Good news! You’re not broke. So, I’m going to challenge you to stop telling yourself and anyone else that you are. Explanation to follow. Bear with me. This post is going to be an eye-opener.
The Dialect That I Select When I Hang
Before I continue into the money section, here’s a fun and quick little (but very important) language lesson. According to the dictionary, the word, am, is defined as “first person singular present of be.”
This is unfortunate in my opinion. In some other languages, like Spanish for instance, the words for “am” and “be” are separate and consequently carry entirely different meanings. For example, “Yo soy” vs. “Yo estoy.” “Yo soy” is “I am.” “Yo estoy” is more like “I am being” or “I am feeling” or “I am experiencing a state of…” In Spanish, you might say, Yo soy Liz, not Yo estoy Liz. You are Liz, you are not being Liz. Likewise, you might say, Yo estoy cansado, not Yo soy cansado. You are feeling exhausted, you are not exhaustion itself.
In addition, consider that the expression “broke” also doubles in meaning. On the one hand, it describes a lack of funds, and on the other, it is synonymous with “damaged.” Now as a rational, intelligent and sensitive adult human being, imagine the realistic impact that this repeated mantra, “I am broke,” has on the psyche… “I am brokenness, itself.” Whoa! No, you’re not. So, cut it out. That can’t be good.
That’s Reason #1 to quit the “I am broke” club. It’s linguistically flawed and bad for your spirit.
Who’s Got Time?
Next, besides not saying that you don’t have money, I’m also going to ask you (or, more accurately, gently push you, maybe even shove you) to also stop saying that you don’t have time… ‘cause that’s just nonsense. We all have time and money, and spend each constantly. You cannot help but to.
The clock only moves in one direction. Time goes whether you like it or not. Same with money. There’s always something you’re paying for. How else do you figure all those receipts got into your pocket or on your credit card statement, hmmm? Despite the supposed scarcity, I am certain that you have both time and money. So the real question we should ask is: What are you spending your time and money on? In other words, what are your priorities?
The critical emphasis here is on the word, priority. How you allocate your time and money is an expression of your values and concerns. Yep, that’s gonna sting a bit once you give it a serious look. Brace yourself. Some expenses will be on plain old sustenance: rent, food, electricity. Fair enough. Other purchases will lead you to discover that you’ve actually set aside a time and money budget for – whether consciously or not – escapism, entertainment and retail therapy. Daaang, how much did you spend on those [Fill in the blank: Drinks, shoes, gadgets, etc.]? These would be the same folks who then say they don’t have time or money for [Again, fill in the blank: skill-building, health and fitness, personal relationships, etc.].
Some Real Life Examples
A guy tells me he wants to professionalize as an artist and isn’t sure how to get started. I let him know one of my best classes is now available online for people exactly in his position. Plus, it’s over 50%-off what my live workshops cost. Without much consideration, he concludes that it’s out of his range. Free is more in tune with his budget, as in zero investment in himself! So, he commits instead to going nowhere with his dream project.
A woman says she wants to grow her business. Naturally, this is possible, provided that the work is put in. I recommend a series of manageable baby steps but these don’t happen because, she says, she just hasn’t the time. Her typical day is too filled with urgent tasks (which happen to include meaningless stress, general “busy” work and surfing the web for amusement). Consequently, she concedes that her goals just aren’t meant to be.
A young man is frustrated about being the newest student in his jiu jitsu class. He’s getting bulldozed during the live sparring sessions. I tell him to pick up a great beginner’s book that I know has helped lots of people. At about $25, he quickly determines that it’s too expensive. My inner monologue: Dude, are you serious?!? He can’t “afford” twenty five bucks but he reasons that he can afford to continue to get roughed up and twisted into a pretzel unnecessarily.
SMH, people. S… M… H…
These are all true stories. Recurring ones too. How much are you allowing yourself to get metaphorically (or in the case of the martial arts newbie, literally) beat up in your field because you essentially don’t think your progress is “worth it”? Because you don’t want to concentrate the time, the money, the energy. I generally agree that you can’t judge a book by its cover but you can definitely judge a person by their excuses. And by judge, I don’t mean condemn. I mean you can accurately assess, even predict their future! People who conjure justifications for inaction and lack of commitment at the very least to themselves, you can bet will be in the same exact predicament this time next year – if not worse.
I know, sorry. Harsh! But these aren’t my rules, these are life’s rules. Just about every top speaker and leader regardless of area of expertise, from finance to spirituality, will tell you, “You’re either growing or you’re dying.” And that’s not to say that the evidence of one’s accomplishments will always be visible or public. We’re not all going to appear on a magazine cover. We’re not all going to receive a fancy certificate. We’re not all going to be exceptionally moneyed. However, we can all in our own circumstances, our jobs, and our neighborhoods, do more to make personal progress and consequently contribute to broader community advancement. You know in your heart – by your stockpiling of excuses or by your vaporization of all excuses – whether or not you’re showing up on your own behalf.
The Choice is Yours
Finally, as we reach the end of this blog post, I humbly offer you the answer! Well, an answer at least, a strong one that goes back to phraseology. Admittedly, we’ve all been trapped in the rut of imagining that we don’t have the time or money to make moves. What can we do about it? Here’s a deceptively easy fix. Call yourself out. Own your choices. Instead of saying “I can’t afford it” or “I don’t have time,” i.e. you’re helpless against your circumstances, boo hoo, try saying this. Say it right now as a matter of fact, out loud: “That’s not a priority right now.”
See the difference? You may have even felt the difference. It was good, no? More active, liberating, powerful, even? Yes, that’s right. You’re not a victim anymore. You’re in charge. You’re responsible for your options. You’re responsible for your outcomes. Nobody else. Be clear about exactly what you are saying “No” to, and more importantly, be appropriately confident in what you are instead saying “Yes” to.
Here’s a bonus. After saying, “That’s not a priority right now,” follow that with, “I’m focusing my resources on [Fill in the blank].” A true-to-life example could be: “Bar-hopping isn’t a priority right now. I’m focusing my resources on my education.” Not a bad way to turn down a night on the town. It’s real. And your true friends can join you in supporting that mission.
On the flipside, you might learn something about yourself. For instance, if alternatively you had said: “My education isn’t a priority right now. I’m focusing my resources on bar-hopping.” Oh, are you? That would be interesting, wouldn’t it? Admit it and face the facts head on. You’d find that you can afford the class, you just don’t think it’s as important as getting your swerve on.
Other scenarios may be more subtle and therefore more complex. Certain values may have to surpass others, depending on the conditions. “Quality of life isn’t a priority right now. I’m focusing my resources on building my business.” vs. “Building my business isn’t a priority right now. I’m focusing my resources on quality of life.” Whatever the case, your selections will, all the same, require the expenditure of time and money. Yet what you choose may have completely different effects on your life situation. Specifically, the future of your life situation. Still, each result will have to be claimed in full by none other than its decision-maker, YOU.
Contrary to your former beliefs and some still commonly held practices, you’re now fresh out of excuses – fortunately! You are a fully operational, capable, ready-to-go and grown-up individual. Every choice is yours to make, especially when it comes to the distribution of your time and money. As it turns out, you are not broke (or broken) after all. Nope. Not even close.
Theme music to bring the point home. Press play to hear “Wake Up and Live” by Bob Marley.
Everyone that understands this and is ready to celebrate their newly realized freedom, please feel free to share this post with your friends and social networks. Thank you!