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What does change have to do with wealth building?

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by Paul Kindzia in Personal Finance
May 11, 2021

One of the more difficult behavioral requirements for successful wealth building is the ability and willingness to constantly push through personal changes.  These changes must continue throughout your lifetime for you to reach your full potential.

Let’s say that you are early in your career and you determine that earning more money is important as part of your long term wealth goals.  The solution is to figure out exactly what is going to be required to earn more money.  This would normally entail either getting promoted if you work for a company or starting/expanding a private business.  In either case, more skills are needed.  This leads to the following questions;

  • What skills do people have that make the money that you want to make?
  • How did they learn those skills?
  • Where can you learn those skills?
  • How long will it take for you to learn those skills?
  • Who will teach you those skills?
  • What will you be willing to do and give up in order to learn those skills?

That last bullet point is important because it recognizes the trade-off we must make in life.  Simply put, we can’t watch TV all day or hang out with our buddies while playing video games and implement the changes needed to grow from a wealth building perspective.

As we all figure out in life, CHANGE IS HARD.  Change is really hard.  Change requires new habitsnew routines, and new approaches to our daily lives.  It takes far more effort to change than it does to stay the same.

To implement the change we must be willing to do the necessary steps;

  • Will we get up earlier in the morning or go to bed later to study or practice?
  • Will we go into work earlier or stay later to work harder than our competition?
  • Will we change our schedule around to maximize the time we do have during the day?
  • Will we be willing to read books or take classes outside of our normal work rather than rest and relax for a prolonged period of time?
  • Will we seek out others who can help us or teach us what we need to learn in order to progress to a higher level?

The quickest way to our goals is to change and adapt in a way that allows us the highest probability of success.

One of my favorite movies is an old classic starring Clint Eastwood called Heartbreak Ridge.  It’s about a hard-ass drill sergeant committed to making Marines out of a bunch of “unmotivated and misguided” recruits.  There’s a scene where he “awakens the men” a bit earlier than they prefer in order to get the training day started.  Clint Eastwood plays the character Highway and you can get a sense to his approach in this dialogue;

Highway:  “Off your ass and on your feet.  Let’s move.  Knees to the breeze in 5 minutes.”

Profile:  “It’s Goddam 5 o’clock.  You said 6!”

Highway:  “So I lied.  So I can’t tell time.  So maybe some communist bastard’s going to make an appointment to pop you a new butthole in your forehead.  You’re Marines now.  You adapt.  You overcome.  You improvise.  Let’s move.  Four minutes!”

And since the first time I saw the movie (and I’ve watched it plenty of times over the years) I have a fondness for the saying,

“You adapt.

You overcome.

You improvise.”

Because that is what it is all about on this journey towards your goals.  It’s not going to be all laid out in a master checklist that all goes smoothly.  You aren’t given a manual on how to live your life.  Your mother’s not going to be there to kiss all of your boo-boos and make you a grilled-cheese after a rough day at school.  It’s a hard world full of challenges and setbacks but some people succeed and some don’t.  That’s just the way it is.  But if you want a shot at success, then you best get on with three keys while making the tough personal changes in your life;

You adapt, you overcome and you improvise.

Make the changes necessary for you to reach your goals.

Good habits lead to good behaviors.  Good behaviors lead to good decisions.  Good decisions lead to a good life.  Live by principles and choose wisely.

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