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How To Become Debt Free!
Remember your first job? Would you like to have it back and do it for the rest of your life? No. Even if you did your job well you weren’t successful at fully taking care of yourself. You probably had three or four jobs before you really were able to start fully supporting yourself. Like the .250 hitter after the forth time you got it right.
Your first credit card, did you max it out? Your first checking account, was it always balanced with no overdraft charges? No of course not. You’re not going to make perfect financial decisions any more than a baseball player is going to get a hit every time he bats. You don’t have to, you shouldn’t expect to, and you shouldn’t get upset when things don’t work out.
Hitting a baseball is a tricky thing. Hitters often go on streaks where things work out well and then go through times when nothing works. Sometimes they hit the ball hard but right to a fielder and they make an out. Sometimes they just barely touch the ball but it goes right between two fielders for a hit. Sometimes they miss the ball completely and strike out. Sometimes the pitcher will be wild and they’ll get a free pass, a walk to first base. Sometimes they’ll hit an average pop-up that will get caught by the wind and be taken over the fence for a homerun. Other times they’ll smash the ball into a strong head wind that will turn a homerun into a simple fly-ball out.
Batters often do the right thing and meet with failure. Circumstances often conspire against them. But they don’t quit and they don’t stop doing the right thing. They don’t have to be right all the time, even half of the time. They just have to keep swinging the bat.
Your past failures are just that, in your past. They are not a blueprint for what will happen in your future. Yes, you do need to learn from your mistakes. But you are not tied to the past. Every time you step up to the financial home plate you get a fresh start. Step up with confidence and take your best swing.
Baseball can be a simple game. The pitcher throws the ball and the batter ties to hit it. Finances can be simple too. You earn money and you try not to spend it all before the next paycheck comes. But in reality there is much more to both of them than that.
Baseball players have coaches. There are hitting coaches, pitching coaches, first base coaches, third base coaches, bench coaches, not to mention the team’s manager. Players practice specific skills. They practice hitting fastballs, curveballs, high pitches, and low pitches, inside pitches and outside pitches. They practice catching, throwing and running. But practicing skills is not enough. They must be practiced in scenarios that mimic real game situations. And they must practice teamwork so they have confidence in their skills and the skills of their teammates. Even this is not enough.
Baseball for the expert player is like a game of chess that involves not only physical ability but a refined strategy that puts their mental abilities at a premium. Managers must not only know the game situation but his player’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the opposing players and the other team’s tendencies in every particular situation. Then he makes a decision based upon his knowledge and his best judgment.
His best judgment doesn’t guarantee success on any particular play but over the long haul good strategy and good decisions will prove the best way to play the game.
Your financial situation includes your income, your expenses, your company’s business, the country’s economy, the interest rates, inflation, recession, emergencies, taxes, and many other factors. There are things you’ll be able to control, like the baseball player hitting the ball well, and things you can’t, like the wind blowing in the batter’s face. But the more you understand and practice good financial strategies the better off you’ll be. Like baseball you can get a coach, and have teammates. You can practices skills and learn strategies. While none of this will guarantee success in any particular transaction in the long run it’s the way to play the financial game.
The Freedom to Fail
Our economic system gives us the opportunity to succeed but it also guarantees that there will be failures. Success requires taking risks and while some projects will succeed most will fail. But failure is not permanent unless we internalize it and give up. No matter what failures you have had in the past they do not stop you from succeeding in the future.
Most people are so afraid of failure that they become paralyzed by fear, and they do nothing. When you get beyond the fear, even if it requires failing a time or two, you will open yourself up to the possibility of success. You will never be in a position where your success is guaranteed but you can arrive in a place where the odds are consistently in your favor. It takes time and experience.
The key of conquering failure is in understanding that it is a naturally occurring event and it’s not to be feared or regretted. It’s just something we’re all going to have to deal with and the sooner we learn from it, get over it, and get started again the better off we’ll be. No, we don’t want to fail, we don’t plan to fail, we don’t like to fail but as the baseball player quickly learns, worrying about past failures doesn’t help make the future a success. Learning from past mistakes will help, obsessing over them won’t.
I once heard a famous author say that his business mentor told him that he’d likely fail in his first two or three attempts at business. Did that stop him? No. He was determined to get out into the business world and try. If the path to success came through two or three failures then he was willing to fail until he learned how to succeed. He gave himself permission to fail, to learn from his mistakes, because failure was temporary but what he learned stayed with him forever.
Often out most rewarding experiences, the ones where we learn the most, come from our failures. The irony of this is that once we understand the great benefits that come from so called failures they cease to be failures and turn into invaluable leaning experiences. They wind up being a necessary part of, and even vital to, our success.
So pay attention to your mistakes so you don’t repeat them. But move forward, step up to the plate and give it your best swing every time. Only by not worrying about potential failures will you be free to focus on creating successes.
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