What Is The One Thing Preventing You From Creating Wealth?

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Most of us want wealth and dream about financial freedom, but very few of us actually do what is necessary to create it or take the steps towards turning those dreams into a reality. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that only five per cent actually reach the goal. The thing is, it isn’t that difficult to do.

Almost anyone with regular employment can achieve financial freedom with relatively little effort. After all, all you need is to start living by specific proven financial habits early enough with sufficient consistency. The result will be financial freedom with almost total certainty.

So, what is preventing many of us from creating wealth? Also, Why do very few of us actually succeed at creating wealth, when so many of us desire it?

No Action

The big mystery of why very few people actually succeed in creating wealth is that many of us actually don’t take any action. We lack the will power or commitment to do so.

Our inaction can be likened to the behavior of an addicted. We love the idea of being sober, but take no steps towards it.

Let’s consider addict scenario a little more deeper. For an addict, satisfying their addiction gives them immediate pleasure and the impact on their health isn’t a compelling enough reason to stop. With no will power to suffer short-term pain and kick their addiction, they will continue smoking up until the dramatic pain of painful medical procedures or possible death greatly outweighs the lesser pain of quitting.

Two lessons can be gathered from the behavior of addicts exhibit and human nature in general:

Lesson 1: We are motivated to avoid pain than seek pleasure.

Quitting is painful for addicts hence the lack of will power or commitment to stop. They trade long-term pleasure for the avoidance of pain in the short-term.

For many of us chasing financial freedom, the minor pain and inconvenience needed right now to achieve financial freedom, we aren’t willing to face. It is quite difficult to overcome lethargy, take risks and confront the fear of change that is necessary to create wealth.

Lesson 2: We are typically more interested in preserving our current comfort than maximizing our future outcome.

We are more interested in pleasure now even if it implies facing negative long-term consequences in their future. The comfort zone is very comfortable. The typical consumer will spend himself into financial illness.

Learn More: 6 Big Risks to Your Financial Success

The Dangers of Short-Term Thinking

Thinking short-term gives priority to the immediate rather than what’s actually important. You must prioritise your life in a different way – prioritizing urgency will only have you living from hand to mouth. The idea of making decisions based on daily concerns is hinged on focusing on survival rather than thriving. Your life would be greatly improved if you learned to balance your short-term decisions with a long-term perspective.

If an addict prioritized the long-term, they wouldn’t indulge their addiction. Every addict is well aware of the long-term negative consequences of their actions. The pleasure derived from satisfying their addiction in the short-term pales in comparison to the long-term consequences. For them, the least painful solution in the short-term is to indulge, but the most painful alternative, when viewed in the long-term, is not taking action today to quit.

Similarly, if you prioritized your long-term financial health, then your spending, saving and investing pattern would completely change. Therefore, to create wealth you need to make daily decisions that put into focus your long-term concerns. The short-term stuff will take care of itself, so you must take care of the long-term.

The key point here is to take action today in order to safeguard the future. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself to nice things; the goal here isn’t austerity. The goal is to create long-term habits that will take you towards financial freedom.

The reality is that financial freedom will never happen unless you proactively make it happen.

If you want to solve this problem of short-term thinking, just begin habitually making your decisions from the perspective of twenty or forty years ahead.

Learn more: The 7 Biggest Money Problems Most Kenyans Have

The Safety of Long-term Gain

What will it take to motivate you to take action today so that you can retire early and wealthy?

Are you going to be an addict that lives on transient, short-term pleasures only to wake up one day in early retirement facing the undeniably long-term consequences of your actions? Or are you going to be part of the five per cent reading this that will proactively balance long-term consequences with short-term realities by taking action now?

I have coached clients for several years now and together have worked to transition from short-term thinking to thinking with a long-term perspective. The process typically follows the following pattern:

  1. The first three months are difficult. They are fighting their old habits and support systems that reinforce their behaviour. Their self-discipline, accountability and support enable them to jump over the pain threshold.
  2. After the first three months, their habits and new support systems are in place. Commitment to the process is already ingrained and as time passes, things get easier.
  3. After one year, the rewards of this newly formed behaviour is evident and completely reinforced by the habits formed during the year. Bank balances are healthy and growing, knowledge about finance and investing in expanding, and one starts feeling more fulfilled as life is more aligned to what is important.
  4. The final stage is when you reflect on your old ways and wonder why anyone would choose to live with financial difficulty. The new patterns are part of a lifestyle and the process of building wealth is fun and easy.

Financial freedom will not magically take care of itself no matter how much you trust in the future and believe in the abundance of life.

You must proactively create financial freedom. Periodt. Don’t live life in a state of denial.

Learn more: 8 Habits of Financially Successful People that You Should Follow

Bottom-line: You’ve Got Three Choices

The way I see it, there are three paths you can choose from here on out:

  1. Take no action. You do nothing now as things look difficult now, do nothing later because things will look overwhelming later. You never prioritize wealth and financial security because you don’t self-responsibility.
  2. Suffer long-term pain. Procrastination on building wealth by prioritizing short-term needs until you reach your pain threshold in your later years.
  3. Trade short-term inconveniences for long-term freedom. You start building wealth today even though its a hassle at first. Over time, you notice the fulfilment and satisfaction from honouring what is important in life.

Take note, one of these is already a reality. Thus choosing one isn’t optional. Every day you make one of these three choices, consciously or not, every decision and action you take either move you closer or further away from your goal.

Choose wisely. Happy Building!


Image credits: Top by Pixabay via Pexels.

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Irene Makanga
Irene has an MBA in Finance and is an avid businesswoman, passionate about financial literacy.

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