Life is a Ledger: A Simple Mindset Shift that Can Change Your Life
If you look at life in a different way, you can step into the life you want.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
When you stop to think about the things you do every day, are they things that you absolutely love? If that answer is not a resounding "YES!" then you may want to change your numbers and words. Let me explain...
I was in a grocery store the other day where I stopped to stare at the many options of spinach, there was organic spinach, non organic, mixed greens with spinach. There were bags, there were plastic containers, there were many options. As I stood there staring at these choices, I heard "How's your day going?" from someone that worked there. Without really thinking, I replied, "Fine, thanks". About a minute later, while still staring at the shelves, I stopped, looked over at the guy and said, "I'm sorry, that's not true. I'm not fine, I'm having a terrible day."
He looked back at me and said, "I'm sorry to hear that. I'm working my third shift today." He then explained that he had come in to open the store at 7am, left mid-day to go to his second job, then came back to work until close which was 10pm. I looked at him and replied in thoughtful reflection, "Hmmm, that doesn't sound ideal", and I realized that while I had different challenges to my day, I wasn't working for minimum wage from 7am to 10pm at night. All of that time and energy for just $8.25 per hour.
I began thinking about this over the next several days. I had a day that wasn't very good; he had a long day. Our days were different but we had similar feelings. I started thinking about how we break actions down every day for the things that we do and I realized it all comes down to numbers and words.
Shift Your Perspective
I remembered back to an article I read by Tim Urban who wrote a series on his website "Wait but Why?" on Elon Musk to study how he has been able to do so many incredible and innovative things. Tim said its because Musk thinks differently than most people. He thinks about things from the ground up. When he wanted to build a rocket for Space X, it would have cost several tens of millions of dollars, but he realized that a rocket is just made up of raw materials, so all he really needed were the materials which were just 2% of the typical price of a rocket and someone who knew how to put those materials together. He thinks about things without constraints - from the ground up.
I put on my Elon Musk thinking cap and started thinking about the most basic way that we can break down the things we do in life. Why are some people living paycheck to paycheck in the same routine every day while others are jet setting around the world living a life of luxury?
The Common Denominators
I began thinking about the most common denominators that we all have in common: numbers and words. People say words every day, but different words yield different outcomes. I thought of my encounter with the guy at the grocery store. He says words and does things all day. I say words and do things. His words and actions at a minimum wage of $8.25 in Florida for 15 hours brings in $123.75 in the same amount of time that I lead a corporate training class and bring in $20,000. We both speak words but I get more numbers on my ledger, which gives me more flexibility and freedom.
Let me take those dollar signs off of those numbers and lets look at them for what they are - numbers in a ledger. Many people pay for things with a credit or debit card. Many people shop online where there is no actual exchange of money, just the numbers in your account go up and down. It's just a ledger. We use these numbers to give to other people for goods or services.
Up Level Your Game
How do you get more numbers for the same amount of time spent? You just need to use different words. You can use these numbers to live a life on your own terms. How do you learn what words to use? You need to develop your skills. Invest in yourself. Try something new. Up level your game.
What are you doing every day? Are you doing things you love? What if you used different words that gave you more numbers which allowed you to live the lifestyle you've always wanted. To get "ahead", you have to do something different from what you've always done.
We all have the same amount of time in a day; the question is what we do with those time numbers. If you just repeat the same words and actions, you will likely get the same results. When you realize that life is nothing more than a ledger, suddenly, things aren't so complicated. You can take more risk because you are just using different words. These different words can yield more dollar numbers for the same amount of time numbers spent and you can use this to create the life that you really want.