If you're a parent, you know how impetuous kids can be, especially teenagers. They want everything, all at the same time, and they want it now.
Sadly, many of us adults aren't much better.
In today's hyper-connected world, we're bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every day. It seems happiness, coolness and acceptance can all be bought and plenty of us are swallowing the myth, hook, line and sinker.
I've been playing with Instagram for a few months now, and I'm stunned at how entrenched this thinking is. Images of Lamborghinis, mansions and movie stars overlaid with platitudes about ‘crushing it' and ‘proving the haters wrong' are rife. Going by the quality of the comments on these posts, I'd say most of the people who bathe in this crap are still very wet behind the ears.
Of course, these messages appeal to young, overly confident 20-somethings, but they overlook the enormous effort and sacrifice required to build something substantial; something that endures beyond next month, something of which to be proud.
They belittle the late nights, the early mornings, and most importantly, the commitment to playing the long game.
Financial success doesn't come easily or quickly. Even the overnight successes we admire in the start-up world and the sporting arena often hide back-stories of struggle, failure and dogged determination. They also ignore the thousands who try and fail, or start, then quit.
Most of our idols take a decade or more to become outwardly ‘successful'.
If there's one thing I've learned through my struggles and failures, it's that while you can have just about anything you want, you usually can't have everything you want at the same time. At least, not for decades.
My kids love going to concerts. They also happen to like fashion. But as young teenagers, their earning capacity and the time they have available to generate income is limited. So when say they need to study for exams and attend a Coldplay concert, and buy a friend a $100 birthday gift and secure more part-time shifts to pay for it all, I shake my head and smile. Something has to give.
It's the same with us adults. It just isn't possible to devote 14 hours a day to a career and spend quality time with the family and build a business on the side and get 8-hours sleep a night. Something will break.
Usually, it's your family or your health that pay the price.
So what's the trick? Well, there isn't one.
You have to let something go.
You have to decide what matters most to you and do less of the other things. If possible, outsource them.
I don't want to spend any less time with my family or abandon my writing; they're just too important to me. So I have an accountant to do my taxes, a man to cut my grass, and an advisor to help with investing.
This way I can focus on the stuff that matters to me. Likewise, I can't watch a movie every night nor can I go to parties; not without stealing time from the things I truly care about.
I've learned that if you try to have everything now, you'll likely end up losing more than you've gained – probably things you can't replace.
Instead, if you focus on your MIT's (most important things); the things that build and compound over time, you'll eventually reach a tipping point with your time and your resources.
You'll possess enough money AND enough time to have just about anything you want. And all at the same time, too.
The question is, what will you give up now so you can have everything later?
Tools and resources for entrepreneurs that I use myself.
Books for Entrepreneurs in the New Economy
The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris
Tim's book is responsible for fuelling much of today's solopreneur phenomenon. A must-read.
Tools of Titans
Tim Ferris's tome covering many of the best lessons gleaned from billionaires, icons and peak performers.
The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau
Chris debunks the old myth, “It takes money to make money,” with plenty of examples to relate to.
Purple Cow – Seth Godin
Seth is a pioneer from the earliest days of the Internet and a trailblazer in today's ‘connection economy'. Read everything he writes. Seriously.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary V is loud, rant-prone and tends to swear a lot. But no one knows social media better. Read and learn.
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything – by Sir Ken Robinson
Sir Ken is a remarkable thinker in the areas of education and nurturing one's innate talents. His TED talk is incredible and has been watched almost 43 million times.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope we get to hang out more in the future. And in the meantime, please feel free to share your own experiences. You can email me directly at email@example.com. I respond to all emails. If this was beneficial to you, please consider subscribing and sharing with someone you think would also benefit.
Disclaimer & Disclosure: I'm not a psychologist and I'm not a financial advisor's elbow. This material doesn't constitute financial advice but rather a collection of personal opinions, based on my own experiences. Some of the links on my site are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. I provide links to services or products I have used and liked or researched and recommend. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you believe they will be beneficial to you.
Also published on Medium.