Is the Right Mindset Enough?

I was watching the BBC documentary about Money and Wealth training seminars last night. It was carefully put together to leave the viewer in no doubt that the only people getting rich from wealth training are the people providing the training. There was lots of footage that made me squirm, of young people who had gone into debt to attend the seminars, totally ‘believed’ that they were going to get rich and yet had not made a single penny.

Clearly, this is not the only possible outcome. There are lots of people who attend such seminars and implement what they learn to get good results. At least I hope there are, although I’m not sure I actually know any personally.

The thing that really made me uncomfortable was the sight of people reciting affirmations about their ability to manage money, and in some cases about their (non-existent) wealth. This was all in the name of cultivating the right mindset.

So what’s the problem? One is that no amount of affirming something that you absolutely know to be untrue (such as “I am a millionaire”) will make it true. And the cognitive dissonance that results from such an activity might be what leads to the total belief we saw on the documentary. Total belief in something that had no evidence to support it.

Now, I’m a great believer in the power of the mind, as you know. But what creates wealth (or indeed any desired result) is not blind faith, it’s purposeful activity and making the most of opportunities. I’m all for working on your mindset, as long as it’s not the only thing you work on.

I also think it might be more honest to acknowledge, that as well as having the right information, the right mindset and the motivation to implement what you have learned there is something else that’s needed to make money. It’s the intelligence to make the right decisions.

In the anyone-can-do-it atmosphere of personal development seminars, there seems to be no account taken of the varying ability of people to assimilate complex information, keep multiple ideas in mind at once or logically predict the outcome of their actions. You may not need a string of academic qualifications to make money, but you do need intelligence in its broadest sense.

I’m beginning to think that in the pursuit of equality of opportunity we’re losing sight of the actual inequality of capability.

Time to shut up before I say something that offends someone…

If a Thing’s Worth Doing…

Someone once asked me, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It’s a great question and for someone with a fear of failure it can open up possibilities that might not have previously been accessible to conscious awareness. For me, that question tends to steer my thinking into big, long-term projects. Today I’ve got something more mundane in mind.

What’s currently on your ‘to-do’ list that’s not getting done because you’re scared of screwing it up? Is there something that you tell yourself you need to be in a certain mood to achieve? (for example, writing an article, report or book) Is there a task where so much is at stake, that you want to get it right first time? (for example, following up a sales lead, preparing a big speech or presentation, tackling someone about a problem)

If not, you needn’t read the rest of this. Have a great day!

If there IS something that you’re not getting round to doing because you’re afraid of making a mess of it, read on.

If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.

So said Sahar Hashemi, founder of Coffee Republic, when I heard her tell her story at a conference some years back. It stuck in my mind, because it horrified my perfectionist little soul so much I couldn’t think about anything else for days!

So, I invite you to think about it too. If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly. 

After much contemplation, I decided to add two words:

If a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly – at first.

If something is so important that you want to get it right, it’s better to get started and have a go than not do it at all. If you’re worried about messing it up, good. Maybe you haven’t done your ‘homework’ yet, so use that anxiety to motivate you to get started on that research, frame an outcome, create a strategy and then to take action.

It’s rare that you only have one chance to get it right. There will always be other opportunities. The important thing is to make full use of today’s opportunities so that they don’t clutter up tomorrow.