“Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion” ~ Jim Rohn
Repeating affirmations is the whimsical practice of repetitively voicing positive messages so as to manifest things into reality; and as nice as this unconventional method sounds, on their own all affirmations probably ever really manifested were a few hoarse throats and pissed off people.
In 2006 this idea of “receiving through repetitive asking” got a complete makeover, re-emerging as “The Secret”. The idea was capture a new generation with flashy marketing designed to sell pricey books and DVD’s to new breed of disciples; and it worked. HUGE.
This new generation LOVED The Secret (in it’s slick new packaging) and the products went on to sell over a whopping twenty million copies inspiring even more “The Secret” spin off products. The one thing this frenzy definitely manifested was a ton of money into author Rhonda Byrne’s world!
Personally, I’ve always taken issue with this approach to goals achievement. Here’s why:
While both affirmations and The Secret say they follow The Law of Attraction, they totally mislead people by purporting the process down to the single step of asking, while ignoring the step that actually does the manifesting – the one of taking action.
In other words, these two methods falsely suggest that all people need to do is “tell the universe” what they want and The Law of Attraction gets right to work on it for them…
So then why leave out the important action steps? I believe it comes down to sales.
Look, clearly the folks who peddle these ideas for profit want to attract as large an audience as possible, and why not? More sales is of anything is always good, be it used cars, double cheese crust pizzas, new age seminars or books and DVDs. Sales are king!
The publishers of The Secret are fully aware that the crowd of get-shit-done people makes up only 5% of the population, nowhere near a big enough number to make it a best-seller.
So to generate more sales the products needed to be – no pun intended – attractive enough to reach the other 95%; and the method chosen was to make it seem like the whole manifestation process is (a) ask for what we want, and (b) wait to receive it. If it were this simple, we’d all be millionaires; but we aren’t.
The publishers plan worked, because over twenty million people believed this hooey and happily handed over their hard earned cash thereby successfully manifesting a negative twenty-five dollar spot in each of their wallets.
What does any of this have to do with personal finance? Quite a bit actually; especially for those who are gullible enough to mistake movement for achievement.
Hard Fact: In order to build personal wealth and equity, financial plans can never be left to chance methods like chanting to the universe anymore than they can be left to lottery wins or emails from rich Nigerian Princes that promise huge windfalls. None of these schemes will ever save folks from a lifetime of failing to save, or create a financial plan. None.
I saw the devastating effect of this delusion this first hand while attending a financial seminar once. A couple in their late fifties admitted to the facilitator that their entire financial plan thus far had been based on chanting “Money flows to me easily and freely” affirmations every morning and every evening for the past several years.
When asked how it was working out, they embarrassedly admitted it wasn’t; not one bit. This explained why they were at a seminar trying to learn how money really works.
I admired how this couple owned up to this error; but even more I admired how they took complete ownership for their situation. They’d bought a bad plan and were baring their souls as a cautionary tale for others; kudos to them for being so brave.
From what I’ve seen, the only amount of money chanting affirmations have produced is a big fat goose egg. If we want hard cold cash in our bank accounts then we need to create a plan to achieve it; and it doesn’t include the chanting of any affirmations.
Here’s my tried and true (plus delusional and whimsy-free) method for financial freedom:
- BE HONEST about your finances
- START where you are
- Make a plan
- Diligently FOLLOW the plan
Let’s examine at these four components individually to see how each factors into the wealth-building formula, and what steps are needed to get on the right track.
Please note these steps are general and intended to be used only as a guideline. In order to develop a thorough personal and individualized financial plan, much deeper work (including reading and research) needs to be done with a financial professional.
BE HONEST About Your Finances: The first step is to accurately understand where we stand financially in areas such as assets, debt, etc. by asking ourselves questions.
How much do we make? How much do we spend? How much do we owe? How much do we save and invest? Will it be enough for retirement? What is important to us that we need to pay for? Ask anything that helps establish an accurate financial overview.
Answering these types of questions identifies areas needing attention; because how can we get somewhere if we don’t know where we’re going?
START Where You Are: After step one many folks are surprised at how little money they have to work with each month; but the bigger shock usually comes from when they realize just how much debt they’ve unwittingly acquired. It’s critical to know what this number is.
In 2016 the average (non-mortgage) Canadian consumer debt hit $21,384 per person. And while most people carry debt, when building a solid financial plan it’s important to factor in its repayment; otherwise we just remain in debt and don’t grow our net worth.
My point is that before anyone can build a solid financial plan for the future, they must be completely honest with themselves about where they are today – warts and all – and without blame. Only once they’ve done this can they begin planning for the future.
MAKE A Plan: After setting a firm goal of where we want to be financially and having an honest snapshot of our current situation, it’s time to formulate a plan that closes the gap between the two through saving and investing the surplus.
This step will require guidance and education, much which can be found in books, online or by meeting with credit councilors and/or financial planners. The trick is to get started and actually create the plan.
Diligently FOLLOW The Plan: Once the plan is made, be ruthless in its execution! Ward off any and all temptations that threaten it! Search out and employ every cost cutting method possible! Live like rich people! What’s that? How do they live? Like this:
If these four steps are executed faithfully, and scrutinized and monitored frequently on even worst-case scenarios becomes manageable and achievable. I know, because I’ve been there myself. It takes commitment, discipline and a desire to succeed.
Use these ideas as a guide to begin your financial independence! Do this and who knows? After a while the only affirmation being chanted to the universe will be the one that says, “I am in control of my finances!” – because it will be true!
CALL TO ACTION:
- Apply these four steps to get a handle on your current financial snapshot
- If you are ready to begin learning more about investing and mutual funds, etc. book an appointment with a certified financial planner.
- Read the books “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton and “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Domigez
And just for fun, watch this video called Chasers War Against Everything: The Secret!