Forget About If-Then Thinking

We live in an age of unprecedented freedom, choice and opportunity. It used to be the case that you needed significant startup capital if you wanted to start a business of your own. This meant that you either had to have the money already (in which case you were already at least somewhat wealthy), you had to raise the capital from investors (in which case you’d have to give up some equity), or you had to take out a business loan (at an additional cost to you over the long term as you paid back the loan).

But the arrival of the Internet and the opportunity of online business changed all that. The total startup cost for my freelance writing business was nil. That’s not strictly true, but it’s fundamentally true. All I needed was a reliable computer with a decent Internet connection, things I already had. Yes, I had to pay for a domain and web hosting, but these costs are negligible compared to what it would take to launch a brick-and-mortar business.

Ducks in a Row

In the very early days of this blog, John wrote about why you shouldn’t wait for all your ducks to line up in a row before you get started. Success comes to those who make opportunities happen, because the circumstances will never be completely ideal. The perfect time to start is now. It always has been. That’s why John reiterated basically the same thought a decade later. Start now. Stop waiting.

If I can pay off my student loan by next year, I can give this Internet marketing thing a try. If I can save up enough money to buy the new Sony camera, then I can start my YouTube channel. If I can get my Instagram account up over 1,000 followers, then I can start pitching companies for influencer campaigns. If this, then that. If this, then that.

You need to stop doing that.

Kicking the Can

But it’s not just about before you get started with a new venture either. It’s so easy to fall into this “if this, then that” line of thinking when you get into the thick of things too. We think that following the way down this path can create a sense of motivation. If I can start earning at least X dollars a month from my blog, then I can start saving toward buying Y.

If I work really hard for the next couple weeks, then I’ll reward myself with a couple days off. If this blog starts generating a consistent income, then I can start saving for my retirement. If the blog income is enough to cover for my daughter’s daycare, then I can start saving for my retirement. If the blog income can cover her daycare and the costs of attending conferences and trade shows, then I can start saving for retirement.

All you end up doing is moving the goal post. All you end up doing is kicking the can a little further down the road. You think that you’re motivating yourself, but you’re just dangling a carrot that’s always just out of reach. Because life gets in the way. Or circumstances don’t quite turn out the way you’d hope they would.

Do the Right Thing

You already know the right thing to do. You should start saving for your retirement or you should be spending more quality time with your family. So why not start today to make that thing happen, instead of sticking an arbitrary hurdle in front of you. You’re deciding that you can defer that decision to further down the road rather than taking action today.

Just make it happen. No more excuses.


Source: jhonchow

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