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Why Slaying This Monster Will Help You Get Ahead

September 10, 2009


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There he is! You’ve spotted him again rearing his ugly head.  His sharp claws ready to sink deeply into you — he waits with a calculating smile.

You can’t outrun him for he always seems to find you.

You can’t ignore him because he will constantly haunt you.

There’s only one way to deal with him.  You have to face him head on and well, slay him.  Gruesome isn’t it? 

Photo by: Rapidflop

It’s difficult to do, I know, but if you want to start making BIG strides with your finances, you have to fight against the monster of generality!

 Who Is He?

Generality is defined by Merriam Webster as a “vague or inadequate statement“. 

When it comes to your finances, the Monster of Generality will tell you things like this:

I should start saving more money for retirement.

I should give more.

I should get my spending under control.

These are all good things right?  What could possibly be wrong with statements like this?

Why He’s Dangerous

He doesn’t sound that scary, but that’s one of his tricks.  He subtly whispers things to you to make you think you’re OK – but he’s got you exactly where he wants you.

The reason he’s so dangerous is because you actually think you’re changing your bad money habits and improving yourself, but there really is no change.

The Problem

Until you get specific with your financial goals, mere generalities will kill your progress.  This monster will always keep you on the surface of your financial goals and prevent you from ever reaching them. 

That’s because you can’t define these statements, they’re just too general.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I know I need to save more money, but it just seems like every month I don’t have enough left over.”

I know I have.  I often find that monster creeping back into my life again and again.  The answer is always to slay him.

The Resolution

Simply put, slaying the monster of generality means you need to turn your “I should’s” into “I will’s”.

Let’s take our statements from above and see how we could turn these around:

Instead of “I should save more money”, the answer is:

I will save $___ per month into a Roth IRA

Instead of I need to give more, try:

The first check I write will be to my church and it will be ___% of my paycheck.  I will live on the rest.

Instead of I need to get my spending under control, get more specific:

I will do a diary of expenses for 30 days and find out exactly where my money is going.  I will identify expenses that simply do not need to be there and will cut them out.

If you haven’t seen much progress with your financial goals lately, consider whether generalities have crept back into your life.  

Kill this monster and you will start seeing results again.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2009 7:49 am

    This is a great reminder that we need to be more specific in our goals. Clearly, in order to accomplish something financially, it is vital to have a plan. Otherwise we’ll just be talking about what we “should” be doing, rather than actually doing it.

    • September 11, 2009 8:31 am

      Thanks Miranda. It’s easy to get off track and allow our “shoulds” to take over. You’re right, it is vital to have a defined plan to help keep us on the right path and accomplish our goals.

  2. September 10, 2009 10:54 am

    Great advice – I have the same monster working away at my anxiety. I always have this nagging ” I should be making more money” or ” I should be reading more books” or “I should be better at guitar” but those anxieties are useless without actionable items. I’ve begun reading Getting Things Done to help me with this – I think it’s really going to help.

    • September 11, 2009 8:32 am

      Thanks for the comment Jack. I hope that book is valuable. Having actionable items is key to getting those things done.

  3. September 10, 2009 11:56 am

    Man I’m going to have nitemare’s about your clown picture. Very eloquently put.

    • September 11, 2009 8:32 am

      No doubt! That is a very freaky picture… =)


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