CHAPTER 23: LIFE'S STEERING WHEEL
Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.
-- Robert F. Bennett
The Leading Cause of Poorness
If poorness were an illness, take a guess as to its cause. Of course, lack of money. But is that a cause or a symptom of the underlying problem? Lack of education? Lack of opportunity, positive role models, or determination? Nope. Those are all symptoms. If you retrace poverty's footprints you will find that poorness starts at the exact same place: choice.
Poor choices are the leading cause of poorness.
The Heart of the Problem
As my income elevated, so did my cholesterol.
My doctor's preferred method of attack was prescription drugs. I refused because I wanted to fix problems, not mask symptoms.
If you approach wealth like a big pharmaceutical company and attack symptoms while neglecting problems, you will not succeed. Feeling tired? Take this pill. Want to lose weight? Another pill. The problems are ignored while the symptoms are addressed in catatonic cycles. I refused cholesterol medication because it addressed the symptom, not the problem. The problem is poor diet; cholesterol is the symptom.
One addresses the symptom (the gas tank leaks), while the other addresses the problem (there's a hole in the gas tank).While adding fuel addresses the symptom, it doesn't solve the problem. When the behavior stops the problem remains.
If you aren't where you want to be, the problem is your choices. Your circumstances are the symptoms of those choices.
For example, everyone loves success quotes.
- The will to persevere is often the difference between failure and success.
- Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.
The problem with these quotes is they're asymptomatic. They're ambiguous to the real issue, and that is choice.
The first quote deals with perseverance. How do you persevere? You react from conscious choice. Not just one choice but hundreds, perhaps thousands. You cannot choose to persevere with one choice. You cannot wake up one day and say, “Oh, today I will choose to persevere.” It must happen everyday, not just once! Perseverance is architected by many choices that fabricate lifestyle. If you quit after two tries, have you persevered? Can you claim perseverance after one failure?
Likewise, the second quote suffers from the same conundrum. Determination is not a solitary choice but thousands of them. You cannot decide to be determined; it must occur repeatedly, concertedly, and with commitment.
The point of this dissertation is that Fastlane success isn't one choice. It's hundreds. And when you line a string of choices together, they create your process, and your process will create your lifestyle. Lifestyle choices will make you a millionaire.
Your Life's Steering Wheel
Your choices spark the fires of future circumstances.
The fabric of your life is sewn by the cumulative consequences of your choices-millions of them-that you set into motion.
You act, react, believe, disbelieve, perceive, misperceive, and all of it engineers your existence.
Blame yourself and the choices you've made. Yes, you are as you have chosen.
It took me 26 years of life and a blizzard to grasp the horsepower of my choices.
I chose to get the job. I chose to pursue low-rent businesses. I chose to continue life in Chicago. I chose to avoid corporate after college. I chose my friends. I chose my business pursuits. I chose all of it, and it engineered my life to that exact moment. I awoke to the epiphany that I was the driver of my life and my problems were the consequences of my choices. I steered myself there!
Yes, you are exactly where you decide to be. And if that's unhappiness, you need to start making better choices.
Choose to Be Wealthy or Choose to Be Poor
There's a big chasm between thinking wealth and choosing wealth. You can choose the Sidewalk, the Slowlane, or the Fastlane. You can choose to align your life with greater purpose, or choose to let life live you. You can choose to believe these theories or choose not to. The common denominator is YOU.
Your steering wheel (choice) is the most powerful control you have in your life. Why do I hate the Slowlane? Because it denies choice and gives it to someone else-the company, the boss, the stock market, the economy, and a whole host of others.
People don't choose to be poor. They make poor decisions that slowly assemble into a poorness puzzle. Retrace the footprints to poverty and it happens slowly, systematically, and methodically, under a steady diet of poor choices.
- The choice to cheat on your exams or study.
- The choice to squander college because your parents paid for it.
- The choice to lie or to be honest.
- The choice to drive without insurance.
- The choice to befriend bad people over good people.
- The choice to watch TV or read a book.
- The choice to drive 105 mph in a 55 mph zone.
- The choice to rob the corner convenience store.
- The choice to overindulge in food or liquor.
- The choice to believe in people with no track record.
- The choice to cheat on your significant other.
- The choice to buy on credit.
- The choice to get high every weekend.
- The choice to hire a contractor without a background check.
- The choice to play video games 30 hours a week.
- The choice to get married after four weeks of dating.
- The choice to go into business with incompetent partners.
The Road to Treason Is Always Open
I survived a life-or-death coin flip.
In reflection, my choice to race was a treasonous choice. Treasonous choices are actions that do irreparable harm to your life, your dreams, and your goals. The consequences of treasonous choices throw life onto unintended detours and hazardous roads that are difficult to escape and oftentimes, permanent.
Had I killed someone, I would have spent years in jail, spent half my fortune on lawyers, and had to live with the painful reality that I stole someone's life. Life would have instantly transformed, with new circumstances unveiled. No amount of money can keep you from prison or purge your soul from the foolish horror of taking someone's life. Treasonous choices change your life forever.
Your life's steering wheel is a dangerous weapon. Three inches is all it takes. Jerk your life's wheel three tiny inches while speeding and you can steer your life onto a path of no return, or worse, smack into a concrete wall. Like an automobile's steering wheel, your choices are super-sensitive. Unfortunately, treasonous roads always have a green light.
People drown in the misery of their own choices while neglecting to acknowledge they are the cause.
What's Chosen Today, Impacts Forever
“You'll see” is my mother's code for “I'm right, you're wrong, and time will uncover that truth.”
As a rebellious teen, Mother lobbed a “you'll see” at me after she surrendered to my pleadings for an off-road motorcycle. Mother didn't like the idea and levied her missive “you'll see.” It didn't take long for that “you'll see” to come true.
Many times I fantasize about going back in time to that day and bitch-slapping that arrogant kid-I wish I could tell him how things are; I wish I could have him read this chapter; I wish he would understand the trajectory, the horsepower, of his choices.
Our choices have consequences that transcend decades. This transcendence is horsepower. Every day my discomfort reminds me of that fateful day when I chose poorly. And today, I'm still paying the mortgage of that choice, a mortgage that never amortizes.
The Butterfly Effect
Can you make a choice this instant that can forever alter the trajectory of your future? You can, and it can be the difference between poverty and wealth. When you make minor permutations (choices) that deviate from your initial conditions, profound effects transpire over time.
Think of it like a golf club striking a golf ball. When the clubface hits the ball square, the ball goes straight and heads toward the hole. But when the clubface is rotated a fraction of one degree, the ball's trajectory lands far off course. At impact, the divergence is minor, but as the ball travels further it widens and widens until the gap is so large that getting back on track is nearly impossible. A bad choice can set your trajectory off by only one degree today, but over years the error is magnified.
Choices have this type of divergence over time and it's called “impact differential.”
For example, when I moved to Phoenix from Chicago, the “impact differential” exploded as time passed. Had I not made this choice my life would be significantly different.
I also chose to get a dead-end job as a limo driver, which opened my eyes to a business need. That too was a choice that had extraordinary horsepower and created positive “impact differential.”
Recognize that every day you make decisions that will ripple through the years. Question is, will your choice ripple to happiness and wealth? Or depression and poverty?
The Erosion of Horsepower
think about it in terms of an asteroid that is on a collision course with Earth. When an asteroid is millions of miles out in space (representing your youthful choices) a simple one-degree change in trajectory will save the Earth from destruction. This is the power of horsepower. For us older folks, the asteroid is closer to Earth (and closer to our death), which weakens the potency of our choices. A one-degree change isn't as effective, and for the same potency, it needs to be 10 degrees.
The branches symbolize the consequences of your choices. Near the trunk of the tree, the branches are thick, reflecting the decisions you've made early in life, while the top branches are thin, symbolizing decisions near the end of your life.
As the branches ascend topside through time, they get thinner and weaker. They don't have enough power to bend the tree in new directions because the trunk is thick with age, experience, and reinforced habits.
Whatever you decide today impacts tomorrow, weeks, months, years, decades, and yes, generations.
- The leading cause of poorness is poor choices.
- The steering wheel of your life is your choices.
- You are exactly where you chose to be.
- Success is hundreds of choices that form process. Process forms lifestyle.
- Choice is the most powerful control you have in your life.
- Treasonous choices forever impact your life negatively.
- Your choices have significant horsepower, or trajectory into the future.
- The younger you are, the more potent your choices are and the more horsepower you possess.
- Over time, horsepower erodes as the consequences of old choices are thick and hard to bend.
CHAPTER 24: WIPE YOUR WINDSHIELD CLEAN
Until we see what we are, we cannot take steps to become what we should be.
-- Charlotte P. Gilman
Wipe Your Windshield Clean
While pumping gas into my Lamborghini, a teenager once asked me if he could snap some pictures.
