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Killing that Demoralizing Feeling when you Start Chipping Away at that Money Goal

I am really bad at motivating people.

It is a good thing that I may have friends and family members in debt, but I do not need to be the one to motivate them.

If someone asks me: How do you clear a $50,000 unsecured personal loan or credit card debt?

My answer will be: Don’t get into it in the first place!

That is not helpful at all (perhaps that is an easy way out of getting my hands into something that may give me immense fulfillment but likely will leave me disappointed)

To get out of debt, self motivation is important. Without motivation, nothing in you gets ignited to embark on this journey.

Other people can only do so much. Whether you get triggered has to come from yourself.

The worse feeling about clearing the debt, is the initial part, where you throw $3600/yr against a debt of $50,000 that incurs an interest of 6-24%.

That feels like using a toothpick to fight a lion.

Not all financial goals are negative.

At Investment Moats, I like to throw out the idea of what having a wealth machine worth $300,000 could provide financial security to your family and yourself.

At a rate of return of 6%/yr, your wealth machine could generate a cash flow of $18,000/yr or $1,500/mth.

Compared to debt its a good goal to work towards.

However, just like debt, not all of us earned a lot, not all of us have very low expenses.

When you throw $3,600/yr on a $300,000 it looks even more daunting.

The Psychological Parallels Between a Bollywood Actor and Yourself

The problem we have here is that working to overturn a huge endeavor is hard psychologically.

We often underestimate the mental part of clearing debt and saving, in the face of so much life challenges.

Like us, Bollywood actor Aamir Khan have a problem that look like what we faced.

He accepted a role to play an older wrestler in Dangal. The movie, is based on a true story, of how Mahavir Singh Phogat, a former champion wrestler trained 2 of his daughters to be successful wrestlers.

Aamir plays the older Phogat, but also young Phogat in his prime, fit, muscled condition.

So he had to put on 25 kg to reached 97kg, then shed a belly and put on muscle for the younger role.

The video is something most fascinating that I watch this week, more so because how he did it.

It also shows the resources that well connected people have, versus what we have access to. To achieve the transformation, it involves a systematic plan came up by knowledgeable and experience people but also lots of hard work!

Aamir revealed this in one of his interview: There were several moments when he is convinced he made a mistake. The goal of shedding 28kg is too big of a goal. He felt depressed and gave up on his body too. But he mustered up the courage to wipe out the negative thoughts, and decided to work at his goal one day at a time.

If you have an ultimate goal in mind, make sure you don’t look up to see it. If you look at Mt Everest and think about where you have to reach, you’ll simply give up, you’ll get depressed. But if you look down and just focus on every step, and push yourself to take just the next step, you’ll reach your goal eventually.

I thought this coincide with some of the weight loss account that I heard. There was this show on A&E TV called Fit to Fat to Fit where they get personal trainers to work with normal folks who get on the show to lose weight.

The twist is that, the personal trainers have to put on weight as well.

And they reveal the same thing:

  1. They didn’t know its this difficult
  2. They cannot believe how unmotivated they have become to lose weight
  3. They lost so much confidence in themselves, and are horrified that they cannot get the old body back
  4. When their weight lost hit a plateau, they really felt the demoralized feeling

The whole experience just change their perspective of how they train their clients in the past.

Success is more than Motivation

Being self motivated is important but unless you have super strong will power, or can define and see your goals clearly, there are other ways to help you stick to your money goal.

There are always 4 critical things to success:

  1. Motivation – We said this
  2. Knowledge and Wisdom – If you do not know what you are doing, a lot of times, you end up with poor results a long the way that kills the motivation. You need some good mentors to tell you why following this way of eliminating debt or building wealth works. You also need good information HOW to go about setting up a proper debt elimination plan
  3. Systems, Processes and Habits – You need to endure the day to day and that means you need to re-designed your life to allow you to achieve these money goals. In both building wealth or debt elimination, it means cutting down on a few nonsensical stuff in your life. And you need to do it over and over again. You need to have a response to the trigger every time you have the impulse to spend money on something nonsensical. You need to automate putting away money to build wealth or pay down debt
  4. Environment – People succeed by leaving a toxic environment, finding better environments. Some of you have good parents, friends that, if you tell them you have this problem they will hold you accountable

Chipping away big goals is tough.

Many readers are at the beginning of their wealth building journey and they wish the wealth they build up was bigger now.

Unless you are in the sales person who made $300,000 in one year, realize the formula to wealth and sensibly put away money, things will be slower.

Aamir Khan isn’t wrong.

That is how I look at it as well. One step at a time.

I mentioned before, that I am more of a rational, pessimistic wealth builder. I work with the amount that I have and come up with realistic goals that I can hit in 10 years.

I can just deconstruct how much I need to put away to my wealth machine per month in order to hit that goal in 10 years.

Aamir said it better than me in that be motivated you hit the small milestone yearly.


Some of you may be a fan of Asian Movies. This show Dangal might be up your alley.

I am still fascinated by the weight loss. Everyone have their own mountain of debt.

Some folks are their weight. Some are their debt.

Some are a very toxic family.

We just have to learn to work through the psychological inflammation along the way and start chipping away and continue chipping away.

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Wednesday 30th of November 2016

Hi Kyith,

I'm sure we have instances where we exercise and get to a great rhythm, then because of work or illness we have to stop and to start it all over again, it's so hard. It's easy to say we must be motivated, but that's more like an end point then the factor to achieve success. If we're motivated, of course success is just the next stop. What if you're not motivated or don't know how to be motivated?

In my line of work, almost all students who come to me do not come in all motivated and pumped up to learn and get A. Hence, the question is how to get them to become motivated?

I can offer a few ways:

1) Get the other person to like you as a person. In order not to disappoint you or earn your disapproval, they will do what they need to do. Usually works for girls or pple with a stronger sense of wanting a relationship to work out, or for pple who don't like disharmony in a relationship

2) Get small success first. Do something small, and realise that there is a link between the effort you put in and the success you can achieve. This will change their mindset from one of fixed ability to a growth mindset. Once you get them to experience small success, they might get hooked to get bigger success and they already know who to do that. This is by far the most effective method for me to apply to others. Cuts across sex, race, social class.

3) Extrinsic motivator. Do A and you'll get B. Not recommended for long term, but at least for the short term, get them to adhere to the routine and get some small success. Once (2) kicks in, things will snowball on its own. DO NOT do a tiered reward, where you get C if you do D and get E if you do F. Because once the extrinsic motivator is removed, nothing will be done. You might even demotivate them.

4) Extrinsic punishment. If you don't do A, you'll get B, where B is something undesirable. Use (3) and (4) wisely, in a balanced manner, for carrot and stick external motivation. (3) is better than (4), but at the right moment, it can be a good motivator to effect a change in behavior.

5) Let them fail big. Once they reached the max point of depression, you offer a way out since they have nothing much to lose anyway. Choosing the right moment is important as a rewiring of the mind needs a narrow window of teaching moment to effect the greatest change. Works best for people who are not open minded, so instead of dragging the horse to drink water, let the horse be dying of thirst and come to you instead. Dangerous, might backfire mightily, so more as a last resort.

To wrap up this super long comment, I'll like to say that I've used all these methods before, but to varying degree of success. Which method to use depends on how well you know the person. If you don't, then you have to use all the ways and see which one works better. Try, observe, tweak and observe again.

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