Driving into work this morning I passed a sign that profoundly resonated within me.
Introspective, instructive and empowering in a single statement.
It also reminded me of another sign I read in 2014 “Be Better, Not Bigger”.
Looking back in the revision mirror of life, this sign has not only changed my life for the better, it has become my business and life philosophy.
And doing so has allowed me to make faster decisions, keep moving forward in times of struggle and let go of what I can’t control. And to and focus on that which is within my control.
Ever since I became a financial planner in 1999 the industry has been in a state of flux and change.
I’m sure the industry was in this same state of flux before me and it will continue to be so, long after I have left too.
Why? Because money is more than a physical currency, it is a expression of our emotions, aspirations, fears and more, and as long as we believe it is a scarce resource, those who value it over others will act in a self-interested way.
Anyways, these personal views on money are another topic of discussion for another time.
Back to the sign I saw this morning having profound resonance with me.
The sign read “FIT BY U”
Three simple words, with incredible hidden power.
Over the last year and a half I have let myself go physically. I’ve probably put on 10kg. I’m more cynical, short tempered and less motivated. Previously I might have had a wine or beer over a meal on Friday night or the weekend. Now I find found myself having a glass of wine every other night.
I’ve been exercising less and my intake of take away, has increased. Obviously this has had detrimental effect. Physically, mentally, emotionally as well as being a negative energy on the relationship I have with myself and others.
The victim in me would point too facts and external events as justifiable reasoning for my current state i.e. insane levels of new business regulation for financial planners (I know of over a dozen suicides); corona virus, exams, public sentiment etc. is the reason for this state of funk
However the truth is, listening more to the noise that is outside of my control and listening less to myself which was silently had gradually undermined my inner self-confidence.
The sign read “FIT BY U” Fitter Faster Stronger.
Firstly the message is the obvious. The outcome or benefit that we will or can attain by buying what they are selling i.e. the promise.
However what resonated most deeply within me was the “You” in the message.
No one else will get fit for you. “You” must do it for yourself. It is “You” alone who must do the work and “You” who reaps the benefits. Others may benefit via association however it’s “You” who receives the greatest return on your investment in yourself.
The universal truth is that ownership will always be present at the crossroad of all our life’s choices and decisions.
The level ownership we attach to our choices being apportioned to the success we will experience as a result.
Simple yes. Easy no.
I’m old and life experienced enough to know the difficulties we all face when choosing to own of our choices.
What I also know is, beating ourselves up about our past failures may have some positive purposes i.e. helps us avoid repeating a wrong decision or a motivation for us to change our actions. However remaining in this cycle of shame undermines our confidence and is a pilot light to repeated destructive behavior.
Paul Simon says it better (for those too young to know who Pail Simon is. Paul is the genius in the duo Simon and Garfunkel)
“You got to learn how to fall before you learn how to fly. And Mama, mama it ain’t no lie, before you learn to fly, learn how to fall”.
Ownership gets us through our falling and failures.
While our material ownership of things go from desired and shiny. Followed by taken for granted and tarnished. Ultimately to become unwanted and discarded.
Self-investment and ownership of our choices is the opposite. It challenges and empowers us. It strengthen us gives us greater appreciation of our efforts. It defines us and opens the doors of opportunity for more of all that we may choose to be.
We can’t change how and why we got to where we are now. The past is dry cement. But we can change our future by making “the” decision today to become who we want to be in the future and owning this decision today.
I have written about this in my blog post titled The Price of Success that change can happen in a moment, however coming to the decision to change can take years if not decades.
Yes I want to get back to my healthy weight. Yes I want to have more energy. Yes I want to be less cynical and snippy to those important to me. Yes I want to feel more in control of my life instead of playing it like a victim.
But what is my level of commitment? As committed as a Samurai who goes so far as to choose seppuku as an ultimate act ownership and honour of their choice to follow their calling? An incredible act of strength and ownership to oneself and humility to others.
While this is an extreme and some may say a melodramatic example, it does go to the heart of the matter. Are you prepared to die for decision?
Yes our old self will die and in doing so we give birth to a new self.
And no. Likening the process of ownership and change to pregnancy and birth (mothers please correct me if I’m wrong), the process is a journey of emotions, discomfort, fear, change, pain, acceptance. Followed by relief, joy, new experiences, responsibilities and ownership of a new life.
Ownership is not about owning things we don’t need, with money we don’t have to impress, keep up with or own over others we don’t like.
Ownership and the mastery of it requires humility, patience, commitment, resoluteness, reflection and standing strong in the face of silent tests and challenges.
If you are stuck in a funk or you’re lost in a cloud of complexity feel free to contact me. Most often in life we just need someone to talk things through and to lighten our load a little. The following articles may also be of help
This post was written by Peter Horsfield, as such they are his personal views. Peter helps you to focus on what’s most important, the right strategies at the right time. To learn more about How to become Financially Independent visit Peter Horsfield Smart Advice
General Advice Disclosure
Sources of this information are considered to be reliable but are not guaranteed. Information published in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and not as specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in this document is General Advice and does not take into account any person's particular investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs.
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