“I gotta get as many pictures as possible cuz I'll never be able to afford one of these.”
This young man made a choice to believe he would never own a Lamborghini.
He couldn't see beyond his own windshield. Is this a small choice? A treasonous choice? A choice of significant horsepower?
This seemingly innocent choice of perception has the excruciating horsepower of treason. It is a crippler of dreams. The teen's choice of perception was poor, and because of it, it would forever lead him to mediocre results.
is jury had already deliberated, and the verdict was in: An extravagant car would be always “out of his league,” and therefore, his choices would reflect that mindset.
Unfortunately, he didn't understand the debilitating effect of being clouded to our own self constructed windshield into the world.
The Choice of Perception
What motivates you to act and choose? We have two types of choices:
- Choices of perception (thought patterns)
- Choices of action (choosing to read)
Choices of perception serve as the impetus to choices of action. If you believe and perceive a certain idea, you are likely to act in accordance with that belief. The difference between the teen at the gas station and me was this: When I witnessed my first Lamborghini as a kid, I thought, “Some day, I'm gonna own one of those!” My choice of perception was strong and further manifested into choices of action that reflected that perception.
You see, you choose to interpret events in your particular frame of reference. Your mind labels and categorizes events that surround you. For example, when someone says “dog,” you might see a black Labrador, while other people see a poodle. When you see a mansion on the beach, do you think “lucky?” or “I'll never own something like that?”
The first step in making better choices starts with your choice of perception, because your actions evolve from those perceptions. If you lose your job, you can frame it as a negative or a positive. When you're caught speeding, you can be angry or thankful. The choice of perception and its choices start right between your ears and drive themselves into choices of action.
Your Perception Is Not the Reality
I asked, “$10,000 a month? Really?”
Thinking I was hooked, he tried to sell me a network marketing opportunity for some herbal supplement. I interrupted him and laughed “Listen, I make $10,000 every two days, so for me your opportunity would be a 90% pay cut. Do you think I'm interested?” His eyes popped out of their sockets, and after he picked them off the table, he scampered away like a rat without his cheese.
In this brief exchange, this man made an assumption: $10,000 a month is a lot of money! It isn't. Money is infinite. Fastlane opportunists can drive opportunities that yield six and seven figures monthly. The difference is perception.
I remember the day when I thought $10,000 was a lot of money. It was perception and not reality. Earning $1 million in one month is possible if you make the right choices and drive the right Fastlane roads. This perception leads to better choices of action. That guy at the party? He chose a crowded road. Instead of creating a multilevel marketing company, he joined one. Instead of serving the masses through Effection, he joined the masses.
Wiping the Windshield Clean Starts with Language
“I got engaged last Friday! I had been struggling with this for some time but decided to give marriage one more try. She's a great girl and deserves the best, and I think I can give it to her.”
When you read this statement do you see assured success? Or pending failure?
This language spells trouble. What would have convinced me otherwise?
“I got engaged last Friday! I had been struggling with this for some time but I decided to get married for the last time. She's a great girl and deserves the best, and I will give it to her.”
Notice the difference. One is flimsy and the other is firm. Both might seem to say the same thing, but one implies possible failure while the other implies committed success.
Your internal language carries weight. If a brain surgeon told you before surgery, “I'm think I can operate on you and I will try to succeed,” you should freak out and trade in your hospital gown for some eternal nighties.
Altering your words and thought perceptions are akin to wiping your windshield clean and seeing beyond your own sphere of sight.
What language do you use in your mind?
“I never …
I can't …
If only …”
Or do you choose better words?
I will … I can.”
Is it possible to earn $1 million in one month? Sure it is, just ask the guy who does it. What makes his windshield different from yours? Good choices of perception translate into good choices of action. To change your perception is to change your future actions.
The goal of this book is to change your perception about wealth and money. Believe that retirement at any age is possible. Believe that old age is not a prerequisite to wealth. Believe that a job is just as risky as a business. Believe that the stock market isn't a guaranteed path to riches. Believe that you can be retired just a few years from today.
So how do you upload new beliefs and overwrite the old ones? Find the information, resources, and the people that align with the new beliefs. For myself, I pursued the stories of those who acquired wealth fast and soon learned that “Get Rich Quick” wasn't a myth. I never found that 19-year-old who got rich piling money into mutual funds. However, I did find 24-year-old millionaire inventors, business founders, authors, and Web site owners.
If you want extraordinary results, you're going to need extraordinary thinking. Unfortunately, “extraordinary” is not found trapped in society's gravity of thinking and the beliefs that fuel them.
Steering Tips: Better Choices and a Better Life
Changing your life starts with changing choices. The Fastlane vehicle to wealth is driven on choice, not asphalt. You start making better choices using two strategies dependent on the decision's gravity.
- Worse Case Consequence Analysis (WCCA)
- Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM)
WCCA is designed to steer you away from perilous detours and treasonous choices. Conversely, WADM is designed to help you make better big decisions with multiple contingencies. This dual-pronged attack works on the choice extremes: a prevention of disastrous choices and a facilitator of good choices.
Worse Case Consequence Analysis (WCCA )
requires you to become forward-thinking and an analyzer of potential consequences.
answer three questions about every decision of consequence:
- What is the worst-case consequence of this choice?
- What is the probability of this outcome?
- Is this an acceptable risk?
I use WCCA extensively. For example, several years ago, one woman: “Make love to me.”
What is the worse case outcome of this choice?
- I could get a sexually transmitted disease.
- I could get her pregnant and be locked to this person for the rest of my life.
- I could be falsely accused of rape.
What is the probability of these outcomes?
- STD: 10% (based on her outward promiscuity!).
- Pregnancy: 1%.
- Falsely accused: 0.5%.
Is this an acceptable risk? I immediately reasoned HELL NO. The 10% or the 1%-I reasoned the risk was too great and that risk had outcomes that could change my life FOREVER.
The Weighted Average Decision Matrix (WADM)
The second decision tool I use compares and quantifies big decisions. You know them: Should you move or stay? Quit or continue? Go back to college or not? For WADM, you need paper and a pencil. Or alternatively, you can visit HelpMyDecision.com and let the web work the calculation for you. Keep in mind, WADM is for big decisions, so you might use this a few times a year whereas WCCA can be used daily.
With WADM, decision-making is easy as it isolates and prioritizes factors relevant to your decisions and then quantifies each decision with a value. The higher value reflects the better decision. For example, if you had a choice between moving to Detroit or Phoenix, WADM would yield a simple numerical valuation like Detroit 88 and Phoenix 93. Based on the number, Phoenix is the better choice. While WADM is subjective and requires your unfettered objectivity, it is a great tool for identifying which choice is more favorable to your preferences.
One day you want to move, the next you want to stay. Usually, this waffling occurs when there are too many decision factors within each choice.
Get a pencil and paper. Make three columns on your paper, one headed “Factors” and the other two for each choice, “Detroit” and “Phoenix.” Second, what decision factors are important in your decision? Weather? Schools? Cost of living? Being near family? Write down all factors relevant to the decision, no matter how small. Write these factors in the “Factor” column.
Thirdly, next to each decision factor, weigh its importance to the decision from 1 through 10, with 10 being the most important. For example, you are seasonally depressed, so weather is assigned a 10 in your matrix. Subsequently, your children are almost 18 so you decide that a good school system isn't a top priority and it receives a 3. Do this for all factors.
After each criterion is ranked 1 through 10, grade each choice 1 through 10 for each decision factor.
The school system in Detroit? You give it a 4. In Phoenix, you give the school system a 5, as you determine it is slightly better.
Next, for each row, multiply the weight times the grade and put that number next to the grade in parentheses.
The final step is simply to add up the graded weight columns to get a final number for each choice.
The WADM is a great tool for making big decisions as long as you are perfectly honest with the factor weighting. I've used WADM many times in my life to bring clarity to tough decisions. It proved I needed to move to Phoenix, it offered insight into why it was time to sell my business, and it even steered me clear of some bad business investments.
Get Your Eyes off the Rearview Mirror
Today is the starting line for the rest of your life. Yes, today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. The problem with the past is that we remember memories we shouldn't, and we don't forget what we should. If your eyes are stuck in the rearview mirror, you're stuck in the past. If you're stuck in the past, you're not looking ahead. If you're not looking ahead, you can't hit the mark of your future.
The universe doesn't care about your past. It is blind to it. The universe doesn't care that I wore pink pants in high school.
One person and one person only weaponizes past transgressions: you.
No matter how many times it's flipped, the next flip is always random. Probability cannot be attached to a future flip based on the past.
Is Your Memory Treasonous?
Your memories have the same makeup as your choices. They're treasonous, muted, or accelerative. Unlike choice's consequences, you have a choice how your past is classified. The records of the past can be sealed.
“Business ownership is a big risk. I'll never do that again”
“Next time, I'm going to be selling franchises, not buying them.”
