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Mindset & Money | When the What and Why Become Clear the How Becomes Obvious

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Hosted by
Mike Ayala

On this episode of the Investing For Freedom podcast, Mike explains that when the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ become clear, the ‘how’ becomes obvious. Mike discusses the fact that we are not taught to be visionary, so we stop dreaming as adults and that we need to become dreamers again.

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, it’s that it’s too low and we reach it.”

HIGHLIGHTS:

0:00 – Intro
0:41 – When the what and the why become clear the how becomes obvious
0:57 – Our greatest danger is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it’s too low and we reach it
1:31 –  Though all of us have visionary tendencies, e’re programmed not to be visionary
2:51 – A quote from Alice in Wonderland
3:39 – You have to train yourself to slow down and dream big
3:47 – There’s software to track how productive you are
6:22 – Slow down and ponder the question “what do I want?”  Journal it for 7 days. 

FULL TRANSCRIPTION:

Thank you for joining me on the Investing for Freedom podcast. Today, I’m going to talk to you about something that hit me yesterday when I was on a coaching call with some clients of mine. And I made… I made the statement, “when the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ become clear, the ‘how’ becomes obvious.” And so many times in life I’ve found myself here, in fact I put a post-up the other day on Instagram, and it says, “the greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, it’s that it’s too low and we reach it.” This is why I’m constantly talking about what do you really want, and why do you want it? And then we get into the process of what are we going to do to get it. Then measure results and then adjust, as you know, situations and everything else tells us to do that.

And a lot of times what happens is people want to get to that, the middle part. What are you going to do to get it or how are we going to get there? And then measuring results. And by the way, that’s not really our fault. We’re programmed from the time that we’re little to not be visionary. We’re programmed to be good employees. We’re programmed to be students. The school system teaches us to not collaborate, to not dream big. Just, again, you know, Kiyosaki has talked about this forever, go to school, get good grades, go to college, get a job, work ‘til you’re 65, 70. Hopefully, you’ll have a pension or a 401(k), and then you’re going to enjoy the, you know, golden years of retirement, which is just a farce, right? It’s just crazy. So again, it’s not your fault. It’s not our fault. We’re not trained to be visionary.

And by the way, every single one of us has visionary tendencies. We are dreamers. We are born dreamers. Even as kids, you know, our imagination runs wild. But then as we get older, we stifle that imagination. And some of that’s through fear of failure. Some of that’s through the things that we’re told, etc., etc. But I see this constantly working with adults and people that are going to the process, “What do you really want? Why do you want it? What are you going to do to get it? Measure results and adjust?” We tend to stop dreaming.

I love the quote from Alice in Wonderland, the whole conversation between the Cheshire Cat and Alice. And… and she says to the cat, “would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” and the cat says, “that depends a good deal on where you want to go.” And Alice said, “I don’t much care where,” the Cheshire Cat said, “then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.” That’s just such a great point. And this hit me yesterday when I was on a coaching call with some clients. You know, what are we going to do to get it? Measuring results. As employees and as people, we’re so programmed to just show up to work and get straight down to the work of it. I’ve sat in annual planning sessions with a lot of my team. And I’ve watched people get really uncomfortable when it comes to vision and strategy and big picture, macro planning. And by the way, some of that is personality driven, but some of that is also training yourself to slow down and take the time to dream big, vision big, etc.

So, we’re actually graded as employees on how we show up to work and how much work we get done that day. There’s literally software programs in this day and age that track how productive we are on our computers. How much work did we get done? How much did we stay engaged? When in reality, you know, I find this in my own life, sometimes I have to… I have to get up and walk away every 30, 40 minutes. If I’m not in a flow state, I got to get up and figure out how to move into a different environment and get myself back into that flow state. But as employees, we’re graded on, you know, how much we actually sit there and just click on keys. I’m going to pull this together here. But the core of what I really want to say today, again, “When the ‘what’ and ‘why’ are clear, the ‘how’ becomes obvious.”

So, as I was talking to my client yesterday, who are, you know, very successful people, they’ve got some great real estate, they’re really wanting to get into the nuts and bolts of how to get this project turned around, “How do we get moving? What’s the details?” And over the course of the last couple of calls, I’ve really been trying to push them on, you know, like, what do they really want? Like, what’s the big picture goal for, you know, the near term meaning 1 to 3 to 5 years. And… and they kept wanting to get to the details of just turning this real estate… this piece of real estate around. And finally, we came to this point where, you know, the… the road that I was actually going to take them down was exiting this property in the next 12 to 24 months, because that’s what they kept saying they wanted. But as we really started digging into what they actually really wanted, they threw out this number, a monthly cashflow number.

And when I finally heard that, and this is why I spend so much time on, “what do you really want? And why do you want it?” not so much, “what are you going to do to get it?” The reason why we spend so much time on that is because I was going to take them down a road when I actually heard what they really wanted, which was a monthly passive cash flow number, I just posed the question, I’m like, “well, why would we want to sell this property in the next 12 to 24 months?” and their answer was basically, “we don’t know why we would. That’s just what we had been talking about. That’s the road we’ve kind of been heading down for various reasons.” But the reality is, when we get down to it, what they really wanted was consistent cash flow.

And so, the greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, it’s that it’s too low and we reach it, or that we haven’t taken the time to really get clarity on what it is we actually want, why do we want it, and we’ve just jumped straight into the, “what are we going to do to get it? Start measuring results,” etc. So, the thing that I want to encourage you and pull you back to, is to just slow down. Take some time. One of… one of my favorite books is by an author called Keith Cunningham. It’s called the ‘Road Less Stupid’, and he talks in there a lot about thinking time. He takes 45 minutes every single morning in a dedicated place to really go in and just ponder a question. And so, I would just encourage you, I would challenge you to slow down and just take that question for 15 minutes. It doesn’t have to be 45 minutes. Take that question for 15 minutes, and just journal about it. And do that every day for 7 days and just see what you come up with.

So, take the question, “what do you really want?” Journal on that for 15 minutes for 7 days and just see what you come up with. And then take it a step further the next 7 days, “why do you want it?” Once you come up with 7 days worth of, “what do you really want?” then spend the next 7 days journaling on, “why do I want it?” Because what we tend to do is go to the, “what are we going to do to get it?” and I’m telling you right now, that’s not the most important part. Because you might just go to work on what you’re going to do to get it, whatever it is you think you want. And you might find yourself a year down the road, 2 years down the road, 10 years down the road, 20 years down the road, and realize that you just went to college and went into debt and everything else to be an attorney because, along the way somebody, your parents or somebody told you that, “you know, in order to be successful, you’ve got to be a doctor or lawyer,” and you just started marching down the road of what they really wanted. And why they really thought they wanted it for you is because that’s just what you do to be financially successful. And you find yourself in a position where you don’t really have what you want, and you’ve spent the last 20 years working for it.

So that’s why I love that quote from Alice in Wonderland. You know, if you don’t really know where you’re going, then you’re going to find it. It doesn’t really matter which way you go. You’re just marching down the road blindly. And again, I want to close with this. We’re not really trained to think about vision. We’re not really trained to dream on what we want. We’re not trained to think big. We’re trained to just be put in a box and march down a certain road. And, you know, we just… we kind of follow… follow other people’s plans for our lives, and it’s not any good way to live. So, just want to throw that out there. Again, I’ll just say the quote one last time, “When the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ are clear, the ‘how’ becomes obvious.” Hope that helps you.

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