.
We kept moving. We kept going.
It was completely mental. Were we tired?
Did my shoulders feel like they were going to fall off near the end?
But that didn’t stop us from moving. And that’s what made the difference.
It didn’t have anything to do with our tools. It was all mental.
So many people get hung up on having the fanciest equipment or the coordinated running outfit, but often these things actually keep us from reaching our goals.
“Well, I can’t do this until I’m able to buy that”
“I’ll workout more once I get that gym membership”
“I’ll save more money, pay off my debt, etc. once I get a higher paying job.”
But none of these things will help us reach success. In fact, they’re often just excuses that we use to keep us from taking action today.
Just like kayaking 40 miles or running a half marathon, success in finance (and life in general) requires that we set a pace for ourselves and focus on the small wins.
So stop thinking about the gear that you don’t have or how small your paycheck is, and start focusing on how you can best use your current resources to push your own limits.
Mindset Is What Matters When It Comes To Money
Most people think that they just need the right job or the right college degree, then they could make more money.
Or maybe if they could just get the perfect stock investment or find the right home that would go up in value, then they would be set.
When it comes to making more money, investing wisely, saving a lot, or paying down debt, your mental stamina matters more than anything else.
You’ve got to keep going. You can’t focus on the tools you don’t have.
That will never get you anywhere.
Instead, focus on the path forward. Focus on putting one leg in front of the other.
Or in my case, one paddle in front of the other.
Managing money well and building wealth is much more about your mental toughness than it is about finding the right tools.
So stop focusing on the wrong thing.
Just like buying a $500 driver won’t make you Tiger Woods, focusing on the latest new budgeting app won’t make you rich.
Keep These Lessons In Mind When It Comes To Your Money
If you’re not happy with your current situation, making excuses for it and complaining about not having the right tools isn’t going to change anything.
If you want a better job, you’re going to have to work.
If you want a better house, you’re going to have to work.
If you want more money, you’re going to have to work.
There’s no getting around it, and making excuses just isn’t going to get you there.
So stop focusing on the wrong things. Stop paying attention to the latest piece of fancy technology or hottest stock on the market and start focusing your mind on the long term goal.
Then just keep going.
You can do it, you really can.
All it takes is a little hard work.