You have a choice in framing failure and framing the past. It serves or hinders.
When I reflect on my own failures, I let them serve me to effect future change. It's a part of the responsibility/accountability process. What did I learn? What can I change in the future? What should I forget?
After I crashed my Viper and nearly killed myself, I remember the haze of almost losing everything. I didn't want to repeat those feelings, and their memories served my future to effect change: Street racing is for morons.
While the consequences of our choices can't be manipulated, you can manipulate your memories to serve you.
If your past defines your existence, it will be impossible for you to become the person you need to become in the future.
- Your choices of action manifest from your choices of perception.
- What you choose to perceive, or not perceive, will manifest itself to a choice of action, or inaction.
- You can change your choice of perception by aligning yourself with those who experience the perception as reality.
- Worst Case Consequence Analysis helps avoid treasonous choices.
- The Weighted Average Decision Matrix can help you make better big decisions by clarifying alternatives and their internal factors.
- The universe has no memory, only you do.
- Your past can be accelerative or treasonous. You choose the classification.
- If your eyes are transfixed to the past, you can't become the person you need to become in the future.
CHAPTER 25: DEODORIZE FLATULENT HEADWINDS
Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.
-- Oscar Wilde
The Fastlane's Natural Headwind
The greatest invention of mankind was the airplane because it defied the natural force of gravity and seemingly violated the laws of physics. How could something so heavy float in the air?
“Flying is impossible.”
“You guys are nuts.”
“You are wasting your time.”
Before they could even pursue flying, the Wright brothers had to break free of society's natural headwind-the natural social conditioning that impregnates all young minds.
Go into a kindergarten class and ask the kids how many of them can sing. EVERY hand will go up. Fast-forward 13 years and ask the same class of seniors the same question. Only a few hands will go up. What changed? The kindergarten kids believed they could sing because no one had told them otherwise.
We must not hear the naysayers, because they have been conditioned by society. Society will grind a constant headwind at the grille of your vehicle. You can't worry about deviating from social norms, because the norm is to be two paychecks from broke. If you want to push beyond average results produced by average people, you'll need to adopt an uncommon approach that doesn't fall in the favor of “everyone.” The more uncanny and exceptional you strive to be, the more you need to fight through social indoctrination.
Extraordinary wealth will require you to have extraordinary beliefs.
Turn Your Back to Farting Headwinds
After graduating from college, I was expected to find a good job. I didn't and instead dove into entrepreneurial ventures.
My family thought I was crazy and proclaimed, “You're wasting a five-year education!”
Women wouldn't date me because I broke the professional, “college-educated” mold the fairy tale espoused.
Going Fastlane and building momentum will require you to turn your back at the people who fart headwinds in your direction.
You have to break free of society's gravitational force and their expectations. If you aren't mindful to this natural gravity, life can denigrate into a viscous self-perpetuating cycle, which is society's prescription for normal: Get up, go to work, come home, eat, watch a few episodes of Law and Order, go to bed … then repeat, day after day after day. Before you know it, 45 years have passed and you need another 25 just to make your financial plan work. Time passes, dreams die, and what remains? An old withered body forlorn for what could have been.
Who farts headwinds? They are:
- Friends and family who just don't get it.
- Educational institutions that preach Slowlane dogma.
- Parents who are conditioned to believe wealth is for other people.
- Slowlane gurus who claim your house is the best investment.
- Slowlane gurus who say $100 invested today will be worth $10 million in 50 years.
- Your environment.
Escaping Human Headwind Bloviators
People who don't empower your goals are human headwind bloviators. They add friction to the journey.
When you spout excitement over actions or ideas, bloviators react with doubt and disbelief and use conditioned talking points such as, “Oh that won't work,” “Someone is already doing it,” and “Why bother?”
In motivational circles, they call them “dream stealers.”
You must turn your back on them. Every entrepreneur has bloviators in their life.
Remember, these people have been socially conditioned to believe in the preordained path. They don't know about The Fastlane, nor do they believe it. Anything outside of that box is foreign, and when you talk Fastlane, you may as well be speaking Klingon.
As a producer, you are the minority, while consumers are the rest. To be unlike “everyone” (who isn't rich), you (who will be rich) require a strong defense; otherwise, their toxicity infects your mindset.
Commiserating with habitual, negative, limited thinkers is treasonous. Uncontrolled, these headwinds lead directly to the couch and the video game console. Yes, the old, “If you hang out with dogs, you get fleas.”
This dichotomy makes you a blossoming flower that needs protection, water, and plenty of sun. Negative friends, family, or coworkers are dark clouds. Defend yourself or suffer the consequence of slow assimilation to mediocrity.
Escaping Environmental Headwinds
What are environmental headwinds?
For me, it was Chicago. I was seasonally depressed and needed sun for motivation.
I escaped and moved to one of the sunniest places on the planet.
I made a choice to turn my environmental headwind into a tailwind.
Another headwind could be your work environment. If your hated job drains the life out of you, it's a headwind.
Creating Accelerative Winds
My headwind was my environment. For you, it might be negative friends or other Slowlane influences.
When you turn your back on these people, you break the headwind.
When you associate with people who empower your goals, you create a wind at your back and build momentum.
Positive people nurture your growth, sooth your failures, and invest in your dreams. Good people are conduits to your dreams, not just in motivational fuel, but in extending your opportunity reach.
People are like roads-they can either bring opportunity or distress into your life. The quality of these roads solely depends on the quality of the person.
Think of the relationships in your life like an army platoon readying for battle. Who are you going to war with?
How? Join entrepreneur clubs, attend networking events, ally yourself with like-minders, get yourself around people who subscribe to a Fastlane, anything is-possible mindset, and decide who you want on your team of warriors. Read books and autobiographies of those who have the kind of success you want. Find a mentor. Join entrepreneur forums, like the Fastlane Forum! Not a week goes by when someone doesn't email me, “This forum changed my life!” That's a tailwind!
Folks, this is war and your life is in the balance.
You need warriors who are impervious to the Death Star and can deactivate the Slowlane tractor beam, not fearful pansies who drop their cargo at the first sign of Imperial Slowlaners.
Reflect on your environment and your relationships, and recognize the headwinds.
Then choose accelerative action: Can these headwinds be removed, ignored, or managed? Unlike natural wind, you are the arbiter of your headwinds. Success follows those who break the headwind and put it at their back.
Significant Other or Significant Distraction?
The worst headwind can be the person who sits in the passenger seat of your vehicle. They sit and lecture you on your dumb ideas and remind you of your failures.
Or they don't say anything and just distract you: They fiddle with the radio, adjust the climate control, roll the windows up and down, and hum old Duran Duran tunes.
Or they play the role of a back seat driver: “Charles! Charles! Do this! Do that! Turn there! No, dummy!”
By talking with other aspiring entrepreneurs, I've learned that significant others (husbands, wives, fiancés, girlfriends, boyfriends) can be some of the biggest headwinds out there.
Having a life partner who doesn't ascribe to your life's ideals and philosophies is like towing a trailer full of wet manure. If your partner doesn't subscribe to an entrepreneurial philosophy and toes the Slowlane road, can you expect to grow together in unison? Someone fighting with you in your corner is accelerative; if they serve as the opposition, they become treasonous.
Why compound the journey by weighing down the car with someone who doesn't share your destination? Are you in the right relationship with a person who believes in you and your goals?
- The natural gravity of society is not to be exceptional, but average.
- Toxic relationships drain energy and detract from your goals to be extraordinary.
- The people in your life are like your comrades in a battle platoon. They can save you, help you, or destroy you.
- Good relationships are accelerative to your process, while bad relationships are treasonous.
CHAPTER 26: YOUR PRIMORDIAL FUEL: TIME
Time isn't a commodity, something you pass around like a cake. Time is the substance of life. When anyone asks you to give your time, they're really asking for a chunk of your life.
-- Antoinette Bosco
The $6 Bucket of Chicken
Why will most people never get rich? Look no further than a $6 bucket of chicken.
A major fast-food restaurant offered a free bucket of chicken to anyone who had an Internet coupon.
People flocked to restaurant locations and waited for hours, all for a free $6 bucket of chicken.
Know anyone who would stand in line for hours just to get something free?
Are you one of them?
What the hell is wrong with people? I'll tell you: These people value their time at zero. It's free.
Like the air we breathe, they're convinced that time is abundant and in endless supply.
They live as if they were immortal. They are certain that time, the fuel of their life, never runs empty.
I wonder if these people had three weeks left to live, would they be standing in line for a bucket of chicken?
What if they had three months? Three years? At what level of mortality would they rule that standing in line for three hours for free chicken is not good use of time?
The greasy chicken truth: Value your time poorly and you will be poor. When time is wasted as a lifestyle choice you will be stranded in places you don't want to be.
Show me someone who spends hours online playing Mafia Wars or Farmville, and I'll show you someone who probably isn't very successful.
