I remember the first time I went snow-skiing. It was a cold, crisp January day in 1993 and my friend, Brent and I had driven to North Carolina so he could teach me how to ski.
We arrived at the base of the mountain, got some hot coffee, and after I got dressed in the obligatory gear, trudged and waddled over to the ski lift. Thank goodness it was working, otherwise that day would have been a disaster. Can you imagine having to climb the ski mountain in order to enjoy it?
Old timers, in order to ski down that beautiful mountain, had to climb it first, and though we’ve benefited from technological advances in many areas (like ski lifts!), the figurative trip to the top for each of us personally must be climbed one step at a time. In life, there are no ski lifts. There are no elevators, no escalators, and no shortcuts to the top of the mountain. There are no overnight successes.
It works the same way in other areas as well. Success in the world of personal finance means moving along one step at a time, making wise decisions with our money on a daily basis – truly trying to Get Rich Slowly. The same holds true for your job, your relationships, and your own personal development. It’s a matter of identifying, then performing the same correct actions over and over again.
Sure, there are tons of people, books, and websites out there promising us a meteoric rise to the top. Follow these steps, invest in this or that, read this book, buy these CD’s, subscribe to that site, join his multi-level marketing plan, or get her personal coaching service all are preaching the same thing: a shortcut to success that doesn’t exist.
What’s YOUR mountain?
Maybe you need to improve your credit score, maybe you need to create a workable budget, maybe you need some motivation or self discipline, maybe you just need to make extra money. Whatever it is, you can get there by taking it one step at a time.
We can all get to the top, but it isn’t always easy and it generally isn’t quick. But can we get to the top a little more quickly? If so, how can we reach the top as quickly as possible? After all, if there isn’t a ski lift, we might as well climb intelligently!
1. Work smarter, not harder. Ask for help in your climb. Others who have already made it can give you pointers along the way about where to climb, how to negotiate your climb, what NOT to do, and help you make wise choices along the path.
2. Don’t stop. Once you’re on the best path, keep it up! Don’t let minor distractions get you down. If your personal mountain is to learn Spanish, don’t stop at “adios!”
3. Make it into a game. If you have fun with your climb, it gets a lot easier. Games that generate the most fun usually have some competitiveness, so …
4. Climb with a friend. As long as you’re climbing, you might as well climb to the top with a friend, someone you know, respect, and trust … someone who will listen to you and cares about your success as much as you do.
5. Enjoy your trip. It never hurts to lift up your eyes and be amazed at the mountain’s beauty or to enjoy where you are at the moment, but DO keep climbing. It will be worth it at the end.
To this very day, snow-skiing is my absolute favorite outdoor activity. Brent did a great job of teaching me how to ski! I do, however, wish he had given me a few more instructions about how to get off the ski lift at the top of the mountain. Not a pretty site.
No, there is no shortcut to the top, but we can always be thankful for the journey, the experience of climbing our own mountain, and for the friends we have and make along the way.