Why doesn’t your bank account reflect your growing financial literacy?
The road to financial freedom is not easy. As soon as you set off on this path, you run into roadblock after roadblock. Many people become disheartened and give up right away. Others plug along for a while, but without results, they soon give up. Only a tenacious few can push forward and become truly rich.
I often meet people who have been following the path for a while and don’t understand why they aren’t any closer to financial freedom. They’ve read the books, taken courses, and can read and interpret the financial column of the newspaper with ease.
Many of them approach me asking, “I’m financially literate, but I still can’t seem to increase my income. What am I doing wrong?”
My answer to them is: “It might not be something you’re doing, but something you’re feeling that’s holding you back.”
Our emotions and behaviors dictate our future more than we care to admit. And sometimes, it’s the things we’re feeling or the attitudes we’re carrying around that are keeping us from moving forward.
Five things holding you back
There are five main reasons why financially literate people may still not develop abundant asset columns that could produce a large cash flow.
4. Bad habits
Most people struggle with many of these factors, whether consciously or unconsciously. Conquering them is not easy, but it is necessary to achieving true wealth.
This is by far the most prevalent reason most people are not wealthy. If you weren’t afraid of anything, what would you do right now that could make you rich? Quit your job? Start your own company? Invest your savings in assets?
So many people spend their time reading and studying and increasing their financial literacy, but when it comes to acting on their knowledge, they balk. They’re afraid.
Fear is understandable. Taking risks, making changes, it’s all scary. It’s alright to feel afraid. What’s not alright is letting your fear overwhelm you to the point that you don’t act. That’s when fear goes from being natural to being a roadblock standing in your way of true freedom.
Cynicism is another form of fear. It’s a distrust that prevents you from having the confidence to move forward.
This distrust could be of yourself, and manifest in overwhelming self doubt. It could be paranoia about the markets, or questioning a solid deal, and backing out of an investment at the last minute.
However cynicism manifests itself, it will hold you back. You have to learn to distinguish between a genuine concern and an overblown fear. If you are financially literate, and have done your homework, you have to trust in your ability. You can’t let others talk you out of what you know is right, and you can’t talk yourself out of trusting in your knowledge.
We all think we know what laziness looks like. Lying on the couch for five hours straight watch Netflix and eating popcorn. If you accuse a hardworking person of being lazy, you’ll get a very angry retort.
But laziness affects all of us, and busy people are often the laziest people of all. People easily become “too busy” to take care of the important things, like their health, their family, and their money. They go to their job and work all day, and are too exhausted when they get home to do anything else.
When they aren’t busy with work or family, they’re often busy watching TV, playing golf, or shopping. Yet deep down they know they are avoiding something important.
That’s the most common form of laziness: laziness by staying busy.
So take a long, honest look at your life. Is your excuse for not investing the fact that you’re too busy? What does that mean? What are you really busy with? And how is that holding you back from financial freedom?
4) Bad habits
Habits control our future. Cultivate bad ones, and your future slips out of your control.
Bad habits are often the worst things holding us back. They’re extremely hard to break; it takes discipline and continued conscious effort.
A lot of people don’t have the discipline to break their bad habits. And worse, many people don’t even realize that their habits are bad in the first place. For example, someone who sleeps late on the weekends might think they’re catching up on needed sleep. But that habit is taking away several hours that they could be researching investments or building a side business.
Examine the habits in your life. Some of them might be so ingrained in your routine you don’t notice them. But how are they holding you back?
Robert’s rich dad often said, “Every time I have been arrogant, I have lost money. Because when I’m arrogant, I truly believe that what I don’t know is not important.”
I have found that many people use arrogance to try to hide their own ignorance. They bluster through, overcompensating with confidence to hide the fact that they don’t know what they’re doing. Instead of humbly acknowledging where they need to change, they blame other people and circumstances for their own failures.
Put another way, many arrogant people who read this blog probably thought,“That doesn’t apply to me” to every single thing above.
If you can’t be honest and humble with yourself, you don’t have a chance of achieving financial freedom.
The good news
Now for the best part. If you’re suffering from one or more of the above, it means you have a very good chance of being rich. All you have to do is learn to conquer the roadblock holding you back.
Of course, that’s not easy. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult, otherwise everyone would be rich. But acknowledging the factors holding you back from increasing your wealth is the first step. With practiced effort, you can overcome these bad habits and emotions and find your way to freedom.