The Titanic: How Fast Is Your Ship Sinking?
People standing in line to save money ought to hold a picket sign announcing to the world, “I value money more than my life.”
A great example to time's reigning dominance over money comes from the 1997 movie, Titanic.
Your money can't save you anymore than it can save me. Powerful. In those eight seconds, the true value of time is exposed and we intersect with the certainty to our own ticking death-clock. You see, once your time is gone, you're dead. And when your clock ceases to tick, no amount of cash will save you from the end.
Time is the greatest asset you own, not money, not the 1969 restored Mustang, not grandpa's old coin collection. Time. The fact is all of us are on a sinking ship. Is your time treated as such? Is it treated fairly or carelessly? Or is your primordial fuel squandered as if the tank will never run empty?
You Were Born Rich and Will Die Broke
Time is the great equalizer. You were born with a full tank of gas. There are no refilling stations, and your one fill-up occurred the moment you took your first breath. Time can't be created outside of your mortal limits.
The greatest theft of all humanity is to act as if our time on this Earth is infinite when it isn't.
The reality is that time is deathly scarce, while money is richly abundant.
Now, since you don't have 8,000 years of life, isn't it logical to conclude that money is an abundant resource while time is not?
The irony of financial fortune is that no matter how much you have, you'll die flat broke. You cannot escape the continual combustion of time as your tank drips time every second. You can live in blissful happiness or in a miserable depression-time is indifferent and it just bleeds away. Since time is scarce, wouldn't it make sense not to waste 3 hours of your life for a $6 bucket of chicken?
Indentured Time Is the Ransom of Free Time
“Free time” is yours to spend as you please: TV, a jog in the park, video games, sleeping, eating, vacation. If you're like most, your free time is lumped on evenings and weekends, where time is not exchanged for money.
“Indentured time” is the opposite: It's the total time spent earning money and the consequences of that spent time. When you awake in the morning, shower, dress, drive to the train station, wait, ride to work, and then work for eight hours-this is indentured time. When you spend your entire weekend “recharging” from the workweek, this is indentured time. Indentured time is actual work and the work you must do for the work. Morning rituals, traffic, compiling reports at home, solitary “recharges”-whatever time spent earning a buck is indentured time.
If you won the lottery, you'd quit your job because indentured time is no longer required and is suddenly replaced with free time.
Money buys free time and eliminates indentured time.
However, the irony of your free time is it isn't FREE; it's bought and paid for by your indentured time.
You enjoy a two-week vacation because it was paid for by a year of indentured time. You can relax with a cold beer on the couch because you paid for it earlier in the day with eight hours of indentured time.
Indentured time becomes the ransom of your free time.
The Right Time Versus the Wrong Time
There's the right time and the wrong time. The right time is free time; indentured time is the wrong time.
Remember, five indentured days for two free days is a bad trade!
If you were born into slavery, your life would be 100% indentured time with 0% free time. While total time can't be manipulated, you can manipulate your time ratio. Wouldn't it be nice to have one day of indentured time and six days of free time? If you can steal free time from the hands of indentured time, life will have more of the “right time” versus the “wrong time.”
Dump the Junk in the Trunk!
Unnecessary weight forces the car to work harder. Yet on our road trip to wealth, we're guilty of adding weight. Our vehicle is burdened with junk-in-the-trunk that coerces us to work harder. And when you work harder long enough, it wears you out and breaks you down. This debilitating weight is parasitic debt.
Parasitic debt is everything you owe the world. It is the excrement of Lifestyle Servitude. Your shiny new Infiniti financed at 60 monthly payments, your home mortgage financed over 30 years, your fancy designer clothes four months removed from out-of-fashion, and yes, even that insidious furniture that seemed like such a good idea at the time.
All of this crap creates servitude and forces indentured time. When you're forced to work, you limit choice, and limited choices close roads. Aside from my mother's creepy doll collection, nothing is more frightening than a parasite leeched to my neck, sucking my blood. Parasitic debt is a counterweight to your road trip; it's a bloodsucker that steals free time, energy, freedom, and health-all foes to true wealth.
Parasitic Debt DEVOURS Free Time
Any debt that forces you to work is reclassified from free time and shifts it to indentured time.
Debt needs a constant drip of blood, and that blood comes from your gas tank of life: time. And since time is fixed, an increase in indentured time comes from only one source: your free time.
The Cost of Parasitic Debt
The average American owes more than they are worth. Having a lifestyle built on credit creates Lifestyle Servitude in the form of indentured time. And because total time is finite, indentured time grows by pilfering from free time. Indentured time leads to the Sidewalk.
The next time you buy some fancy gadget on credit, know exactly what you are buying. You're buying parasitic debt that eats free time and excretes it into indentured time.
For example, if you buy an audio system that costs $4,000 and you make $10 per hour, That price is 400 hours of your free time.
Everything we buy hasn't one cost, but two:
- The actual dollar cost
- The free time transformed into indentured time.
The Law of Chocolate Chip Cookies
When I first moved out on my own, I quickly learned the Law of Chocolate Chip Cookies: If the cookies don't get into the grocery cart, they don't get home. And if they don't get home, they don't get in my mouth. And if they don't get in my mouth, they don't transform into belly fat.
Parasitic debt follows the same law.
Control parasitic debt by controlling its source: instant gratification, a trait of the Sidewalk.
Will this be obsolete in six months and land in the garage with the rest of the junk?
If the cost of that product doesn't make it to your credit card, it doesn't become parasitic. You become a protector of free time!
Think! Will this purchase TAKE FREEDOM?
Will I own this or will it own me?
A Poor Valuation of “Free Time” Leads to Poorness
Rich or poor, time is equally possessed, shared, and consumed by all. Every day, you use it. I use it. Your neighbor uses it. No one gets more and no one gets less. Twenty-four hours for everybody. No one has an unfair advantage. You, me, we all have 24 hours to consume, expire, and spend. Time is the ultimate equalizer
Then why do so few get rich while the rest wallow from paycheck to paycheck? The distinction lies in the valuation of free time, the chosen roadmap, and the acquisition of parasitic debt. Guess the behaviors-rich or poor?
- This person sleeps until noon.
- This person watches hours of reality TV.
- This person drives two hours to save $20.
- This person buys airline tickets with multiple layovers to save $100.
- This person spends hours surfing social networks and gossip blogs.
- This person is a Level 10 Druid in World of Warcraft.
- This person watches every Chicago Cubs game (just kidding, all you loyal Cubs fans).
Behind the tangled roots of poorness, you will find a poor valuation of free time, which breeds from bad choices.
“Time losers” are poor evaluators of time.
Fastlaners are frugal with time, while Slowlaners are frugal with money.
Slowlaners use money as the sole criterion indecision-making:
Which job pays the most?
Where is the cheapest item?
How can I get some free chicken?
If you want to be rich, you have to start thinking rich.
- Fastlaners regard time as the king of all assets.
- Time is deathly scarce, while money is richly abundant.
- Indentured time is time you spend to earn money. Free time is spent as you please.
- Your lifespan is made up of both free time and indentured time.
- Free time is bought and paid for by indentured time.
- Fastlaners seek to transform indentured time into free time.
- Parasitic debt eats free time and excretes it as indentured time.
- Lifestyle extravagances have two costs: the cost itself and the cost to free time.
- Parasitic debt has to be stopped at the source: instant gratification.
CHAPTER 27: CHANGE THAT DIRTY, STALE OIL
Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.
-- Albert Einstein
Change the Oil Every 3,000 Miles
The first lesson of car ownership: Change the oil every 3,000 miles.
Frequent oil changes keep your car running efficiently;
The Fastlane road trip demands fresh oil changes. But what is oil? Oil is education. Knowledge. Street smarts. But be careful … it must be the right oil and for the right purpose.
Sidewalkers don't bother with oil. After 3,000 miles, they're done. Graduation is the last oil change.
Fastlaners oil their vehicles until they hit the junkyard.
Graduation Is Not the End; It Is the Beginning
Face it. What you know today is not enough to get you where you need to be tomorrow. You must constantly reinvent yourself, and reinvention is education.
Unfortunately, graduation traditionally signals the end of education. Regardless of your graduating age, adulthood begins. The party is over and real life begins. To cease learning at graduation is wealth suicide. Your most effective earning years happen AFTER graduation, so wouldn't it be smart to continue the educational process long after formal schooling?
has become dated and no longer applies to the current world. The world has moved on.
Education, your oil, is a critical component to your wealth road trip. When you continually inject yourself with new education, new skills, and new competencies, new roads open and things run smoothly. The right education has incredible horsepower.
In the Slowlane, education is used to elevate intrinsic value, while in the Fastlane it is used to facilitate and grow the business system.
The purpose of education within the Fastlane is to amplify the power of the money tree and the business system. You're not a cog in the wheel; you learn to build the wheel.
