Copyright to Gregory Downing © 2012
Published here February 2013

Editor's Note | Introduction | In My Life 
My Learning | My Money | My Relationships | Conclusion

My Money

I will take action in my life - now!

I'd like to build my wealth. I want to start my own business. It would be great to be in firm control of my financial future. These are nice, positive thoughts, but when they're not paired with action, they are nothing but daydreams. Only action - not plans, not goals, and not ambition - gets results. Every day that you don't take a concrete step forward is another day of the status quo, another day of accepting a mediocre, humdrum life.

I teach my students to take action toward their dreams each and every day. Even if it's an imperfect action - even if it's later revealed to be an out-and-out mistake - it's still better than letting fear keep you stuck in an unsatisfying life.

Life rewards action. And yet, most people just keep going through their daily motions, procrastinating, thinking their ideas to death, and never moving forward on them. Every morning, ask yourself: "What action can I take today to move toward my dream of financial independence and self-reliance?" Then do it, for your own sake and for the sake of your family. Otherwise, one day you'll look back at your life and realize that while you had good intentions, you did not create results.

I will always remember that time is more valuable than money

Chances are, you grew up being taught that the way to support yourself and to get ahead in life was to trade your time for money. In other words, if you spend 40 or more hours a week doing what your employer wants, you'll be paid for 40 or more hours. But once those 40 hours are gone, they're gone forever. You'll never get back the time you could have spent playing with your kids or hiking in the woods or volunteering for your favorite charity.

Linking time and earning potential is middle-class thinking. Of course, you probably can't quit your job tomorrow. You will have to put in some long hours up-front. But eventually you'll have systems set up that allow you to profit from time put in by others and to reinvest your earnings so that you can generate even more income.

A true entrepreneur understands time is a precious commodity and must be used wisely and efficiently. You can and must devote your time to creating wealth, planning and building business systems, and leading your team. Once you have this foundation firmly in place, you'll find you're free of the obligation to work nine to five.

I will stop doing minimum wage activities

Our culture puts hard work on a pedestal in sayings like: "If you want the job done right, do it yourself" to the belief that the longer you stay at the office, the better employee you are. It's clear that Americans think that spilling one's blood, sweat, and tears, is a noble calling. Not so. If you don't separate yourself from the mundane and the nitty-gritty, you might just micromanage your business away from success.

You must stop telling yourself to work harder, and learn to work smarter. It's crucial to understand that the work of an entrepreneur is the work of the mind: "thinking, planning, creating, leading, and providing oversight". If you want to reach the highest level possible, you have to leave tasks that can be accomplished by others to those with the knowledge and skills to do them."

I will no longer view debt as negative, because I will use credit to invest so I can get out of destructive debt for the rest of my life

We've all heard the horror stories: families so sunk in consumer debt they were forced to declare bankruptcy and individuals whose educational debt haunted them for the rest of their lives. In part because of these cautionary tales, we've been programmed to believe the only route to financial freedom is becoming debt-free. It is time to reprogram that belief!

It's not that debt itself is bad - it's the way the average American uses it that is destructive. From this day forward, commit to using debt to invest and build your wealth. Yes, debt can be financial quicksand, but used wisely, it can also give you leverage and make you rich."

I will no longer listen to people who are not where I want to be financially

The saying "Those who cannot do, teach" does not apply to building wealth. It would be foolish to take financial advice from someone with one stream of income who consistently lives paycheck to paycheck (Newsflash: That's most of America), or to adopt a wealth-building strategy from an entrepreneur whose business is constantly in the red.

I've noticed that the people with the least amount of money tend to have the most advice. Don't listen to them! Instead, seek advice only from those who are where you want to be financially. Of course you should be respectful of others' opinions, but also realize that you're on a different financial path from most people, and that they will not necessarily understand or approve.

I'm not saying to stop interacting with those who disagree with you about your entrepreneurial ventures. Some of them may even be close friends or family members. I'm saying: "Just steer clear of talking about business!" You don't want to be talked out of what you know in your gut is the path to financial freedom."

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