Growing up I was an average student at best. I was more interested in the outdoors, building cubby houses, dams, digging holes and trenches rather than being indoors studying.
I even clearly remember a time being asked multiplication and mathematical questions involving pieces of fruit and thinking “Wow, I don’t know. It’s all fruit salad to me!”
Regardless of what others may say was a limitation, this hasn’t stopped me from achieving many of my important goals in life. In fact it has often become the fuel of my motivation and a measure of how important the goal is to me.
This brings me to a story about horses.
It is said that there are four kinds of horses: excellent ones, good ones, poor ones and bad ones.
The best horse will run slow and fast, right and left, at the driver's will, before it sees the shadow of the whip.
The second will run as well as the first one, just before the whip reaches its skin.
The third one will run when it feels pain on its body.
The fourth will run after the pain penetrates to the marrow of its bones.
It’s easy to imagine how difficult it is for the fourth one to learn to run.
When I first heard this story I wanted to be the best horse. If it was impossible to be the best one, then I wanted to be the second best.
If it was impossible to be the second one, I wanted to be the third best, never last or bad horse.
However what I have discovered about myself over the years is when I learn too easily, I’m tempted not to work hard and when I don’t work hard, results take longer or are not achieved at all. Success avails me and I also miss out on the enjoyment that comes from the journey of practice.
I’m not alone as I recently discovered. Of those who study calligraphy, those who are not so clever usually become the best calligraphers and those who are very clever with their hands often encounter great difficulty after they have reached a certain stage.
So this is also true in art, and in life.
In fact very often the best horse often is the worst horse and the worst horse can be the best, for if it perseveres, it will have learned whatever it is practicing all the way to the marrow of its bones.
This story of the four horses has haunted me ever since I first read it.
For one thing, it poses a clear challenge for those with exceptional talent: to achieve his or her full potential, this person will have to work just as diligently as those with less innate ability.
So I take the encouragement that if I persevere and dedicate my efforts (at skills I'm not naturally good at), I'll someday know this (skill) all the way to the marrow of my bones.
Here are some tips I apply to my own life:
About Peter Horsfield
Peter Horsfield in an Authorised Representative and Investsure Holdings Pty Ltd ABN 16 050 286 630 as trustee for Horsfield Family Trust ABN 55 609 068 513 is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd ABN 47 097 797 049 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 236523.
The Weekend is upon us and this means “the markets are coming!”
Tropical Fruit. Mango’s Lychee’s, Custard Apple’s, Coconut’s, Dragon Fruit, Jack Fruit and much, much, more.
The second best part about the markets is interacting with the stall owners and growers.
Since moving up to Cairns I better appreciate the quality of interaction is of greater value than the transaction itself.
The revelation? Lower costs, greater opportunities, better relationships, less stress, increased profits and an improved quality of life.
Convenience is good, however relationships are better.
Comparing the pair/pear :)
Before moving to Cairns I would drive my car to the shopping centre.Shop in a sterile feeling supermarket. Select my fruit and vegetables from a pre-selected limited range of choices (most probably assessed by a MBA hired by the supermarket for most popular- to maximise their profits) i.e. apples, bananas, oranges, and strawberries, all conveniently pre packed for convenience.
During this experience I didn’t often talk with anyone except for asking them to move out of the way, or be asked to move aside. My bill often was in excess of $50 for the week (just for fruit and veg), and require at least 2 ½ hrs of my time in addition to frustration and decreased quality of life.
Today I go to the market either walking or I ride my bike. The markets are open air and each stall has their own personality and speciality.
I go to Banana Joe’s stall (as I like to call him- he has a long white beard and digger’s hat) for my bananas. Talking with him he always throws in a couple of extra bananas for me.
Then I go to Mariko and Paul’s stall for my Pawpaw, sweet potato and capsicums.I then meander around other stalls chatting, tasting the various produce and buying what I need and is in season, often these are mangos, avocados, lychees etc..
These days I often have change from $30 and I’m done shopping in less than an hour. The experience is so great I actually look forward to shopping each week!
Casting this appreciate wider I am now beginning to see the lure of convenience may in fact have been impeding my happiness and the happiness of many of us. Think Social Media, Television, Easy Meals, Online Shopping, Streaming Movies etc. and the impact it is having increasing or decreasing our quality of life in the pursuit of our happiness.
Today in this busy world, I’m still an advocate for convenience however I am becoming better at identify the activities that add to my happiness rather than diminish it.
A conversation between Money and Me
Me: I'm going to live my ideal life without financial concerns.
Money: Good luck with that.
Me: Mark my words, I will.