“I Don't Know How!”
Make the real world your university. Yes, you are your own university.
Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will validate this truth: You learn from engagement, from doing, and from getting out and taking repeated action, more so than from any book or professor.
Public enemy No. 1 on the most used excuses list is, “I don't know how!”
Well, why don't you know how? I'll tell you why.
You don't know because you haven't taught yourself how, nor have you wanted to “know how” badly enough. You see, it is easier to relent under the weight of “I don't know how” than it is to actively pursue the knowledge. In today's information society, there is absolutely no excuse not to find out how.
I sought to change my oil frequently. I educated myself. I read books. I hit the library. I spent hours on the Web and read articles, tutorials, wikis. I sought and consumed knowledge.
My religious pursuit of knowledge kept me efficient in an ever-changing world and primed me for Fastlane opportunities. Education didn't end with graduation, it started. And best of all, my self-taught education was a twin-turbo acceleration into the Fastlane; my skills didn't come loaded with parasitic debt or conformity.
Education Is Freely Available
The greatest travesty of the free world is the under use of knowledge. Walk into your local bookstore and inhale. Smell that? That's the smell of infinite knowledge. Walk into your local library and look around. Amazing. Wall-to-wall books, free for the taking. Imagine if you could digest every book, every paragraph, and every sentence. Would “I don't know” be a detriment to your success?
I'm astonished that education is freely available, yet most choose not to take it. Education is unplucked fruit from a tree, and all it needs is a ladder. Yet, people cling to the limiting belief that “I can't afford education.”
Education is free for your consumption. Infinite knowledge is at your fingertips and the only thing preventing you from getting it is you. Yes, YOU. Turn off the TV, pick up a book, and read it. Quit playing Guitar Hero and hit the library. Quit playing Gameboy grab-ass and hit the books. A committed Fastlaner has his nose in a book weekly. He attends seminars. He trolls business forums. He's on Google, searching different topics and strategies.
You have the innate power to become an expert at anything not requiring physical talent.
What does it take? Your commitment of pursuit, and then the biggie: applying it.
I had two choices: Call a professional or learn to do it myself.
I viewed this as a fun challenge, so I opted to do it myself.
I hit the Internet and watched a few hours of video tutorials.
Over the next several days I practiced on cardboard boxes. Within a week I became proficient at faux painting. I built myself a skill in one week. Days earlier I was in the sphere of “I don't know how!” and days later, I possessed a new skill that I could aptly sell if I wanted.
Skills and expertise are waiting just for you. No one drops a book on your lap and gifts knowledge. You have to seek it, process it, and then use it. The acquisition and application of knowledge will make you rich.
So where do you find infinite knowledge inexpensively? Like the air you breathe, it's all around you, like an apple tree waiting to be plucked.
Books possess the greatest return for your educational dollar. Buy them, borrow them, or steal them. Just read them.
The greatest free repository of knowledge and the disabler of the “I can't afford to buy books” excuse. I got my start at the library. Internet forums: Find like-minded congregations and learn from those who have succeeded. Find tailwinds!
Can be pricey, but convenient.
Internet blogs/podcasts/screencasts/Web casts
Another excuse destroyer. Seminars: Good seminars bring good value, assuming they are sponsored by the right entities and not get-rich-quick gurus.
Cable TV has turned television educational. Deviate from the mindless reality TV garbage and tune in to channels with educational value: History, Discovery, Science, HGTV, Military, and National Geographic.
Continuing education classes
Offered mostly by community colleges, these classes offer a wide array of formal training in specific disciplines. Free magazines: Visit TradePub.com and FreeBizMag.com and sign up for free magazines subscriptions pertaining to your topic of interest.
Unfortunately, while infinite knowledge surrounds us, most people ignore it.
I used to work two jobs. EDUCATION changed my life. Before I learned how to put my money to work, I was doing all the work. I was so uneducated back then that I thought the answer to financial freedom was working two jobs. And that's what I did for many years. Finally, I realized there weren't enough hours in a day and I couldn't work enough hours in a month to reach financial security. There had to be a better way. I started looking for that way. When I realized that education and knowledge was the answer, I made up my mind to get an education. Before that, all I had was some “schooling.” Now I realized I needed some education.
The best investment you can make is in yourself. So be willing to pay for your education now, or be prepared to pay a much bigger price for your lack of education later. The choices you make today will determine your financial future. Be sure you make the right choice, because you will have to live with the results of that choice.
The world is in constant flux, and as it evolves your education must move with it or you will drift to mediocrity.
“I Don't Have Time!”
Tailgating the crutch of “I don't know how!” is “I don't have time!” Where on earth will you find time to change your oil? I mean seriously, between the full-time job and the two kids, where is there time? It's in between everything else.
Changing your oil isn't difficult when you attach it to existing activities of repetition and consistency. While time might be linear, it can be manipulated by performing double-duty on one time block, as in the old cliché, “Killing two birds with one stone.” Maximize time and you maximize wealth. Accomplish two objectives in one time frame. Make life your university. Here are some time-cheating, “life university” strategies.
Listen to audio books or financial news radio while stuck in traffic. Traffic nuisances transformed to education.
Absorb books, podcasts, and magazines while exercising at the gym. In between sets, on the treadmill, or on the stationary bike, exercise is transformed to education.
Bring something to read with you when you anticipate a painful wait: Airports, doctor's offices, and your state's brutal motor vehicle department. Don't sit there and twiddle your thumbs-learn!
Never throne without reading something of educational value. Extend your “sit time” (even after you finish) with the intent of learning something new, every single day. Toilet University is the best place to change your oil, since it occurs daily and the time expenditure cannot be avoided. This means the return on your time investment is infinite! Toilet time transformed to education.
If you can, read during work downtimes. During my dead job employment (driving limos, pizza delivery) I enjoyed significant “wait times” between jobs. While I waited for passengers, pizzas, and flower orders, I read. I didn't sit around playing pocket-poker; no, I read. If you can exploit dead time during your job, you are getting paid to learn. Dead-end jobs transformed to education.
put a television near your workspace and simultaneously work your Fastlane plan while the TV does its thing. While watching countless reruns of Star Trek, boldly going where no man has gone before, I simultaneously learned how to program Web sites. In fact, as I write this, I am watching the New Orleans.
Think about the time you already use. How many hours do you waste in the trivialities of life? This time doesn't need to be lost, wasted time. This time is ripe for Fastlane oil changes.
To start your oil recharge, choose a topic that interests you or an area in your life that needs improvement. Not good at sales or writing? Get to the library and start reading. Before I started writing Fastlane, I bought six books relating to publishing, writing, and authoring. I didn't blindly write and publish a book; I educated myself thoroughly during the process.
Set a goal to read at least 12 books per year, or one per month. If you are aggressive like me, you'll read a book every week. I can't stress enough that the more knowledge you consume, the more torque you create on the Fastlane road trip.
The $50,000 Oil Change
Twenty bucks is the average price of a book. Used books are less. Library books are free.
Oil changes are cheap. Yet, we continue to strap the chains of debt to our ankles and pay thousands of dollars for our oil changes.
I'm tired of sob stories from well-intended students who graduate from college with mountains of debt and can't get a job.
Take responsibility. You bought into the myth that college ensures a job. The fact is, when you allow market forces to drive your vehicle you're likely to end on the street.
No one cares. You're in debt because you borrowed. You're in debt because you bought into the lie and relinquished control. You bought the Slowlane. Were you forced to take loans? You don't have a job because you voted for the politicians who penalize producers and reward consumers. Face facts.
An expensive oil change that forces a lifetime of indentured time is stupid. Again, parasitic debt doesn't care about the source; it only wants to eat your free time, preferably seasoned with a little salt and pepper.
The Seminar Fail
Do you know what you're buying? Let me tell you. You're paying $50,000 for someone to explain a book that's found at the bookstore for 19 bucks.
A $50,000 seminar is exploitation of what we producers know: People are lazy. People want it handed to them. People don't want to read and connect the dots; they want it done for them. People want to be steered. They want someone to drive their vehicle. People want events, not process, and what better event than a $50,000 seminar!
Most high-dollar seminars are well-orchestrated marketing machines tailored to extract every dollar from your wallet. Most cheap seminars are day long up-sells to a more expensive seminar. And those well-suited presenters? They suffer the typical Paradox of Practice: rich from public speaking to millions but not rich from what they teach.
They leave with a nervous sense of self-satisfaction and a cute little sticker on their shirt that says “I invest in myself.”
A $50,000 oil change is as shocking as a $50,000 seminar. Good seminars are under $1,000 and are given by respectable experts, practitioners, and seminar firms. Good seminars are educational and don't come at the price of a new Cadillac Escalade. Bad seminars are hyped, high-pressure, and exploitative. Bad seminars are about making money and not about helping you.
