One of the fundamental concepts of building a strong financial life (or of building a strong life in general) is the difference between “anything” and “everything.” Apparently, there is even much confusion as to how the two words are used in the English language. Just do a search on “anything vs everything,” and you will see what I mean. As it pertains to financial life, it is interesting to see eyes light up when the concept becomes clear. It’s one of my favorite topics to discuss when the frustration pushes someone close enough to the brink that they are really ready to listen and make the necessary adjustments.
The Big Problem
You see, one of the biggest problems we have, particularly in westernized cultures, is that we think we want it all. The legendary band Queen had a popular song called “I Want It All” that depicts how this concept embedded itself into culture. The chorus chants, “I want it all. I want it all. I want it all, and I want it now.” We could dig into the whether or not you really want it all, but let’s save that for later.
Except in very rare cases, no one gets “it all.” No, let me be more bold. No one gets it all. Rock stars don’t. Billionaires don’t. Movie stars don’t. Professional athletes don’t. Doctors don’t. Lawyers don’t. CEO’s don’t. No one does. Now, I get that many of these people do get more than they need, and you can certainly strive to be one of them. But even if you make it or already have, you aren’t going find the kind of life you want chasing everything. A life that wants it all and chases everything is a big problem.
You can’t have everything
You may have heard the cliche, “You can’t have everything.” Unfortunately (or maybe not), it’s a cliche because its true. Stop trying to get everything. Get focused, and get focused fast. The sooner in your life you do, the better things will go. Rather than chasing everything ask, “What IT out of the “all” do I really want?” The IT that is even more tangible than career, the thing the career is for.
Maybe it’s a house that you own. Most mortgages are for 30 years. That’s typically over a third of a lifespan. Maybe it’s the ability to travel. Maybe it’s to change your career. Maybe it’s to retire early. Or maybe it’s just financial independence… the ability to do what you want when you want and not worry about money. That kind of life isn’t set aside for the rich and famous. People are living that kind of life on way less than you’d think, and they are even doing it in western cultures. Those people… they answered the question. They made the distinction between “everything” and “anything.” Some even take it further. They found what they feel like they were born to do. I’m talking about they why of your existence.
But you CAN have almost anything
If you find your IT, your “anything,” your real journey is ready to begin. You can accomplish almost anything. I only use almost because some of you just aren’t reasonable, or like me your mother told you could do anything your entire childhood. That belief embedded deeply inside me for both my benefit and to the detriment of my reality testing. I’m recovering though, and if you’re like that you need to recover as well. You can own a home. Maybe not the one you’re living in now, or the one in that fancy gated community or on that beachfront lot. But you can own a home. If you really want one of those others, you probably could own it as well if you are focused. You can build a life where you are free to travel, or retire early, or are financially independent.
You can’t have everything, but you can have almost anything.
Step one: Find your anything.