I am starting a new series this week. I am persuaded that if you take the tips shared in them very seriously, 2013 should wind up very well for you. Trust me!
I was up somewhere a couple of days ago on a time out to reflect and it occurred to me that it is possible for one to pass through this world without making any impact. Very possible! In fact one leadership expert says that the wealthiest spot on the planet is the graveyard where many unfulfilled dreams are buried. The reasons are not too far-fetched. An average individual is snared by too many distractions: pressures from work, from the homefront, from friends, from the economy, from everywhere leaving no room for regular reflections.
And working continuously without regular time set aside for reflections is an open invitation to multiple crises. But unfortunately for most of us, our days are full of activities without quality progress. We wake up very early in the morning, jump on the road, chat idly with friends, bury ourselves in activities and eventually retire in the night, too tired to plan for the next day, for the next week, for the next month and for the next year. No time for relaxation. No time to play with family. And unfortunately we are also too busy to hear from God. This is where the seed of crisis is usually sown.
But you can take hold of your life from where you are right now! I was caught in that kind of web a few years back but a timely counsel from a mentor gave me a perspective about how to live a life of impact. What I have done is to put them together into a series of expanded nuggets that you can apply immediately to re-calibrate your life and make it count in 2013. I also have a lot of valuable tools that will help make your life meaningful. You will be exposed to them as we go along.
I have titled the first piece of advice my mentor gave me: Get The Foundation Right First. I had gone to see my mentor with a baggage of problems: mounting personal debts; bad record-keeping habit; serious errors in investment judgment that had caused me to lose quite a lot of money. I was in a desperate situation and I needed quick solutions. It was a Saturday. Having listened to me carefully, my mentor dressed up in a casual wear and asked me to follow him. We went in his jeep to a location in Lekki, in Lagos, where some construction works were going on. We alighted from the car and he asked me to observe everything that was going on. Most of the construction works were still at the foundation level. As we walked along, he asked me to predict which of the structures would be a bungalow and which one would be a storey building and which one would turn out bigger than two storey building when they were completed. I noticed that the structures were slightly different in width and in the level of work being done on them, although I could not predict which one would be a bungalow or a storey building.
After about 15 minutes on that site, we went back into the car and we returned to his house. We went straight to his study. He moved towards the magnetic board, opened his Bible and wrote out these two scriptures. The first: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it – lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.” The second: “If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do?” ’
I later found that the two scriptures were from Luke 14: 28 and Psalm 11:3 respectively of the Christian Bible. But I still could not relate the verses to the financial challenges I had.
Shortly after writing out the scriptures, my mentor cleared his throat and said: “My friend, I have listened to everything you said. I am sure you were expecting me to give you quick-fix solutions. I am sorry I will have to disappoint you. There is nothing you have described that I have not personally experienced myself. The solution is, however, not in any quick- fix scheme. I am going to share with you seven principles you can apply that would deliver comprehensive solutions to all the problems you have described even though they may not produce instant results. They would, however, produce enduring solutions to the problems you have described.”
“Let me start with the first lesson which I will title: “Get the foundation right,”. he continued.
” I can tell you right away that the problems you have described are not the problems. They have to do with foundation issues which you need to sort before you can experience any lasting solutions. The problem most people have is that they try to solve their challenges from the surface. Did you notice that at the place from which we just returned, the foundations were cast differently? Some were meant for bungalows. Some for shopping complex. Some for storey buildings. Imagine what would happen if a storey building was eventually constructed on the foundation meant for a bungalow? Would it not be a disaster waiting to happen?
“But, that is how many people want to solve the problems they confront. Someone who has a debt problem wants to quickly pay the debt without ever considering the fact that his real problem might be money management. Even if he manages to pay the debt, he would still relapse into a bigger debt crisis. Someone who notices a headache wants to quickly swallow a pain-relieving tablet without ever thinking that the headache might be a symptom of a more severe problem. My suggestion is that you should first get the foundation right, and all the problems you are panicking over would find their level.
” Let me touch on one or two of such foundational issues. One, set values for your life and live by those values or principles. Your life would assume a new meaning if you would sit down to articulate deep principles and values you would live by and stick to them. When you live your life by principles, you would notice little instability. Values are internal anchors you set ahead of time to guide you in moments of decisions. Can you imagine a soldier who gets into a battle front before loading his gun: he will be a mince meat for the opponent. For instance, if one of your values is delayed gratification, you would not put your money in any scheme that promises a ridiculous rate of returns. You would always investigate every investment option and consider the one you think are reasonable. If you want to invest in any investment instruments, you must ahead of time, sit down to draw an investment philosophy, including your objective for investing; the rate of returns you expect; when do you plan to get out and such other triggers that can pull you out of problems fast.
“Two, I suggest you work on your spiritual muscle. You must daily renew your minds with great spiritual materials. Read great inspirational materials as well. Most of the things you consider problems are not problems at all; it is just a question of the way you see them. You must do everything to broaden your perspective.
“I guess I must stop here for today. I would share the next principle with you next week.”
Before we parted he pulled his copy of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of a Highly Effective People and asked me to order for my own copy and read chapters one to three before our next meeting.
•Make a solid decision to make 2013 count by all means.
•Budget specific amounts of money for the year to spend on your self
•Do everything within your reach to sharpen your intellectual capacity
PPPS: Do you have any money questions bothering you? Send it to the money doctor at firstname.lastname@example.org