It has been said that to build a triumphant business and be a successful entrepreneur you have to “live a few years of your life like most people won’t so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t”. There is certainly some truth to this, and it ties in with what I want to talk about today – however, this oversimplified evaluation fails to illustrate the importance of personal development and embracing the long-term process of accruing wealth.
In today’s culture of perpetual impatience, with every consumer wanting to be satisfied in the same instant that they decide they want something, it can be difficult to think in a “long-term” manner. However, delaying gratification is an important part of being an entrepreneur. Achieving goals in a systematic, ongoing way will only take place if you embrace the day-to-day process and stop expecting to see change and success at the end of every day.
The journey and the goal
Having a goal-oriented mindset was drilled into me from a young age. Rather than being bought the fashionable, “cool” clothes and gadgets like some of the other children at school, I was always taught (forced?!) to work hard for what I wanted. I would painstakingly save every penny I could in pursuit of purchasing a desired item, and as a result an interesting change happened in my mentality and attitude towards wealth.
Quite often, once I had scrimped together enough money for an item, I would find that the item itself was less rewarding than the journey had been. After saving and buying several items and finding myself less than satisfied, I realised that I was more interested in the process of working towards something worthwhile than I was in the brief happiness that can be achieved by splurging cash on something desirable.
Finding pleasure in the journey of investment and saving is an essential part of an entrepreneur’s personal development. Unless you can derive satisfaction from the process itself, you are unlikely to be content with or succeed in the entrepreneur’s lifestyle.
Attaching value to the process
Changing your mentality to appreciate gratification delay does not mean that you should be unsatisfied by the attainment of the goal or treasured item – it simply means that there is more to the entrepreneur’s life than those brief moments of satisfaction. Relishing the challenge and treating investment and business as a sport are key themes in the personal development of a successful entrepreneur.
Even now, when I can easily afford a new asset, I like to try and invest in something else to pay for it in order to maintain a grounded sense of pure enjoyment for the pursuit rather than just for the item’s attainment. This viewpoint has helped keep my excitement for the world of business alive and burning brightly throughout my life.
A mindset, not a strategy
While the above quote about “living a few years of your life like most people won’t” is true, delaying gratification should not be a temporary strategy – the aim should be to change your mentality to such an extent that it becomes your lifelong perspective.
I know of people who have started a business and achieved a modicum of success that has raked them in some okay finances. But then they have spent their new money on personal items that they could comfortably have lived without, leaving them with no finances to reinvest in their company or other endeavours. Over time, their business then either trundled onwards and continued achieving only mediocre success, or gradually shrank away to nothing.
Buying those luxury items
Too many people spend their earned income on luxury items, frittering away the cash they should be using as investment capital or, even worse, going into debt for purchases that are never going to accumulate them any further wealth.
I am the first to admit that I have a frugal outlook, but of course most people derive a certain amount of satisfaction from less “needed”, more “desired” purchases. While it is important to delay gratification and enjoy every stage of the investing and wealth-building process, accruing slightly more frivolous things can still be a (small!) part of a successful entrepreneur’s life. So what money should you use for these?
Earned income can be split into three separate areas – living, saving and investing – while you can attach looser reins to your passive income which you should be building over time, in order to become freer with small bouts of “pleasure-spending”.
- The goals will never be as satisfying as the journey into personal development and the process of accruing wealth
- Use passive income for the luxury items, while dividing your earned income into portions for living, saving and investing
- Change your mentality to adopt a long-term, goal-oriented mindset
How do you accept delaying those moments of gratification? Have you found any ways to attain the items you want and live the lifestyle you want to lead by other means to those I’ve suggested? Comment below, or get in touch via the Unlimited Success Facebook page.