What is Your Focus Creating in Your Life

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I am designed to go forward. 

I love getting stuff done and seeing ‘progress’ happening.

When I was being put together, I think I was so eager to get here and play that I dashed past the reverse gear installation team and never got one installed. 

Recently this ‘move forward fast’ only mode got tested – big time! And with it I was reminded of some great life lessons. 

Standing on the construction site of my new bush home build, my partner noticed a skew beam. 🙀🙀🙀Not any old ordinary beam, but one of these key beams running the length of the structure. 

The builder tried to assure me the issue wasn’t structural and that it could be made to “look” straight with some clever plaster work.

He also warned me that replacing it would set us back at least three weeks of work! 

A whole host of my monsters got triggered.

My “don’t be that difficult client” monster.

My “don’t make a fuss” monster.

My “I want it all finished quickly” monster.

I was also torn between wanting it done right and wanting to keep the progress going forward.

The thought of the newly installed roof having to be removed and all the brickwork above the beams having to be knocked down made my stomach lurch.

But luckily I had…

  1. Nic for moral support reminding me I wasn’t being a “difficult, fussy client” for wanting it done correctly.
  2. The deep knowing that focusing on the long game is always better.
  3. Worked hard to overcome my pleasing and appeasing patterns and rebuild trust with myself, knowing I would stand for me and have my own back when it was needed.

I thought… “even if a mistake can be covered up, it doesn’t mean the short cut is the right cut.”

I knew I had to shift my focus from the perceived short term pain to the long term gain in order to make the best decision. 

Energy flows where focus goes.

I focused on the years and years of joy I would be getting from this magical place. 

I focused on the special guests I will have here. The Wealth Chefs in the Making that will come and spend time with me here on special VIP Wealth immersions. Perhaps you will choose to join me for one of them.

I focused on the dream I was bringing to life.

I knew that the choices I made now mattered. 

I knew what I stood for, would be what would stand for me.

I chose to stand for quality. 

I chose to stand for the long term integrity of this home and my dream.

I chose to have my own back.

I bit the bullet, instructed the rework and remembered that I am the person who needs to have my respect and my own back.

Looking into your future, and being able to see the impact of the choices you make now, is a vital skill to learn and practice.

This incident and wanting to share it with you made me think of the work done in the 1960s, by a Stanford professor named Walter Mischel when he conducted a series of important psychological studies.

During his experiments, Mischel and his team tested hundreds of children, mostly 4 and 5 year olds, and revealed what is now believed to be one of the most important characteristics for success in wealth, health, work, and life.

Let’s talk about what happened and, more importantly, how you can use it.

The Marshmallow Experiment

The experiment began by bringing each child into a room, sitting them down in a chair, and placing a marshmallow on the table in front of them.

At this point, the researcher offered the child a deal.

The researcher told the child he was going to leave the room and if the child did not eat the marshmallow while he was away, then they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. 

BUT, if the child decided to eat the first marshmallow before the researcher came back, then they would not get a second marshmallow.

So the choice was simple: one treat right now or two treats later.

The researcher left the room for 15 minutes.

As you can imagine, the footage of the children waiting alone in the room was rather entertaining. Some kids jumped up and ate the first marshmallow as soon as the researcher closed the door. Others squirmed in their chairs as they tried to restrain themselves, but eventually gave in to temptation. Most of the kids succumbed to their NOW desire but a few of the kids did manage to wait the entire time.

This popular study became known as The Marshmallow Experiment, but it wasn’t the treat that made it famous. The interesting part came years later.

The Power of Delayed Gratification

As children grew up, the researchers conducted follow up studies and tracked each child’s progress in a number of areas. What they found was amazing.

The children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to get the second marshmallow ended up having higher school exam results, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills, and higher scores in a range of other life measures.

The researchers followed each child for more than 40 years and over and over again, the group who waited patiently for the second marshmallow succeeded in whatever capacity they were measuring. 

In other words, this series of experiments proved that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success in life. 

The ability to delay gratification has a direct correlation to success, in business, in investing, in life. Being able to manage the deep, unconscious lizard brain responses to react to short term desires and the “sugar-rush” of gratification, is the key to success. 

