This is second in the series of my 7-part articles (How to Take Control of Your Life in 2013). I am excited at the impact the first one is making as I got quite of a number of text messages from perceptive readers of the column. My suggestion is that you see to it that you do not miss any of the series. Please read on.
I went from my mentor’s place straight to the bookshop to pick the two books he recommended and I ensured that I read the relevant chapters before my next appointment with him.
I was with my mentor the following Saturday. He had left instructions that I join him in his study. Once he sighted me, his first statement was if I had read the books he recommended. When I answered in the affirmative, he then adjusted his seat and started the lesson without wasting any time. I noticed that he had written another scripture on the board which I later confirmed was picked from Mathew 9:17 in the Christian Bible. The scripture reads: “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on a old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskin, or else the wineskin breaks, the wine is spilled and the wineskin is ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskin, and both are preserved.”
“Since you have digested the relevant portion of the book”, my mentor said, “ we can then move to the second principle which I have called: “Start Your Life All Over Again”. Let me start this way. Assuming you just employed a driver whom you asked to take you to Victoria Island in Lagos. You were busy reading newspapers hoping that in less than 40 minutes you should be in Victoria Island. But when you eventually tried to check the exact point you were and you discovered that you were half way on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. What is the most intelligent thing to do? “I will tell the driver to look for the next turn and return to Lagos,” I said. “That is right,” my mentor said. But assuming that instead of doing that you asked your driver to accelerate the more, would that lead you to your destination?” “Of course, not,” I replied. “That is right.” Once you are on a wrong direction, every bus stop you encounter on the way is wrong.”
That is what I am asking you to do. Given what you now know, given the values you have now set, you should use that to restart your life. Brian Tracy calls that Zero based thinking and I think that is apt. Start from the very beginning in every area you have got it wrong. Dismantle every area of your life and start all over. Check for cracks in your spiritual life, in your financial life, in your career, in your business, in your relationship quotient, in your health. Examine every key area of your life and fix things. It is better to start all over again than to build on wrong foundation.” He then pointed at the scripture on the board and asked me to read and reflect on the statement.
My friend continued: “I don’t know why most people are afraid to start all over again when God even says you are permitted to fail as many as seven times. Thomas Edison performed a particular experiment 999 times and failed 999 times. He got it right the 1000th time. Today no one remembers how many times he failed. Instead, people talk of the great inventions he was able to make after failing 999 times. When they asked him why he did not abandon his dream since it appeared he was not going to make it. His reply was that he did not fail but he had learnt 999 ways of how not to do it again”.
Life is supposed to be like that. When you notice that you are on the wrong path, the best thing to do is to pull over, examine where you have got it wrong, make necessary amends and start on the right path. If you discover, for instance, that you have messed up in your career, the best thing to do is to analyse where you have got it wrong, correct it from the root and start on the correct lane. If you noticed that you are in debts, don’t just panic on how to pay back the debt. Check for your financial management skills. Check if you have acquired the necessary skills to make money, to manage money, to make money last and to make money count. If you are not on track on personal financial intelligence and money management skills, you would still relapse into debts even after paying the current one”. Don’t just rush to put your money in stocks or in real estate or in any investment instruments. Check your motive. Articulate your objectives for investing. Acquire all the necessary skills. Lay a solid foundation for your investment adventure. The stock is always there. You can make money anywhere when you are ready. Wealth gained in hurry ultimately would vanish”.
“The reason many people are afraid to start all over again even when they notice that they are in serious errors is that they believe they have gone too far to be able to stop. Nothing can be farther from reality. Building on a wrong foundation would even compound your problem. You must summon the courage, pull over from a wrong course and start correctly”.
When I started my first business, it was with a friend. The business packed up three years after because I discovered we were not compatible. I started another one, yet with another friend. We parted way two years after we started. The same problem occurred the third time. We had gone for about four years before I started to notice some sign of possible problems. Initially, I did not want to part ways with the partner because I thought we had gone too far. Ultimately, however, I had to dismantle the entire contrivance. What I did after that was to use about a year to analyse what went wrong in all the three cases. I discovered I was too casual about my approach to business. I later got all the necessary advice from professionals. After that, I have been in another partnership that has lasted 15 years and there has never been any trouble. That happened because I took time to analyse the problems and use my new knowledge to construct a partnership that has continued to work. I could have continued with the last partnership. I am certain it would have been a disaster.”
My message to you is that you should put every problem you have brought to me on a sheet of paper. Spend about a week to examine where you got it wrong. Block every hole you have noticed and put correct anchors in place. Use those anchors to start all over again in each of those areas. You cannot go wrong if you follow that approach. Don’t be too much in a hurry to go for quick-fix solutions to any challenge you face. Instead, look for a deeper angle to it and rebuild everything based on that right path. That would always produce lasting solution.
“Enough for today.” My friend gave me a pat on the back as he walked me to my car.
•Take inventory of your current problems or challenges.
•Analyse where things went wrong.
•Put in place a principle for every mistake you noticed.
•Start all over again, riding on those principles.
•Refrain from abandoning those principles.
•Grow inside out, not outside in.
PPPS: Do you have any money questions bothering you? Send it to the money doctor at email@example.com