How can you tell a good seminar from bad? The first tip off is price. Anything unreasonable is a warning sign that the provider is more interested in making money than education. The second is price again. Be wary of FREE. FREE usually means eight minutes of education and eight hours of up-sell to a higher-priced seminar.
Thirdly, who is giving it? Is it a professional speaker? Or someone who actually practices what he or she teaches?
- Fastlaners start their education at graduation, if not before.
- A Fastlaner's education serves to advance their business system and their money tree, not to raise intrinsic value.
- Fastlaner's aren't interested in being a cog in the wheel. They want to be the wheel.
- I don't know how” is an excuse dismantled by discipline.
- Infinite knowledge is everywhere and it's free. What's missing is discipline to assimilate it.
- You can become an expert in any discipline not requiring physical skills.
- Educational recharges can occur within time blocks already allocated for other objectives.
- Organizers of expensive seminars take advantage of Sidewalkers and disenfranchised Slowlaners by marketing empty promises as “events.”
CHAPTER 28: HIT THE REDLINE
If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.
-- Mario Andretti
Fastlane Winners Are Forged at the Redline
What's the Redline? The Redline is pure, unadulterated commitment.
Money trees, businesses, and systems aren't built overnight. It took Chuma years to construct his pyramid machine. Commitment is money-tree water, sun, fertilizer, and cultivation. I know commitment is a word likely to cause a riotous exodus. If you think Fastlane process is easy, stop now and go back to the Slowlane, which isn't easy either!
Remember, “Get Rich Easy” is a lure with a hook. The creation of a vibrant business is like raising a child from birth to adulthood. Like a parent has to commit to their children, you must commit to your system and your business.
Are You Interested or Committed?
Who doesn't want to worry about money? Unfortunately, it doesn't take any effort to be “interested” in wealth and financial security. Interest is kindergarten; it isn't enough, and those who have “interest” live in first gear.
To get out of first gear, you must make a concerted effort and a lineage of good choices to exploit the power of the Fastlane. There's a profound difference between interest and commitment.
Interest reads a book; commitment applies the book 50 times.
Interest wants to start a business; commitment files LLC paperwork.
Interest works on your business an hour a day Monday through Friday; commitment works on your business seven days a week whenever time permits.
Interest leases an expensive car; commitment rides a bike and puts the money into your system.
Interest is looking rich; commitment is planning to be rich.
Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, didn't build the most-used social networking site by being interested. He was committed. Thomas Edison didn't invent the light bulb by interest; he was committed. Interest is quitting after the third failure; commitment is continuing after the hundredth.
While I was building my company, my system, my surrogate, I was committed. I'd spend 12 hours a day for weeks perfecting and building my system. I'd forgo nights drinking with friends. I lived in a cramped studio apartment. I'd eat cheap pasta for lunch and dinner. I was ready to wash dishes to work my plan. While my friends were more concerned with bragging rights for having the fastest car on a racing videogame, I wanted financial freedom. I wanted a fast car in reality, not on a videogame. My friends were committed to being winners in a fantasy world, while I was committed to being a winner in the real world. Fastlane winners are forged at the Redline.
Distance Yourself from “Most People”
How bad do you want it? How willing are you? Are you willing to sleep in your car for it? Are you willing to live in a tiny apartment while your friends own houses?
Most people aren't willing, and it separates the winners from the losers. The idea of living in the rat race for 50 years has to be more painful than the idea of working your ass off to escape it.
You can have mediocre comfort now or meteoric comfort later.
The Fastlaner trades short-term comforts with the foreknowledge that long-term extraordinary comfort is to be gained.
When it comes down to getting in the mud and getting dirty, most people will opt for the smooth sailing of first gear and avoid the discomfort of Redline.
When Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he blessed us with his last lecture. He said:
The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!
You want to be damn sure you aren't “other people,” because “other people” is synonymous with “most people.” Most people are consumers who are two paychecks from broke. Most people won't invest long hours into their business system while friends are living it up on credit. Most people will allow friends and family to deflate their dreams with “that won't work” directives. Most people start excited and gush with exuberance but give up at the first pothole or failure. Most people succumb to “I quit” and give up not knowing that they are one or two plays away from a touchdown-the Fastlane exponential growth curve.
Are we there yet?”
Your journey will follow a predictable path of excitement, questioning, commitment, and rebirth.
This Redlined effort cannot be bypassed nor outsourced.
Prime your expectations for work and sacrifice, know your destination, envision your dreams, ready your means, and know that you are simply paying the toll because you don't want to trade 5-for-2 for life!
Get Your Foot off the Brakes!
The sweat of success is failure, and I am soaking wet.
If you've taken a step, spin, or aerobics class, you know the objectives: to sweat, to get your heart rate up, to build cardiovascular endurance, and to lose weight. If you went to a cardio class and the instructor forbade sweating, it would negate its purpose. Hard work naturally produces sweat, and sweat becomes evidence of your effort.
Unfortunately, this ludicrous analogy is the paradox you face if you fear failure and refuse to release the brakes. The sweat of success is failure. While you can't build cardiovascular endurance without sweating, you can't experience success without failure. Failure is simply a natural response to success. If you avoid failure you will also avoid success.
You can't drive the road to wealth with the brakes engaged. You have to take risks. You have to get uncomfortable. You have to get out there and fail.
The act of doing does marvelous things. Yes, the Fastlane is a risk. Failure is imminent. I learned how to code computers by trial-and-failure. I'd fail a code block hundreds of times before I found the right way to do something.
My other failures ranged from moronic multi-level marketing programs to jewelry to direct marketing programs. Each time, I brushed it off, reanalyzed, learned, adjusted, and tried again. The brakes were disengaged, baby!
I once heard, “A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”
You can learn from my failures. I didn't learn the Fastlane overnight. I found it by the light of failure. Fear of failure is normal, yet failure creates experience and experience breeds wisdom.
Take Intelligent Risks and Skip the Moronic Ones
Driving a car on the freeway with faulty brakes is a moronic risk. When you take intelligent risks and avoid the moronic ones, you amplify your wealth trajectory through time.
Intelligent risks have a limited downside, while their upside is unlimited.
When I'm out racing on the streets of Phoenix in an 850-horsepower car, I'm engaged in an asymptomatic, moronic risk. My upside is a short-term burst of adrenaline and a temporary ego boost.
The downside is crashing and killing myself or someone else. The upside is limited and short-the downside is unlimited and long.
Here's another moronic risk, and it took me this chapter to uncover it. I'm writing this book on a cloud computing application. That means I'm writing to an external source, or an external server. I have not made copies of my work. If the cloud server fails, my work is gone.
When I invest $100,000 in an Internet company, I'm engaging in an intelligent risk.
Why did I invest $100,000 and expose myself to the risk? I assessed the acquiring company's probability of success to be high. Their goal was to take my small company and transform it into a $100 million company. If they succeed, my small $100,000 investment would then be worth $2 million. The downside? The company could fail and the liquidation value of my investment would lose about 50%. My downside is limited while the upside is substantial. This is an intelligent risk.
If you quit your job to engage in a Fastlane business, it's an intelligent risk. Your upside could be millions. The downside? You might have to live below your standards: mop floors, flip burgers, eat rice and beans, and ride your bike to the grocery store. Is that really that bad?
Again, it all comes down to what you are willing to do and not willing to do. Risk involves careful stewardship of choice.
As for failure, trust me-it is easier to live in regret of failure than in regret of never trying.
Smack “Someday …”
What prevents people from hitting the Redline? Someday does. Someday I will … someday I'll do this, someday I'll do that, someday when the kids are grown, someday when the debts are paid … someday.
Someday is a distant horizon in the theater of your mind.
Someday is here, now, pristine and clean and begging no allegiance for tomorrow.
Make someday today.
why haven't you made the leap? What are you waiting for?
- “I'm waiting for a promotion.”
- “I'm waiting for my kids to be older.”
- “I'm waiting to be debt-free.”
- “I'm waiting until I inherit money.”
- “I'm waiting for the new year.”
- “I'm waiting to finish school.”
- “I'm waiting for my wife to get a job.”
- “I'm waiting for the economy turn around.”
- “I'm waiting until I fix the hot-water heater.”
Sadly, these mentally constructed provisions come and go, leaving the opportunity seeker stuck in the same rut for years. Waiting for all green lights is waiting for the skies to turn purple on the third Wednesday in November.
There is never a perfect time. Someday is today. Today is now. A week is 7 todays strung together while a year is 365.
Today is all you've got! And if you wait, opportunity passes.
Opportunity Doesn't Care About Timing
Opportunity doesn't care about your circumstances, your broken-down car, or your life's turmoil. It comes and goes of its own will, has a mind of its own, and it's blind to predicaments. Opportunity comes dressed as changes and challenges. Remember, change makes millionaires.