  • If you delay the gratification of spending the money now and invest it instead, you’ll have more later and have more choices as a result.
  • If you delay the perceived gratification of using credit to buy something NOW when you don’t have the cash, and instead save up for it – your financial wellbeing will be significantly better. 
  • If you avoid the “must have” pull of endless “Black Friday” sales specials and stick to your spending plan you’ll save yourself a lot more than the so-called savings.
  • If you delay the gratification of watching television and rather use the time to learn a new skill (like being better with your money and investing), you’ll learn more and become wealthier.
  • If you delay the gratification of buying a pre-cooked meal and instead cook a meal with great ingredients, you’ll eat healthier and save money.
  • If you delay the gratification of staying in bed, and instead get up and do a workout, you’ll be fitter and healthier 

… and on and on the list could go. 

“Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about.”  James Clear 

The skill of being able to evaluate the long-term reward that you’ll get from current actions right now is priceless. 

So let’s take, for example, a coffee. 

When I was living in Paris I would go down to the local Cafe on the corner near the market and sit and have an espresso. It came in a little glass and less than half of that cup would be filled. This tiny dribble would cost me six euros. 

If you’re not in Paris your coffee or espresso shot might cost you less, so lets say $4 a day. 

If you did your espresso shot every day or if you go and quickly get a snack for lunch every day, at $4 a day, over a year that will add up to around $1000. 

Over 10 years that would be $10,000 which is a pretty significant chunk of money. 

If you are funding any of that through a credit card, ”because it’s just convenient to throw it on there”, or some kind of loan like an overdraft as part of your money habit, that $10,000 is actually going to end up costing you over $24,000!

That’s a hefty chunk of money. 

Many people never find the means to repay that debt, so it just keeps being rolled from one credit card to another, one revolving credit to another.

And most people won’t associate these small instant gratifications with the longer term impacts of those decisions. 

Banks know that people love that short term instant gratification hit, and they love it too because they get to reap the benefits of all that interest paid. 

Banks  know that debt is powerful and that debt pays – it pays them. 

Debt is extraordinarily powerful. It is one of the biggest money earners for huge institutions around the world, and it’s also a way to control people. 

When you have debt, your life is owned by those you owe. 

If instead you took that $4 and that $1000 a year and put that into a low cost investment like an index tracker , even outside of a tax protected or tax deferred vehicle like and ISA or a Tax Free Investment Account, and it was returning just 7% a year, which is even less than the market averages over time, in the same 10 years you would end up with $13,800 in the bank. 

That is a big difference from being – $24,000 in debt. 

It’s a massive $37,800 difference.

It’s the upside of delayed gratification. 

I’m not saying don’t have your espresso, but I am saying understand the consequences of short-term decisions versus long-term gains. 

The more you’re able to evaluate the choices you’re making now and understand where those choices are taking you, the more you’re going to have extraordinary success in your life. 

When I was deep in a debt hole and made that decision to get out of it and to claim back my freedom and my life – I made the decision by focusing on the long term benefits. 

I make my freedom, my dreams and my wealth more important than the short-term discomfort of the actions I needed to take. 

I focused on the joy I’d feel being free of debt. 

I focused on the freedom I’d have when I was no longer tied down by the repayments I had to make. 

When you can do that, when you can project yourself to feeling the benefits you’re going to get by delaying gratification, you’re already halfway there.

At the end of the day…

Our destiny isn’t created by the big decisions we make in our life, our destiny is created by the moment by moment choices we make.

If you don’t like where you’re headed, make a different choice. 

That’s the freedom we have every day. 

The freedom to make a new set of choices. 

I hope by sharing my tough choice process, it helps you reflect on any areas where perhaps a longer term focus could help you make a better set of choices – even if they feel tough in the short term. 

Play the long game – you are worth it.

 

Big love

 

Ann

 

P.s. here’s some snippets of my dream bush home build.
This is my wild and wonderful “Mistress Suite” overlooking the Olifants River.  

Why is the main suite called the Master suite anyway?

That’s the view from the bed. 

The front elevation and this is looking onto the two amazing guest suites on the left and the living deck and pool will be on the right.

All looking down to the river on the left of this photo and on the other side is a beautiful plain where impala and elephants and kudu and giraffe roam.

 

Big love

Ann

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