“Notice that the stiffest tree is easily cracked while the bamboo survives by bending with the wind” – Bruce Lee
Everywhere you turn there is a “right” way to do something. Whether it’s the right way to eat healthy, save money, exercise or raise your kids, all the experts somehow claim to know what’s best for you and your life. We, as a society, love rules… and then at the same time, we love to hate them, because by their very nature, they are inflexible!
I know from my own personal experience, the more complicated something sounds or the harder it would be to fit into my life, the more I resist doing it. Even if I will get the biggest benefit from doing something a certain way, I tend to avoid it completely if I feel it’s going to be too difficult to keep up. Yet I tell myself, “well, that’s the way it should be done, so either I do it that way or I shouldn’t do it at all.” Pardon my French, but that’s a bunch of bs!
What if you looked at the items on your to do list and built a schedule to get everything done with freedom and ease; meaning that you chose to take the path of least resistance as much as possible… basically, asking yourself, “What’s the best option for me right now.”
I’m not suggesting that you just avoid doing everything in life that seems like it might be a challenge. That would just make life boring! What I am saying is that it might make sense to create a free flowing structure that helps you accomplish the important things with less stress. Sound good?
For example, rather than forcing yourself to either get to the gym 4 times a week or not go at all, what if you choose to go twice a week and add a random 20 minute workout at home. If you keep that up, you might notice that it isn’t so hard to accomplish. And you may realize that it is certainly a lot better than doing nothing at all. The results won’t be record breaking, and it may not be the “ideal option” (whatever that means), but they will be results none the less. You are still taking action and that is important.
Have you ever noticed how much stress you take on when you find yourself avoiding something that you know you should do? That something could be having a specific conversation with your spouse, changing your diet, fixing an annoying issue with your car or any number of other things that don’t initially feel like a whole lot of fun. But then once you actually do it, doesn’t it feel like a 500 pound weight has been lifted from your shoulders?
This concept may sound simple, yet the impact it has on our life is incredible. I speak with clients all the time who get overwhelmed by the thought of saving money, especially early on in the process. They might say, “Oh… you mean I have to save $2,500 every month for the next three years just to have enough for the down payment on that $450,000 house that we love?” And, rather than starting to save, they don’t do anything. The problem with that is that when they get to the three year mark, they still have no money set aside for their home.
What if they changed that plan to create something more flexible, something that can be achieved with freedom and ease? Let’s say they save $1,500 a month for the next four years… that’s $1,000 less per month. That provides a total savings of $72,000, which is enough for the down payment on a $360,000 home. Although that’s not ideally what they wanted, it’s certainly a great start. And who knows, maybe they didn’t need the bigger house anyway. Plus, they might even be able to enjoy themselves over those 4 years while they save.
Wow, saving for the future and enjoying life now? What a concept! I get excited just talking about it. Combining flexibility with a little bit of freedom can dramatically change the way you think about your personal finances and many other things in life. Everything is negotiable and it’s all in a conversation. Whether that conversation is with yourself or another person, give yourself the opportunity to be flexible and watch what unfolds.
I’m taking my own advice here. This blog post is as much for me as it is for you. Flexibility makes everything so much easier, and results abound when that happens!