The “Fastlane Forum” (TheFastlaneForum.com) is my example of seizing opportunity outside of my desired timing. My forum existed years before this book was written because opportunity drove through my neighborhood unannounced. My preconceived timing for the “Fastlane Forum” was after my book's completion.
I recognized familiar forum contributors lamenting about “the old days” and how hucksters had invaded the forum: people pimping their spam, schemes, and scams.
In my mind I had a forum coming at some point in the undefined future. But this opportunity was not coming at my convenience.
Opportunity suddenly turned the corner and I heard its deafening exhaust. Even though I was in the shower, I got out, ran outside soaking wet, unprepared, premature, and met the opportunity. I greeted it, opened the door, and led it inside. Not in my time, but “opportunity's time,” and someday became today. That decision allowed me to pre-sell hundreds of books before the first word was written.
Many of the world's successful entrepreneurs started businesses in college. You know their companies: Microsoft, Dell, FedEx, and Facebook. Their founders seized opportunity outside of their timing and chose to take an intelligent risk.
These entrepreneurs captured opportunity and didn't wait for satisfaction of preconditions: “After I graduate” or “On summer break” or “After my Math 202 exam.” Opportunities are dressed as unfilled needs, and when they ring your doorbell, answer it! Unanswered, opportunity leaves and rings another doorbell, knowing eventually, someone willing will answer.
Why not you? Timing is rarely perfect. Waiting empowers mediocrity. People sit around waiting their entire lives for the perfect this, the perfect that. The perfect scenarios and circumstances never arrive. What does arrive? Time, old age, and the specter of a dream lost.
- Interest is first gear. Commitment is the Redline.
- Hard work and commitment separates the winners from the losers.
- Some choose short-term mediocre comfort over long-term meteoric comfort.
- To live unlike everyone else, you have to do what everyone else won't.
- Arm your expectations to hard work, sacrifice, and other bumps in the road. These are the land mines where the weak are removed from the road and sent back to the land of “most people.”
- Failure is natural to success. Expect it and learn from it.
- One home run could set you financially secure for your life, perhaps generations.
- Home runs can't be hit in the dug out.
- Moronic risks have unlimited downside (long term) and limited upside (short term).
- Intelligent risks have unlimited upside (long term) and limited downside (short term.)
- There is never perfect timing and waiting for “someday” just wastes time.
PART 7: The Roads to Wealth
CHAPTER 29: THE RIGHT ROAD ROUTES TO WEALTH
He who chooses the beginning of the road chooses the place it leads to. It is the means that determines the end.
-- Henry Emerson Fosdick
Is Your Road-to-Wealth a Dead-End?
Your road is your career or business path, and that road must be the route to wealth. Unfortunately, most jobs can't route to wealth because of their mathematical limitations and, surprisingly, most businesses don't either!
A road that starts in Chicago and leads east will never hit Las Vegas. It's a dead end!
If you're on an errant business road you have to use your steering wheel and make a course correction: Exit the road, take a turn, or turn around.
This impasse confronts millions of business owners. They fool themselves by journeying the wrong road and then wonder why wealth has eluded them.
Instead of fighting eight-hour workdays, they fight 12-hour store hours. Instead of leveraging the surrogacy of a system, they trade time for dollars. Instead of trading five days of work for two days off, they trade 6-for-1, or 7-for-0, in lifelong perpetuity.
The road to wealth must route to wealth! How? Your road must go near or through the Law of Effection.
The Road to Effection: The Five Fastlane Commandments
The Law of Effection says to make millions you must impact millions. How can you impact millions? In the Slowlane you explode intrinsic value, become enormously indispensable, and earn millions. In the Fastlane, you engineer a business that touches millions of lives in scale, or many lives of magnitude. If your road doesn't lead through Effection's neighborhood or have an off-ramp onto it, sorry, you're on the wrong road.
Business opportunities are plentiful, and unfortunately most of them aren't Fastlane roads.
If you're stuck in a retail store selling $10 haircuts, can you reasonably expect to serve millions? To make millions, you must serve millions.
- The Commandment of Need
- The Commandment of Entry
- The Commandment of Control
- The Commandment of Scale
- The Commandment of Time
A road meeting all five commandments can make you filthy rich fast.
While it's possible to violate one or more commandments and still create wealth quickly, you should aim for a road that satisfies all five commandments.
- Not all businesses are the right road. Few roads move at, through, or near the Law of Effection.
- The best roads and the purest Fastlanes satisfy the Five Fastlane Commandments: Need, Entry, Control, Scale, and Time.
CHAPTER 30: THE COMMANDMENT OF NEED
What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other?
-- George Eliot
Sand Foundations Crumble Houses
Ninety percent of all new businesses fail within five years, and I know why they fail. They fail because they fail the Commandment of Need.
(Need) – E – C – S – T
When you build a business on a flawed foundation, it will fail. Sand foundations crumble houses. Businesses that violate the Commandment of Need either belong to the 90% failure category or masquerade as a job. Gravity cannot be defied, and the winning premise of business is a simple yet often forgotten by most business owners: Businesses that solve needs win.
Businesses that provide value win. Businesses that solve problems win profits. Selfish, narcissistic motives do not make good, long-term business models.
Think about the purpose of businesses. Why do they exist?
To satisfy your selfish desire to “do what you love?”
To satisfy your craving for wealth and financial freedom?
Seriously, no one cares about your desires, your dreams, your passions, your “whys” and your reasons for wanting to be rich. No one cares that you want to own a Ferrari and prove your parents wrong. No one cares that corporate America wronged you. No one cares! Yes, the world is a selfish place and nobody gives two shits about your motives to “go Fastlane.”
So what do people care about?
People care about what your business can do for them. How will it help them? What's in it for them? Will it solve their problem? Make their life easier? Provide them with shelter? Save them money? Educate them? Make them feel something? Tell me, why on God's green Earth should I give your business money? What value are you adding to my life?
Reflect back to our producer/consumer dichotomy. Consumers are selfish. They demand to know is “what's in it for me!” To succeed as a producer, surrender your own selfishness and address the selfishness of others.
Stop Chasing Money-Chase Needs
Never start a business just to make money. Stop chasing money and start chasing needs. Let me repeat that, because it's the most important thing in this book: Stop thinking about business in terms of your selfish desires, whether it's money, dreams or “do what you love.” Instead, chase needs, problems, pain points, service deficiencies, and emotions.
Entrepreneurs fail because they create businesses based on selfish premises, and selfish premises don't yield profitable businesses; they lead directly into the 90% failure wastebasket.
- “I need a new income stream.”
- “I'm an expert in [blank] so I'll do that.”
- “I read a 'get rich' book and it says to start a business.”
Again, selfish, narcissistic premises are VIP invitations to violate the Commandment of Need.
You and your business attract money when you stop being selfish and turn your business's focus from the needs of yourself to the needs of other people.
Give first, take second.
Needs come first, not money!
The correct foundation is externally based on needs in the marketplace, not on internal selfish needs.
- Is there a need in my neighborhood for a martial arts studio?
- What are existing martial arts studios doing wrong that I could do better?
- What improved value do I offer the martial arts student?
- What assets do I bring to this community?
Is a 91-year-old grandpa the target market for hip-hop gear? The obvious problem here is selfishness. The owner is following his passions, and his love for hip-hop music and culture.
Maybe a life coach told him to “do what you love.”
the need is internal and not externally based on the marketplace.
The road was paved with sand because no need existed.
Money Chasers Chase Money, Not Needs
misdirected, selfish foundation poisoning the well:
- How can I make money starting a business?
- What business can I start with $200 and still make $5K per month?
- What home-based business can I start?
- I have a friend who manufacturers widgets; you think I can make money selling them?
- How can I make a passive income?
- What's a good product to sell on eBay?
- What's the best business to start on a shoestring?
If you sit around and ask yourself these types of questions, you'll likely end in the failure category because these dialogues expose your preoccupation with money, and not needs or value.
You've got it backward!
To Attract Money Is to Forget About Money
Want to make big bucks? Then start attracting money instead of chasing it. Money is like a mischievous cat; if you chase it around the neighborhood, it eludes you. It hides up a tree, behind the rose bush, or in the garden. However, if you ignore it and focus on what attracts the cat, it comes to you and sits in your lap.
Money isn't attracted to selfish people. It is attracted to businesses that solve problems. It's attracted to people who fill needs and add value. Solve needs massively and money massively attracts.
The amount of money in your life is merely a reflection to the amount of value you have given to others. Ignore this symbiosis and money will ignore you. Successful businesses share one common trait: The satisfaction of consumer needs as reflected by sales in the marketplace. The marketplaces and consumers, not you, determine if your business is viable. If you sell 10 million anything, 10 million people have voted that your product will help them, or satisfy one of their needs.
Make a freaking impact and start providing value! Let money come to you! Look around outside your world, stop being selfish, and help your fellow humans solve their problems. In a world of selfishness, become unselfish.
