This is a guest article by Evan, creator of My Journey to Millions. In the article, Evan discusses what motivated him to move forward with earning multiple streams of income along this journey, and takes a motivational approach to inspire readers to improve their personal finances.
Take a moment and just think about what you did last night — that time after the kids are sleeping and you are “relaxing.” Were you watching television? According to one recent government study the average American watches 2.7 hours of television per day. Assuming that counts weekdays, that is more than 10 hours per week doing nothing productive! Don’t get me wrong. I love Teen Mom just as much as the next person, but I almost never watch it without multitasking. People often ask me how I have time to blog and attempt to build multiple streams of income, and my answer is always the same, “How do you nothave time?”
Sometimes people have legitimate reasons for not finding time in the day, but when I look closely at someone’s schedule, it’s not that they don’t have time; often they don’t share my irrational motivation.
What motivates me
Some people are naturally competitive or envious of others’ success, but that is not what drives me. Blogging about personal finance for the past three years has given me a chance to look at 28 year-old Evan with 30 year-old Evan’s eyes. Blogging is a very valuable tool that most people don’t use.
When it comes to finances, I am almost entirely motivated by fear.
- I am afraid I will not be able to provide for my family.
- I am afraid I will live an average life.
- I am afraid I can get fired one day.
- I am afraid my lifestyle can be taken away at any time.
- I am afraid I will be forced to work until I am 65.
It can probably be argued that for the most part my fears are irrational and exaggerated in my mind, but with employers having less and less loyalty to their employees, I’ll stick with being overcautious.
Harnessing what motivates you
I truly believe that the first step in bettering one’s financial situation is understanding what motivates you. From my limited experience, it is easier to change the systems around you than actually changing yourself. Knowing what motivates you is the first step in harnessing that power.
For example, if you are are a competitive person, instead of toning down your natural tendencies, try creating a game out of your situation. Find a person you can compete with. Share your balance sheets with each other and bet dinner on who can increase their net worth in a certain amount of time, or try to see who can save more money on fixed costs like cable or cell phones.
If you are a person motivated by material goods then set a goal for yourself like save a certain amount of money, perhaps the cost of that new television before you buy. If you are homebody family guy, put pictures of your kids everywhere. That could be enough motivation to work to a better financial position.
For me, my motivation — my fear — has inspired me to try and build multiple streams of income, which I think is more valuable and effective than trying to change my motivation.
Stop making excuses
Regardless of what is motivating you, it is time to stop making excuses. If you are that average American and watch 10 hours of television a week, you can never claim to have no time. So I ask once again:
What did you do last night? Are you proud of it?
Updated June 23, 2016 and originally published February 10, 2012.