Money: You're dream'n, but go ahead and humor me with your how?
Me: Three ways.
Firstly by ensuring my ideal life is built on my choices being aligned to my values. And this to be occurring in all areas of my life financially, relationships, career, spiritually and health.
Secondly by ensuring I best manage what I can control.
Thirdly by protecting my capital against emotional choices I may make due to negative events occuring outside of my control. Mindful that these events also present opportunities in such financial storms.
Money: I will fight you every step of the way and in every area of you life!
Me: I too will fight for what I value and what’s important to me. Beyond this money is a distraction to me from living my life in the moment.
Money: Game On!
Me: Game On!
Later in life…
They say “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and this saying is just as true for me and the building of my ideal life.
To date it has taken me twenty years of ongoing planning, education, perseverance, setbacks, extra funding, rebuilds, risks and much more, however by all accounts it’s done.
The match winner.
"Insanity: is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". Albert Einstein.
So too my path of living an ideal life with no financial concerns has required me to do things very differently than I had done before i.e. expanding my financial planning business to include Cairns (Far North Queensland) and relocating up here on a semi-permanent basis.
Not only has this change allowed me to better prioritize. Today I am better placed to participate in more of the things truly important to me, whilst also being no place else whist doing them i.e. without distractions.
This clarity has also enriched the experience for myself and those who I am with. As I more fully appreciate that money is only significant to the extent that it allows you to enjoy what is important to you. And not worrying about your finances is critical to having a life that excites you, nurtures those we love and fulfills our highest aspirations.
This was a big “Ah Ha!” moment for me. Especially as a financial adviser when you're are told (and buy into the belief) that a financial advisers value is solely based on the amount of money you make for clients, more than helping them to become happier people.
This combination of my “Ah Ha” moment, along with the accumulated knowledge and experiences I'd leant on my own ideal life financial journey continues to shape me as the advisor I am today.
In fact they have become the bedrock of my passion and purpose. This is to support, help and hold accountable all who are willing to do the work required to live their ideal life, without financial concern.
They say success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Living your ideal life without financial concern requires even more than this. It requires you to enjoy your success too.
Tropical Beach? Check
Chilled fresh coconut? Check
Island tunes? Check
What does your ideal life look like? What are you doing? Who are you with? Where are you? How are you feeling?
A short time ago I was my own worst boss.
You know the one who is constantly on your back, 24/7 watching you, criticizing you and measuring you. The type of boss that nothing is ever good enough for and when it is; well that's to be expected. Now get back to work!
I was once told to achieve and move forward “the pain of moving forward must be less than the pain of standing still”.
The message I heard was “always be in pain”. I talked this way to myself for over a decade.
Regularly I would wake at 2 am in a cold sweat, fearing about business, my clients, bills, staff, expetations, procedures and more. I worried a lot and all the time. I put on weight, I lost weight, lost interest in everything and became excruciatingly cynical.
Then I chose stand up to myself and my inner bully boss saying "No more! This is hurting me not helping me".
Life is more than money. Money is important but only to the extent that it allows us to enjoy what is important to us.
Where had it all gotten so wrong?
Looking back I remember embracing financial planning (seventeen years ago) because I got to learn about money, help others achieve what’s important to them, and doing so, I could also achieve what was important to me.
Today the same passion to learn, help and live an ideal life still burns within in me; however for a long time I was immensely unhappy because I had bought into the belief (promoted by the industry and media) that my only value was to make clients money and that this was more important than helping them achieve their goals and the things more important to them in life than money. i.e. living an ideal life without financial concern.
To move forward I had to revisit, reassess and document my own values. I had to reconsider my goals and personal milestones and benchmark once more where I was in relation to where I wanted to be. Just like I facilitate with my clients today.
The result? Happiness. Confidence. Peace. Certainty. Empowerment. Inspiration and Clarity.
It’s important to note that these results didn’t just happen simply because I had documented my values, goals and benchmarked them.
Achieving these results required my total commitment to a plan of action, accountability, implementation and activities across all areas of my life, including my relationships, health, spirit, career, finances and new experiences.
Surprising, even to me, when re-aligning my choices to my core values, long standing milestones quickly came within reach and others that I thought were important became less so.
Making choices aligned to my values has enabled me to make better decisions, in less time and with greater confidence. This has also lead me onto experiencing greater peace, enriched experiences, deeper relationships and much more.
Aligning choices to our values is simple but not easy.
Chosing to do so requires 100% commitment, honest conversations with ourselves and those important to us, turning off from low value distractions and patience, however when we begin and are on the path of mastery, the ultimate reward is not a gold medal but the path itself.
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