Need something more concrete? No problem. Make 1 million people achieve any of the following:
- Make them feel better.
- Help them solve a problem.
- Educate them.
- Make them look better (health, nutrition, clothing, makeup).
- Give them security (housing, safety, health).
- Raise a positive emotion (love, happiness, laughter, self-confidence).
- Satisfy appetites, from basic (food) to the risqué (sexual).
- Make things easier.
- Enhance their dreams and give hope.
… and I guarantee, you will be worth millions.
So the next time you're trolling the Web looking to make money, sit back and ask yourself, “What do I have to offer the world?” Offer the world value, and money becomes magnetized to you!
“Do What You Love” and Die as You Do
Beware of another guru-speak: “Do what you love and the money will follow!”
Sadly, the road of “do what you love” rarely converges with wealth. In fact, it might lead you down a road to destructive love.
Think about what you love and then think, will someone pay for it? Is it going to solve a need? Are you good enough to make money doing it? Most likely, you aren't.
For “do what you love” to work, you need two things:
- Your love must solve a need and
- You must be exceptional at it.
I love to play piano, but again, I suck at it.
RJ Kirk was asked about the benchmark to his success. He replied, “It is for others to say whether I am useful or not.”
It isn't for you to decide whether you are useful.
The marketplace makes that determination. People pay for their satisfaction; they don't pay to satisfy your need of “do what you love.” People pay for solutions, not for your enjoyment.
People pay for solved problems. People don't give a dirty dog-ass about your love for whatever. If “do what you love” doesn't fill a need spectacularly, no one will pay for it!
Now, I don't need to get paid to “do what I love.” I just do it. In other words, money led to “do what you love,” it didn't follow. How's that for irony?
I could play basketball seven days a week. I can play video games all day. I don't need to get paid to “do what I love” because I can now do it for FREE.
If you are one of the lucky few who can earn an income from a specific activity that you love AND are good enough, kudos to you.
And congratulations-you might not need a Fastlane. A Slowlane just might suffice.
“Doing What You Love” Fakes and Derivatives
You say, “I'll do five days of work I hate so I can enjoy two weekend days doing something I love.” Does this barter sound like rational thinking?
For example, Pauline loves to knit, so she sells her knitting online.
There are two dangers to derivatives:
- They don't make money fast.
- They endanger the love.
The need is weak. This saturates markets and makes profit margins shallow.
So why is the field for personal trainers so saturated? Simple. People follow the espoused guruesque advice without reflection on need: “Do what you love.”
Unfortunately, if you LOVE doing it, bet on thousands of others loving it too. When you “do what you love,” prepare to face stiff competition.
The second danger of derivatives is that your love becomes vulnerable to contamination when you do it for money. If you are forced to do anything, even something you purport to love, in exchange for a paycheck, that love is put in danger.
Years ago, I took a job as a limo driver because I loved to drive. By the time that job ended, I hated to drive. After work, I'd stay home because I was so sick of driving. My love was contaminated.
Money and the demands of life cast a cloud over the love and darken it into a burden.
Your Ignition: Moving from Love to Passion
The motivational fuel for the Fastlane is passion, not love. Passion gets you out of the garage and onto the road. If you have a passion for a specific goal, you'll do anything for it.
I had a passion for Lamborghinis and was willing to do anything for it.
Pick up dog shit, mop floors, work at 3 a.m.-whatever it was going to take, I had the passion to do it.
Your vehicle needs an ignition, a starter, something that compels you to jump out of bed in the morning challenged to tackle the day.
That ignition is passion. You need a passion for something greater. It is different for everybody, but when you find it, you will do anything for it.
If you can't get paid doing some activity, identify a specific “why” or “end goal” that ignites your passion to act.
What is your WHY? Why are you doing this? Why go Fastlane? Whom do you want to prove wrong? My “WHYS” read like this:
- “I want to pay off my mother's mortgage.”
- “I want to wake up without an alarm clock.”
- “I want to write a book without the pressure of money.”
- “I want a big house on a mountainside with a pool.”
- “I want a Lamborghini.”
- “I want to make a difference.”
- “I want to prove him wrong.”
Passion beats “do what you love,” because passion fuels motivation for something greater than yourself and is generalized.
Why are you starting this business? Because you love it? Or because there is a real market need?
I repeat: Passion for an end goal, a why, drives Fastlane action.
Competition was sparse because everyone else was busy chasing “do what you love.” A formidable “why” is all you need to turn your daily activities into passionate motivation -the “get up in the morning” metamorphosis to bust open a Fastlane road. What are your WHYS, and are they strong enough to motivate you into process?
Passion Erases the Suffering of Work
Was I suffering the toil of work? No. I enjoyed it, because I had my “whys” and I was moving toward them. The journey hardened me, challenged me, and yes, it was even fun! I was passionate about what I wanted and I was going to get it. The Fastlane isn't a destination but a personal journey.
Writing this book has been an enduring journey, and I admit that I gave up three times. Why? After a year of writing and not finishing, my love for writing evaporated. My love became a hate. I was “doing what I love” and suddenly that love faded because people started to expect a book. I confided to a friend, “I quit. I no longer enjoy it and I don't need to finish it.”
So how did I finish if my love for writing evaporated? I found my passion, which compelled me to finish: I love to see the dreams of others become reality. When a dead dream is given sudden life, I feel invigorated. Any time I wanted to give up, I'd receive an email that applauded me: “Your forum changed my life” or “Thank you, my life has turned for the better.” That is passionate currency that repositioned my writing effort into action. I went from love, to suffering, to passion.
Get Your Road to Converge with a Fantastic Dream
A road that doesn't converge with your dreams is a dead end.
For me, I wanted to be an astronaut (blame Han Solo) a filmmaker (blame George Lucas) and an author (blame Isaac Asimov).
So, why is Rick selling cell phones today? Is there any chance in hell he will actually become his dream, a racecar driver? There isn't. The dream is dead and the road is derelict.
The problem with these people is not their jobs. We've all had crappy, embarrassing jobs that we hate. The problem is their dead-end road that will never converge with a dream.
Dreams are forsaken to pay the bills. Instead of a convergent road to dreams (or a chance of a dream), their road goes through an inescapable hell.
Life becomes suffering.
There is nothing wrong with working at Verizon or Taco Bell. Heck, these jobs would have been promotions in comparison to the meaningless jobs I've held. But please, don't make these jobs your means to the end, your final road, because the “end” most likely will never come.
“No passion” leads to mediocrity and the land of everybody. “No passion” leads to unhappiness. “No passion” equals no wealth.
If you're struggling for motivation, re-energize your dream and align it with a road capable of burning a trail to its reality.
Fastlaners work unlike everyone else so they can live unlike anyone else. Take four years of hard work in exchange for 40 years of freedom.
Unfortunately, most people take 40 years of hard work for four weeks of freedom, or however long their paid vacation time lasts.
Find Your “Snow in the Toilet”
How do you find your passion? Passion comes from either excitement or discontent.
"I saw that my mom had to put snow in the tank of the toilet bowl just for us to flush. The worst part was that it had to be refilled every time someone used the toilet. I thought to myself, “I never want to live like this again!"
Reflect on a time when your life was turned upside down with excitement and/or discontent.
That is your passion. For me, excited passion was when I saw my first Lamborghini as a teenager and I decided “One day, I will own a Lamborghini.”
For me, discontented passion was watching my mother struggle in dead-end jobs, trying to raise three kids without a husband.
Both fueled my passion; I wanted a Lamborghini and I wanted to help ease the burden for my mother.
Excitement (wants and desires) serves as passionate fuel, as does discontent (undesirable situations). Both allowed me to do what others wouldn't. If you find yours, you will too.
- The Commandment of Need states that businesses that solve needs win. Needs can be pain points, service gaps, unsolved problems, or emotional disconnects.
- Ninety percent of all new businesses fail because they are based on selfish internal needs, not external market needs.
- No one cares about your selfish desires for dreams or money; people only want to know what your business can do for them.
- Money chasers haven't broken free from selfishness, and their businesses often follow their own selfish needs.
- People vote for your business with their money.
- Chase money and it will elude you. However, if you ignore it and focus on what attracts money, you will draw it to yourself.
- Help one million people and you will be a millionaire.
- For money to follow “Do what you love,” your love must solve a need and you must be exceptional at it.
- “Do what you love” sets the stage for crowded marketplaces with depressed margins.
- When you have the financial resources, you can “do what you love” and not get paid for it, nor do you have to be good at it.
- Slowlaners feed “do what you love” with “do what you hate.” Five days of hate for two days of love.
- “Doing what you love” for money can endanger your love.
- Passion for an end goal, a why, drives Fastlane success.
- Having a passionate “why” can transform work into joy.
- “Doing what you love” usually leads to the violation of the Commandment of Need.
- The right road for you is one that will converge with your dreams.