Pretty bold statement, huh? The fact is, since you’re probably reading this on a computer, you already have access to some of the greatest financial wisdom and knowledge there is. You can type in any search term in the world and instantly (unless you’re on dial up) have ten thousand websites available at your fingertips that will tell you virtually all the knowledge there is to know on that subject. Just a few days ago, I came across a Bankrate.com article in my RSS reader entitled 100 Tips To Help You Save In 2009 and I realized that I had written about or read another article about every one of them.
Lack of knowledge isn’t the problem. Financial success, indeed, success in any endeavor, isn’t a matter of knowing the right facts or the right people. Immigrants have come to the US with pennies in their pockets and went on to become outstanding successes, so money isn’t what’s standing in the way either.
It isn’t a college education, though it can’t hurt. College dropouts (including me before I went on to finish my degree) have always been quick to point out that Bill Gates didn’t finish college. But old even Uncle Bill will tell you that it didn’t matter one way or the other. Some will point out that certain unchangeable characteristics about you, or me, or any randomly selected person standing on a street corner are what keeps success just out of reach. It may be your accent, or skin color, or where you were raised, or your IQ, or anything. Whatever we can produce as an excuse suffice. For some unknown reason, we would rather believe that success is just out of our reach.
But all that is a lie.
Arnold Schwarzenegger came to the US with an accent that could cut a hole in concrete, but it didn’t stop him. Did skin color stop Oprah Winfrey? Genereal Colin Powell became the Chairman of the Joint Cheifs of Staff, after having been raised in Harlem. And, if you’ve read my review of Malcolm Gladwell’s fabulous book, Outliers (which I am planning to give away 5 copies via random drawing on Jan 21st, enter on the review post), you’ll know that being the smartest person in the room doesn’t mean anything at all if you don’t know how to use it or if you’re not motivated enough. And there it is:
What you really need to become successful is MOTIVATION.
Without it, all the knowledge in the world is worthless. Clicking the Mvelopes Personal 3.5 link just to the right of these words isn’t worth it if you aren’t motivated enough to use their budgeting software to help you get control of your finances. Knowing every tip and technique to squeeze every last drop of value from every single little penny in your savings account isn’t worth a hill of beans if you’re not motivated to put them into good use. Interestingly, if you have lots of motivation, yet very little knowledge, you can’t, no, you won’t be stopped. Motivation rules!
So, the question is: what motivates you?
I wish I could answer that for you, but only you have the answer. Motivation is what makes us behave a certain way, it’s usually a list of reasons that drives us to perform a certain behavior. What are your reasons for wanting to succeed financially? What’s standing in your way (other than you)? What is the master key that will kick you into overdrive and cause you to do all those things you know you should? According to Napoleon Hill, that master key is, “…nothing more or less than the self discipline necessary to help you take full and complete possession of your own mind. Remember, it is profoundly significant that the only thing over which you have complete control is your own mental attitude.” So, figure out what presses your buttons, what makes revs you up, what cranks your tractor (as we say in the South). Use those images to help you begin your journey to success, financial and otherwise and always keep them in the forefront of your mind.